by Joey Bonifacio
This is the second of a series entitled, “Leap!” In the next few weeks, we will look into the lives of people who took not just a step, but a leap of faith, and how God honored them in return.
They didn’t see what was promised. They were flogged, beaten, and vanished. They suffered here on earth and did not have a full glimpsed of what they believed in. Despite it all, they went beyond believing, and obeyed God, by faith. They are the men, with their eyes on the eternal, took the leap.
Early in the Bible, we find the story of Cain and Abel. A story that’s really not about sibling rivalry, but about something far deeper, showcasing what it truly takes to please God.
In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering, He did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Genesis 4:3
Later on in the passage, we see that Cain, filled with envy and rage, killed his brother Abel (see Genesis 4:8) and was cursed for his deed.
Abel, whose only desire was to please God was murdered, making him the first martyr in the Bible.
But this is not the whole point of the story.
The story of Abel is not about sibling rivalry and martyrdom for the faith, but it’s about the significance of offering something to God that truly pleases Him.
The best and the first
As we’ve read in Genesis 4:3, Abel brought the “fat portions,” sourced out from the “firstborn of his flock.” Cain on the other hand “brought some of the fruits of the soil.”
While Cain brought the regular produce from his labor, his brother Abel brought the fat portions from the firstborn.
Abel didn’t just offer the typical, he gave the best (fat) and the first (signifying priority).
In our lives, God, the Creator of heaven and earth, of you and I, doesn’t just want to be present in our lives, He wants to be the first. He wants the best. Pleasing God requires that we put Him first and give Him our best, and do this by faith.
The fat portion of Abel’s sacrifice implies that he gave the most valuable thing that he has. And not only that, it came from the firstborn, signifying that the offering is topmost and special.
Once Again, what Abel offered to God was not the typical or usual, and definitely not the leftover, it’s the most valuable and the most precious from his stewardship.
Obedience by faith
“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
Abel’s faith led him to obey God and he was commended as righteous.
The Bible explains that righteousness is something bestowed on to us by God through faith in Jesus (see Romans 3:22). Righteousness is not something produced by our own effort. It’s not earned, but it’s something that He gives to you and me.
In the Old Testament, an offering was needed to cover one’s sin. Like Abel’s sacrifice, blood has to be shed so that an error that God condemns maybe covered.
But in the New Testament, an Unblemished Lamb became the Perfect Sacrifice so that your sins and mine are not only covered but cleansed. The Sacrifice, who shed His blood for you and me, can make us righteous if we put our faith in Him.
Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice for our sins. He was the first. He was the best. And through Him, we can have eternal life, be made righteous, and live transformed lives.
Called to be righteous, an invitation
Habakkuk 2:4 notes that the righteous will live by faith.
You and I are called to be righteous, and the only way to do so is by living by faith.
As Abel has exemplified to us, when we give God our best, when giving Him our first, He will look on us with favor.
This is why the only way for us to be saved is by surrendering our lives to Christ, giving Him our all, and putting Him first.
Only then can we live by faith and truly please God.
Today, we have an invitation to step out, to declare that Jesus is Lord of our lives, and from this day forth give Him our best and put Him first.
We have been given a way to please God through His Son who desires to give us life and have it to the full (see John 10:10).
The question now is: Will you respond to this invitation and take the leap?