by Kristen C. Strocchia
“By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” Hebrews 11:4
By faith–absolute certainty in what he hoped for and could not see–Abel was commended for his offering of a firstborn from his flock. Cain, on the other hand, did not receive commendation for his choice of offering. But the events to come did not have to unfold as they do in recorded history.
God came to Cain, seeing that he was upset about the offering situation, and said, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 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 rule over it” [Genesis 4:6-7]. Cain had a choice: 1) accept correction from God and offer a better sacrifice now that he knew the difference, or 2) be angry at God and his brother and give in to the sinful temptation to remove them both from his life.
You see, God tells us plainly that sin can be mastered. It does not rule us unless we allow it to.
Unfortunately, it was the sinfulness in Cain’s heart to begin with that most likely led to the rejection of his offering. In the end, he chose to commit the first murder out of sinful spite.
But by faith–absolute certainty in what he hoped for, but could not see–scriptures tell us that Abel still speaks to us today, even though he is dead. Of course, his story is recorded in the Bible for us to learn from. His faith is commended twice–first in Genesis and then again in Hebrews–as an example of faith that we should imitate in our giving.
But moreover Hebrews 12:24 says, “[You have come…] to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
You see, the blood of Abel speaks of condemnation for sin–Cain’s sin. After the murder, God again came to Cain and said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” [Genesis 4:10]. Cain was marked as a murderer for all time, and the testimony of Abel’s blood condemned him.
But we–even though we are sinners just like Cain and Abel and every other human being ever to walk this earth–can come to Jesus. Our sin is guilty for nailing Jesus to the cross and for every drop of blood He shed for us. But His blood does not condemn us. If we confess our sin and accept Him as Lord of our life, when we stand before God, Jesus’ blood in our lives will speak of our eternal forgiveness.
Have you accepted Jesus as Lord of your life? Do you stand condemned or forgiven before God? Eternal life is as simple as a choice–your choice.