v.4 By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. (NIV)
Cain and Abel knew what God required. Abel acted in obedient faith. However, Cain was rebellious, did not believe, trust, or rest in God. We all have the potential to be like Cain, in fact our nature without Christ reflects Cain.
The good news of the Gospel is that we are saved from our evil nature and its consequences through faith in Christ. We understand that the perfect sacrifice, the shed blood of Christ is the reason we are justified/forgiven before our holy God.
Does genuine faith manifest in obedience to Christ?
Does our living faith and actions go hand in hand?
1 John 3:12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
How did Abel come to God? How was Abel saved?
As genuine Christians we rejoice in knowing: Christ shed His blood on the cross to save us from our sinful nature, the way of Cain. We obediently acknowledge our sinful state and come to God through Jesus, our only salvation.
By faith we believe, trust, and rest in the finished work of Christ. We are saved because of the grace of our mighty God, through faith. However, the process of maturing and glorifying God continues through our faith in action!
How has your faith been manifest this week?
Are you observing the goodness of God manifest everyday? Is God always doing good around us?
Cain and Abel: Gen 4: 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
Abel died, but his faith guaranteed him eternal life and even speaks to us today. However, Cain lived, but his absence of faith and rebellious nature guaranteed his suffering and eternal condemnation.
How is this relevant to those in the world today?
Are you willing to share this relevance with those you come into contact with on a regular basis?
MacArthur (1983) suggests, (paraphrased)
1. we come to God by faith, our works/offerings etc., follow our active faith.
2. we must accept and obey God’s revelation above our own reason and self-will
3. recognize that sin hinders our growth in Christ, and has consequences, even eternal death without Christ.
v. 5-6 Five features of Enoch’s life that were pleasing to God:
1. he believed that God is (v. 6a)
2. he sought God’s reward (v.6b)
3. he walked with God (pleased God)
4. he preached for God—Jude 14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
5. he entered into God’s presence (v. 5)
Reasons we can walk with/please God:
1. Reconciliation: If Enoch walked with God, he obviously was in agreement with God. We are reconciled to God through Jesus. Through the blood of Christ—our salvation we no longer live in rebellion to God. Because of reconciliation we can walk with God in Christ.
2. Transformed: a corresponding nature—we become new/changed in Christ!
a. Phil 3: 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
b. II Peter 1: 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
3. Confession of Sin and Moral Fitness: We are called to be live holy and righteously before God and man.
a. How is this possible as struggling sinners? Are you/am I, a transformed sinner? IN CHRIST! I no longer live, but CHRIST lives in me Gal 2:20.
b. I John 1: 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
4. A Surrendered Will: A surrendered will is surrender in love.
a. II John 6And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
5. Humility: Phil 2; Rom 12:1
Walking with God = Walking in the Spirit Gal 5: 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Do you/I hunger and thirst? Help us Lord!
As we hunger and thirst, we strive, eagerly desire, crave, long for, want it badly, an essential, plead with our powerful and gracious God, the Holy Spirit to permeate our thoughts:
A simple daily prayer: God, this is your day, lead me Holy Spirit, and help me to be sensitive to your guidance. Use me as “you will” not mine.
Daily we strive to understand and apply: we want a dynamic and practical walk with God. It is an active obedience vs a passive resignation or evil rebellion.
How do you keep your faith active through obedience on a daily basis?
Col 2: 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Continuing Faith: Enoch believed God, and he continued to believe God. 300 years! He did not see God. He believed He was there. That is how he pleased God. May we follow his example. Gen 5:22.
Persevere in obedient faith!
MacArthur, J. (1983). New Testament Commentary: Hebrews
New International Version—Biblegateway.com