Church of Christ
at
Locks Cross Roads
35) Hebrews - Chapter 11:4 - Abel - By faith
Back to Hebrews Study Index Page
By faith Abel offered unto God, Genesis 4.

How did he get his faith?  He received it like all do, by hearing (Romans 10:17).  God spoke to men directly in that
day and Abel knew, just as we know - by hearing.  How was it more excellent?  It was offered by faith - that made a
difference.

The conditions of offering, some blemish, the wrong kind of offering - whatever was wrong, it indicated a failure in
faith on the part of Cain.  Most people feel Cain's offering was vegetable, in place of a blood offering.  Cain forgot
that the ground was cursed.

Abel had witness borne to him that he was righteous.  How it was done, no one knows, but God showed pleasure.  
Perhaps the sacrifice was consumed by fire, as seen in other instances:  Leviticus 9:24, And there came forth fire,
1st Kings 18:38, etc.  Faithlessness, then, must be equivalent to unrighteousness.

God bearing witness in respect of his gifts.

Gifts generally refer to free will.  Perhaps Cain was not sincere, and offered a substitute.  It may have been a small
offering as the word "more" allows.

How did God bear witness?

Perhaps He consumed it, like he did Elijah's (1st Kings 18:38).  God has not respect for sacrifices that are not made
in faith.

John discusses it - 1st John 3:12: "Wherefore slew he him?  Because his works were evil, and his brother's
righteous."  

And through it he being dead, yet speaks.

What speaks?  The offering or Abel?:  The pronoun shows that Abel speaks, although dead these many centuries.  
He speaks: "Work, serve, offer, by faith."

Perhaps one of the more thought-provoking questions in the Bible is that one asked by Cain.  Cain had killed his
brother because God had accepted Abel's offering, but not his own - Genesis 4:3-8.  When the Lord inquired
concerning Abel, Cain's response was: "Am I my brother's keeper?" - Genesis 4:9.  Do we edify them, or put
stumbling blocks in their way? - Romans 14:19.  Are we like a cancer, weakening the members of the body of
Christ?  By our own example?  By our words, attitudes, etc.  It was said of Philemon that he refreshed the hearts of
the brethren; do people say the same of us?  Do we even consider them? - Hebrews 10:24-25.

Are you your brother's keeper?  Are you even identified with a congregation whereby you can be a working member
who both cares for those in the family, and be cared for by them?