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Monday, August 24, 2009

Cain and Abel

According to the Bible, Cain was the very first baby to be born on this earth! And Abel was the second. Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve’s first two boys. Cain grew up to become a farmer and Abel tended sheep. In due time both young men bring their offerings to God.

Cain brings an offering of fruits and veggies from his plot of land and Abel sacrificed his first and best lamb. Genesis 4:1-10 tells the whole story. The Lord accepts Abel’s offering – the blood of the lamb. But He rejects Cain’s offering – the fruits of his labor.

Cain can’t believe it! He’s very upset. The Lord comes to him and tries to encourage him. “Cain, don’t be upset. I will accept you too – just do what’s right—“ It all seems so simple Cain, just follow directions and bring the offering that God has asked for. But alas, Cain refuses and wants to do it his way.

In a jealous rage Cain kills his brother Abel. And Gods’ punishment of Cain follows. Really a tragic story! Thousands of years later Jesus mentions Abel and calls him “righteous”. – Matthew 23:35. Abel is righteous and accepted by God because he offered the sacrifice that God required! - the blood of the best lamb. And what does God require of us? Do we sacrifice a lamb like Abel did?

In the Old Testament atonement (taking away of sin) through the shed blood of a lamb was an inescapable Scriptural teaching. – Leviticus 17:11. Exodus 12:5 and Exodus 24:5-8 speak of the “blood of the Covenant” and the “lamb without blemish.” Hebrews 9:22 tells us: “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” The ancient Israelites sacrificed animals to God as a temporary sacrifice to cover their sin. They were given instructions as to what God would accept through the Mosaic Covenant. These temporary sacrifices were a type or a picture of the permanent Sacrifice that was to come.

In Hebrews 9:12 Scripture tells us that our salvation wasn’t obtained by the blood sacrifice of animals – but by Christ. Jesus Christ – the shedding of His blood provided our permanent sacrifice. Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb. John the Baptist referred to Jesus as: “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29.

You and I are still trying to win God’s acceptance today. We are no different from Cain and Abel of old -- we’re still bringing the Lord our offerings. –and hoping for His salvation. And the rules haven’t changed. Jesus tells us in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No person comes to the Father except through Me.” It’s all so simple. There’s just one way – just one offering that God will accept. And that Offering – that Way is Jesus.

It’s all done for you, if you will just take it. Accept God’s gift and don’t try to wing it on your own, like Cain did. We don’t need to sacrifice a lamb since the Mosaic Covenant has been fulfilled through Christ’s death and resurrection. God has provided us the only offering that He will receive – that offering is Jesus Just believe that Jesus Christ is the Lamb that was sacrificed for you – your Savior – and be like Abel –and receive God’s acceptance.

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