“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” — Hebrews 11:4 (ESV)
To Read: Genesis 4:1–16
Biblical Synopsis: After God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, Eve bore two sons—Cain and Abel. Being a farmer, Cain offered God fruit from his harvest. Being a shepherd, Abel offered God the best of his flock. God accepted Abel’s offering because it was pure of heart. Cain’s offering did not please God, and his foul response displayed he had improper motives from the beginning of the story.
Application for Today: In the Old Testament, the saints offered sacrifices of grain and animals in anticipation of the promised Savior who would make the once and for all sacrificial, sin payment on our behalf. Their actions evidenced their faith in God.
Abel exemplifies the person who brings an offering in faith. Cain’s grain offering exemplifies the person who seeks merit from God. Our acceptance from God has never been based on what we do, but upon what Christ has done for us.
When we live out our faith before others, we shouldn’t do so to earn favor from men or merit from God.
Our good works reflect an appreciation for the sacrifice that Christ made for us, and they serve as a testimony of God at work in our lives (cf. Eph. 2:10).