Please read Genesis ch 4 vs 1-8, Hebrews ch 11 vs 1-4. We see from the book of Hebrews Abel is one of the heroes of Faith. Abel was a shepherd of a flock of sheep. He was an ordinary sinful man who truly believed God. Faith is the indispensable quality for which God looks. (Heb  1.1:6). God found it in Abel but not in Cain. How can mankind approach God and be accepted by Him. Two ways are shown in our scriptures the right way and the wrong way. Abel did it right, Cain did it wrong.

In studying our texts it is apparent that Adam and Eve instructed their children in the ways of worship Four things are to be carefully noted:-

1. He was to be worshipped through sacrifice, by means of a sacrifice and the shedding of innocent blood which is appropriated by faith (vs4).
2. Also there was a place where God was to be worshipped (see vs 3 the word unto).
3. There was an altar indicated in ‘firstlings of his flock (ie a lamb) and of the fat thereof’.(which would be burnt). 4. There was an appointed time for worship (vs3 ‘in process of time).

And so by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is rewarder of them that diligently seek him”. Abel sought Him by faith.

How then did Abel excise that faith in the Lord? Faith which made him acceptable to the Lord , enabling him to worship the Lord which brought assurance of salvation.

1. Abel exercised faith by discounting human schemes, methods and reasoning and by obeying God.
Cain brought his offering. Did Abel see his offering did he wonder if he had got it wrong. Obviously not. By faith Abel followed the way that God had taught Adam and Eve and him and his brother.

2. Abel exercised faith by recognising that no work or effort of his own could gain his acceptance before God.
Abel looked at the living lamb, sacrificed it, shed it’s blood at the altar placed it’s body with the fat on the altar as a priest and saw it was not by works that salvation came but by faith in the shed blood.

3. Abel exercised faith by acknowledging his sin and his need of God’s forgiveness.
There is no hint that Cain made any acknowledgement of sin; but Abel’s sacrifice and offering spoke not only of man’s sin, but also God’s remedy for sin. (Heb 9:22)  In meditating on our scripture text and us knowing Leviticus and Hebrews that God through Adam or direct conversation with Cain and Abel made it clear the way to approach Him was through sacrifice ( faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Rom 10:17). And so Abel exercised his faith according to God’s word.

4. Abel exercised faith by providing an offering that foreshadowed the Great offering for sin.
As Abel brought his offering and he in effect, prayed something like this “O God I am a sinner. I have broken Your Holy law and I deserve to die for my sins. But you gave my father and mother the promise of the coming one who is to take away our sin who this slain lamb typifies. So I offer this little lamb in  the place of my life and forgive me my sins for the sake of the Lamb who is to come”.

5. Abel exercised faith by accepting God’s testimony that he was righteous.

In Hebrews 11:4 we read ‘By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh’. This means that Abel believed that through his offering God had accepted him and  had Justified him. Verse 4 of our text says “the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering”. The Lord respected the offering meaning it was the right offering but the Lord also respected Abel which  tells of the attitude Abel had towards the Lord, the attitude of worship by faith. As Heb 11:6 states ‘that without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is , and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’.

Abel and God in harmony. It says in verse 4 that by Abel’s faith ‘being dead yet speaketh’. This means that Abel continues to proclaim from age to age that there is only one way for for the guilty sinner to be saved only one way for a man to approach a Holy God and that way is through faith in the precious shed blood of Christ.

God bless
Michael Whitehouse