Grace For Your Day January 16

The Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 is divided up into four sections:
  • The antediluvian and diluvian period which covers the lives of Abel, Enoch, and Noah (verses 3-7)
  • The patriarchal period which covers the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (verses 8-22)
  • The period of Israel’s formation as a nation which covers the lives of Moses, Joshua, and Rahab (verses 23-31)
  • The period of the judges and kings which covers the lives of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel (verse 32)

This week, we are going to look at the first period in the order and examine the life of Abel, the first person on the list.

According to Genesis 4:2, Abel was the second son born to Adam and Eve, with Cain being the first born. Abel became a keeper of sheep while Cain became a tiller of the ground. The brothers each brought a sacrifice to the Lord. Cain brought an offering from the ground (verse 3) and Abel brought the firstborn from his flock (verse 4). The Lord accepted Abel’s offering but disregarded Cain’s offering which infuriated Cain who then proceeded to kill Abel in a fit of jealous rage (verse 8).

A lot of scholars have speculated as to why God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s. Some have said that it was because Abel offered an animal while Cain offered some crops. Others have said that it was because Abel did it early in the morning while Cain did it later in the day. Some have said it was because Abel brought God the very best that he had while Cain offered something less valuable. However, the Book of Hebrews provides a further explanation when it says in Hebrews 11:4:

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

In other words, the Lord accepted Abel’s sacrifice because it was offered through faith while Cain did not.

The reason this is so important is because it teaches us that the principle of faith goes all the way back to the beginning of time. In fact, Abel’s act of sacrifice shows us that:
  • Abel knew he was a sinner.
  • He knew that God would pardon sin.
  • He knew that God was merciful.
  • He knew that God would forgive him through a sacrifice.
  • He knew that he had to offer his sacrifice in faith.

We do not know how Abel learned all of that because the Bible does not tell us. However, his example provides a very important lesson and that is that God does not want your sacrifices unless you believe in Him first. You need to worship Him from the bottom of your heart or else God will reject it like just he did with Cain, which is what we are going to talk about this week at Grace Fellowship Church.

This Sunday, we are going to continue our studies in the Book of Hebrews by talking about the faith of Abel. As we step back into this chapter after our long break from it, we will look at the testimony of one of the oldest people in the Bible and learn that salvation has always been by faith alone because God does not change His methods. He does not save people one way in the Old Testament and another way in the New Testament. He saves them by faith at every stage of history.
Please join us as we talk about this fascinating subject together. Our service begins at 9:30.

– Jeremy Cagle