The Big Picture – Part 4

Every man is Abel if he is Willing

Man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7. In the first family, Cain and Abel seem to be contrasted and respected based on their different offerings — as we look on the outside. “And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” Gen. 4:4-5.

Not so. God is not a respecter of persons, but He  looks on the heart. God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12. What is He looking for? He is looking for faith, for belief, for love, for pure god-like motives. He is looking for a heart like His.

We do not know the motives of the heart, but He does. He is not confused by what you do, He doesn’t look on that (but we do and should, for clues) but at the heart. The heart is the seat of desire and will. It would be scary if we could see that in every person. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer. 17:9.

Better to leave the evaluations of motive to Him — the only One big enough to look on the heart and yet love that person unconditionally. We are not told that God did not love Cain, we are told that He “had respect unto Abel and to his offering:  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.”

So what is that about? Here in Hebrews 11:4 we are given an explanation: “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.”

Wow, Abel still speaks to us! He is showing us what God is looking for! Righteousness which is by faith:

Romans 3:22: Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Philippians 3:9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Hebrews 11:7: By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

“… a more excellent sacrifice than Cain”. Here is another clue regarding what sacrifice God is looking for: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17. David said this in his prayer and song of repentance, and he should know. “The LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart…” 1 Sam. 13:14.

What is the difference in their offerings? The one is offered by faith, the other without faith. One is of works— mans effort and thinking and will and desire, the other is by faith — dependence on God, having sought His mind, with a will and desire to please Him, not obtain favor. One is given to give and to please and to worship God; the other is given to get, to obtain and to make self acceptable.

“But 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.” Heb. 11:6.

You see, faith expresses the heart of God, It never thinks of self, but always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. It is generous because it is not thinking of self. Love operates from a deep abiding trust and love for God. It operates from faith. Abel knew God and trusted Him. He knew (by faith) that if he did well (e.g. trusted God and depended upon Him) he would be accepted.

Now you know as Cain was told:

“And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.  And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” Gen. 4:5-7.

This says exactly that if you trust God, have faith and depend on Him you will be accepted. If not, there is a lion (e.g. sin) who is waiting at your door seeking to devour you.

You need to offer sacrifices in keeping with repentance. I know it is hard, but God giveth more grace. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt. 26:14.

And you are Abel if you are willing.