Portraits of Practiced Faith, I. The Better Sacrifice of Abel

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 (Heb. 11:3).

The first witness that is presented to testify in the courtroom of the Greatness of the Inheritance of Christ, is the righteous Abel, who offered to God a better sacrifice than did his brother Cain, and was killed by Cain because of the jealousy provoked by his better sacrifice.

Typically when the work of Abel is examined, it is concluded that the sole reason that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s was rejected is because Abel had faith and Cain did not. While it is indeed true that Abel had faith whereas Cain did not, Abel did in fact offer a better sacrifice than Cain did, for we know that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (cf. Heb. 9:22). Would the situation have been reversed, had Abel offered up to God a sacrifice of fruit rather than of blood, Abel would not have received the same commendation from God regarding his sacrifice.

However, since Abel was a man of faith, his faith was poured out in his context in the demonstration by his better sacrifice, for his sacrifice pointed to the sacrifice of the coming Messiah who would shed his blood for the remission of our sins. Abel’s faith manifested itself in the testimony of the salvation wrought by Christ, for Abel knew that just as God had slain the animals after the Fall to cover nakedness of his parents, so too would God have to slay another Sacrifice to cover guilt of the Fall (cf. Gen. 3:20, 21).

Therefore, since Abel acted faithfully and thereby offered a sacrifice that was acceptable to God, Abel, though dead, still testifies to the greatness of his Inheritance in Christ. Since Abel had faith and through it offered to God a better sacrifice, God has stood as a witness to his pleasure in him. For the word that is translated, “commended,” and is used twice in the example of Abel, is literally the word “testify,” from which we get our word “martyr.” Since, therefore, Abel was willing to testify to the coming Christ and suffered loss for his testimony, God was willing to testify on his behalf. For as Christ said, ” Every one, therefore, who shall confess me before men, I also will confess him before my Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 10:32).

Categories: Theology

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