Why Abel’s Faith Matters to You

by | Oct 13, 2014 | Faith | 6 comments

What does faith look like? The Bible says God wants us to walk by faith (Hebrews 10:38). Have you ever wrestled with what that means?


Photo by: Pablo Fernandez

One woman I met thought faith was rubbing the arthritic joints in her hands and claiming they were getting better. She told me she repeated this every day. Is that what the Bible means when it says “ faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, NASB)?

Hebrews 11 gives us the definition of faith (above) and then lists people who demonstrated it. Despite the fact that Jesus healed everyone who brought their diseases to Him and the book of James tells us what to do that we might be healed, God doesn’t include healing when He illustrates faith in this chapter.

From the examples God chose, we can conclude walking by faith is not mustering up belief to make what we want happen. It is responding to Who God is and complying with what He says.

Abel tops the roster of examples. If I were compiling a list of testimonies to promote my product, I wouldn’t choose someone who died because he used it. But that’s exactly what God did.

Because Abel worshiped the way God had prescribed He gained God’s approval and his brother’s ire (Genesis 4). “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous” (Hebrews 11:4).

Both Cain and Abel believed God existed. They both brought sacrifices at the same time to a certain place. They both knew what God wanted in worship. God even gave Cain another opportunity to get it right.

Cain was willing to worship God—Cain’s way. Abel had the faith to come to God God’s way. Throughout the Old Testament, many types of offerings were accepted. But only blood offerings dealt with sin. Abel through his sacrifice acknowledged his need for cleansing. He worshiped bringing his best.

The first thing I learn from Abel about God-pleasing faith is that the worshiper approaches God through His prescribed way. Biblical faith believes we need forgiveness of sins.

Perhaps, like me, you grew up believing people are basically good. But biblical faith contradicts the notion that we are doing our best. Every day we fail to love others, God, and ourselves in the way we should. We need forgiveness.

We no longer offer blood sacrifices because Jesus became the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Today, those with God-pleasing faith come to Him through the sacrifice of Jesus. God declares all who approach Him in this way as righteous.

Cain and Abel both believed in God. But only Abel believed he needed forgiveness. When he worshiped in God’s prescribed way, he was declared righteous and “though he is dead, he still speaks” (Hebrews. 11:4).

Abel tells us:

  • We all need forgiveness.
  • We can please God.
  • We are righteous in God’s sight only when we come to Him His way (through Jesus).
  • A life that pleases God will offend some people.
  • Even if we suffer or die for our faith, the suffering will pass, but our testimony will last.

Are you practicing Abel’s faith? Do you approach God your way or His?

Please share your thoughts. Click here to comment.


Email: LighthouseMinistries@mac.com

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  1. Ann

    Debbie I never really thought about the Cain and Abel story in the bible in quite this way and I totally agree. In answer to the question, my hope and faith are in what Jesus did for me at the cross. I depend on Him and on what He accomplished every minute of every day – or at least that is my intention and when I fail, I trust His cleansing and forgiveness. Thank God for His Blood and the righteousness He purchased for us!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Ann!

  2. Lillian

    Thanks for your article, I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way . He made the supreme sacrifice for sin. He has been my Savior since I was sixteen years old, and now I am ninety two . All these years, He is the one and the only one that I had to depend upon. And He has never failed me. He has always supplied my every need. He alone is sufficient . He is my all. I couldn’t live in this world without Him. I thank Him and praise Him everyday. He has been so good to me. This life is all about Him and we are here to glorify Him and serve Him. How can it get any better? No matter how old we are, we are here to glorify our Lord, Jesus Christ.
    We never retire. Praise The Lord Jesus Christ. I need Him every moment of everyday .

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lillian, for sharing God’s faithfulness to your 92 years! You have blessed me today.

  3. Brian

    Wholeheartedly agree with this, Debbie: “The first thing I learn from Abel about God-pleasing faith is that the worshiper approaches God through His prescribed way. Biblical faith believes we need forgiveness of sins.” It’s very “progressive” today with some to do away with the concepts of atonement and blood sacrifice. Of course this strikes at the very heart of God’s prescribed ways of relating to him. God only relates to us on the grounds of his Son … and the offering of his Son in our place. Great post!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Brian. I appreciate your sharing.

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