February 1, 2023  To believe like Abel did

Because Abel believed in God, his Offering was better as compared to his brother Cain´s. By faith he was commended as righteous when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks to us even if he is dead since a long time ago. (From: Letter to the Hebrews 11, 4)

Dear Reader,

the brutal story of Cain's fratricide is familiar to many Christians (Genesis 4). Cain was the first son of Adam and Eve. His younger brother was named Abel.  Abel was a shepherd, Cain was a farmer. One day they both made an offering to God. Cain offers from the fruits of his field, Abel slaughters his first and best sheep. 


Abel's sacrifice pleases God. Cain's sacrifice does not please God. God sees that Cain's heart is not in it. Cain is religious, but his faith is only a ritual. Abel is completely different. His heart is in it as he gives thanks to God and makes his sacrifice. He loves God with all his heart and trusts Him completely.


In Cain's heart it becomes dark. At first he contradicts God and does not allow himself to be corrected. God asks him to rule over sin! But Cain allows himself to be occupied by sin. This leads him to insidiously kill his younger brother. He kills from low motives, as one would say today.


When God asks him where his brother Abel is, he lies to God and says "I don't know! Shall I be my brother's keeper?" Cain lies right into God´s face. He is trying to justify himself. He wants to negotiate with God. After all, it's not his job to look after his brother, he argues.


I find it rather frightening that we can find this story already on the first pages of the Bible. Right at the beginning, God's word shows us what the human condition is like. In Cain's case, it begins with a superficial faith that cannot be corrected by God. Cain refuses to be responsible for his deeds. And he does not want to take responsibility for his brother either.


With Abel, we may see that he loved God. And it reminds us, that Jesus Christ is God´s love in person. He answered the question about the highest commandment in this way: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind". This is the highest and first commandment. But the other is equal "You shall love your neighbor as yourself". These two commandments cover all the law and the prophets." (Gospel of Matthew, Ch. 22, 37 - 40).


Abel did not know Jesus Christ yet. He did not know this commandment either. Not in any written form. But it was already written in his heart long before Moses wrote down the commandments of God.


What does Abel have to say to me today, even though he has been dead for a very, very long time?
I can hear him say:


1. Whatever you do for God, do it with your heart. Do it with love for God. Ask God to give you a loving heart. Give God the best you have. The best of your time, your strength.


 2. Let no sin control you. Evil thoughts can become evil deeds. Also, do not bring sin into other people's lives. You have no right to pollute or even destroy other people's lives with your own sins. Rather, take responsibility for your brother, your sister. They are to be blessed through you.


3.Where there is sin in your life, bring it to the Lord Jesus Christ. "Jesus our Lord was delivered into death to cover our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Letter to the Romans, Ch. 4:25 - 5:1)


I wish that you may live in this peace. I wish for you, that you are able to pass on this peace. Bring peace into your family.

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© 2023 Hans-Peter Nann