Acceptable Sacrifice

June 24, 2016

Genesis 4:1-7

Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If 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.”

Acceptable Sacrifice

Your external efforts to please God will never do,

He has already given the sacrifice that is acceptable for you.

Christ has paid the price and is the acceptable sacrifice.

Faith in Him alone can save you and give you eternal life.

Christ in you, now lives through you, to do the works above.

Not outwardly, but inwardly are you transformed into His love.

Kent Stuck

Have you ever meditated on why God favored Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s?  Here are just a few insights. 

First of all man was created on the 6th day, the same day as the beast of the field.  What separated man and beast?

Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  In Genesis 2:7 it says, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

We see that man, not animals, was made in the image of God and in His likeness for the purpose of having dominion over the earth and His creation.  We also see that, unlike the beast and other animals, God breathed His own breath, the breath of life, into man.  Because in John 4, Jesus tells us that God is Spirit, we can conclude that it wasn’t just an outward appearance that made Adam in the image of God, it was the spirit formed within him that gave him the capacity and ability to be in the image and likeness of God and through that spirit, being conformed to the likeness of God, he would have dominion over the earth.

Man was created  then in a place between God and beast, heaven and earth.  In that place he was given a choice, a free will to choose which  nature he would live out of; that which was formed from the earth or that which was breathed in Him by the breath of God, the Spirit.  In the original state of Adam we have a picture of what it was like to live out of the Spirit and in communion and right relationship with God. After the fall we see the genealogy of fallen man, beginning with Cain and Abel.  In those two brothers we see the beginning of these two natures beginning to manifest.

We posed the question earlier, “Why did God favor Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s?”  There are types and shadow here that that give us those answers.  Cain’s sacrifice came from the earth and were the efforts of his own works and hands.  How many people try to please God with their works and efforts to do good only to find that this is not what is acceptable to God.  

Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  Cain’s sacrifice was not a redemptive sacrifice offered in faith.  There was no shedding of blood and so it was unacceptable to the Father.  

Abel, took the first fruits of his flock.  He followed godly principles for an acceptable offering.  He shed their blood by sacrificing them in faith.  He brought God his first and his best, not his common and ordinary.  He offered the fat of these upon the altar, which speaks to those non-essential indulgences of our flesh and that which is in excess to our need, along with the abundance and excess that we can offer back to God.  His heart and his pursuit was to please God in faith and obedience.  

Cain’s offering was not accepted of God and Cain’s reaction revealed the true nature of his heart. God gives us a choice to choose what is good and acceptable, because our other choice leaves sin crouching at our door and if we open the door to it as Cain did, it can only lead to sin and death.  

Life confronts us with two natures and two paths.  One leads to life and peace and the other to sin and death.  One is lived out of own efforts and choices and the other is lived out of righteousness, obedience and faith through the power of the Spirit of God which we invite, through choice, to live in us and through us.  Even if we have made the wrong choice and headed down the wrong path, God would still tells us, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?”  We are given the opportunity to repent and turn from our wicked ways, but if not, sin is crouching at the door.  

We know the outcome, that Cain slew Abel.  The flesh will always persecute the Spirit and even as they crucified Jesus, His blood cries out with forgiveness and not vengeance, with mercy that is greater than justice.  His desire is to redeem us all back to  Him.  He beseeches us to choose the life of the Spirit that He originally breathed into us and in that choice we will know Life. 

Blessings,

#kent

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