Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 1/260: Abel

Read Genesis 4:1-5; Hebrews 11:4

Living By Faith

Moses records for us the account of Cain and Abel’s offerings to the Lord in the fourth chapter of Genesis. Cain is identified in the Scriptures as “a tiller of the ground,” while his younger brother Abel “was a keeper of sheep.” When the time came for an offering, they each brought a portion of their labors; Cain brought crops, while Abel brought livestock. Cain’s offering was rejected but Abel’s was accepted.

The Hebrews writer sheds some light on the reason Abel’s offering was accepted by God. “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4).

Abel’s offering was made “by faith.” What does that mean? Where does one get faith? Some will tell you that faith itself is a gift from God based on a misunderstanding of Ephesians 2:8-9. That passage does not teach that faith is a gift; rather, the gift is the salvation we receive “by grace” and “through faith.” The question remains, then, where does one get faith?

In Romans 10:17, the apostle Paul wrote, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Abel heard what God wanted, and he faithfully submitted to God’s will. God is explicit with His expectations in His Word, and only those who obey His Word are living by faith.

By contrast, Cain’s offering was rejected because it was not offered by faith. He received the same information his brother received, but decided to go his own way. As a result, God “did not respect Cain and his offering.” When we defy God’s explicit commands, we displease Him.

Are you living by faith? Or have you ignored God’s will?

This is the first in a planned series of 260 devotional articles to be published each Monday through Friday, concluding on December 31, 2021. These articles will be collected into paperback and Kindle form by the end of the year so you can purchase and share with your friends. Last year’s daily devotional series, Monday through Friday in the New Testament is now available for purchase on Amazon.

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