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The Gospels of Cain and Abel
By David A. DePra
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks. (Heb 11:4)
Abel and Cain are mentioned in Hebrews 11 as prime examples of faith and unbelief. Thus, it is not surprising that if we look into their story that we will see primary Truth on these matters. Abel and Cain stand as contrasting examples of what it means to live by faith, as opposed to living in unbelief. Indeed, each of these brothers represents a gospel. Cain represents the false gospel of Satan. Abel, however, represents the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
First, let’s read their story out of Genesis:
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bore his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shall thou not be accepted? and if thou do not well, sin lies at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shall rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood cries unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou till the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shall thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that finds me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. (Gen 4:1-16)
Now, let’s add to this story a comment given by the apostle John:
Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. (1 John 3:12)
The Two Sons
Before we look at the passages, let us take note of something -- the fact of which is more than obvious, but the significance of which may have escaped us: Cain was the FIRST human being ever born into this world through two human parents. Sure. Adam was created directly by God of the dust of the ground. Eve was created from materials found in Adam. Neither Adam nor Eve were actually BORN. They were CREATED. Thus, when we come to Cain, we are talking about the first born son of the human race – the first product of the human race.
Note also that Cain was the first born of human beings AFTER the sin. Thus, he was the first human being ever born into this world with a sin nature. Cain did not acquire this sin nature by anything that he personally DID – this is how Adam acquired it. No. Cain was born INTO this world WITH a sin nature.
Of course, Cain was a real person. But he carries more significance than might first meet the eye. In a very real sense, all that the human race IN ADAM can produce is, in type and shadow, represented by Cain. He was the first human being fully produced BY fallen human beings. He was the first who was that was, "born of flesh." And so whatever flesh can produce is there in Cain. He was the first in that sense, and as the first, this makes him unique.
Now, the fact that Cain was the FIRST person ever born IN ADAM carries with it a great deal of meaning that goes even beyond what we have mentioned. To see this meaning, we have to go back to what God promised Adam and Eve immediately after their sin:
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee… And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. (Gen 3:14-20)
This passage contains the first promise and prophecy of the Savior. The Savior would be the SEED of the woman – He would be born of woman. Adam and Eve clearly understood this. And the promise was sealed when God slew an animal sacrifice and clothed them. God was promising them a Savior – born the seed of the woman -- who would die for them and redeem them from the terrible sin they had committed, and who would deliver them from the realm of darkness into which they had fallen.
Now, if you read the end of the above passage, you will note that Adam calls his wife, "Eve, because she was the mother of all living." This is quite ironic, because the opposite is actually the Truth – all who would be born of Eve would be born spiritually DEAD. Yet it seems that even in this name we see that Adam knew that God had promised them a Savior who would restore LIFE to the human race. God had said that the seed of the woman would destroy the works of the Devil and redeem them from death. Adam acknowledged this promise and named Eve accordingly – he named his wife EVE, the mother of all living. EVE would bring forth a Seed that would bring forth LIFE.
Now to Cain. There is every reason to believe that when Cain was born that Adam and Eve assumed that Cain was, in fact, the SEED promised by God. They thought that Cain was the one whom God promised to give them who would restore life. Indeed, this is why they named him CAIN – the name means, "possession." And it accounts for Eve’s comment about him. She said, "I have gotten (possessed) a man from the LORD." Get that. Eve celebrated that Cain was given to her from the Lord. We might paraphrase and suggest what Eve meant: "God has given us THE SEED – THE man that He promised. Our Savior has been born. We now POSSESS him."
This interpretation is affirmed quite strongly by the naming of her second child, Abel. Abel means, "emptiness or unsatisfactory." What a name to give to your child. But it apparently expressed what they felt. It would seem that by the time Abel was born – maybe even due to the FACT that he was born -- Adam and Eve had come to realize that Cain was not their Savior. Thus, quite pessimistically, they named this second child with a name that represented their faded hopes for a quick solution to the disaster of their sin: Abel.
It is interesting that the name ABEL can also be used to signify, "breath." Even in the names given to each of these sons we find type and shadow. Cain was the first born of the human race with the sin nature. He was, in type, representative of the FLESH. He was also mistakenly thought of as the Savior. Isn’t it a fact that one of the biggest errors of the church has always been to think that religious man can birth through the flesh what only God can birth from above? And isn’t it a fact that only when this comes to naught that then God is able to birth by His Spirit – by His own BREATH – His own will and purpose? Indeed, isn’t it a fact that it is that which is born of flesh that seeks to kill all that is born of the Spirit of God? There is much in this story of Cain and Abel that is played out each day among God’s own people today.
We are not told how much time passed between the sin of Adam and the birth of Cain. Neither are we told how many years passed between the birth of Cain and his brother, Abel. But if you read the story of Cain, you cannot but help but believe that the expectation that he was the promised Savior was known to him. I’m not saying that he still thought he was the Savior at the time of his murder of Abel. But I am saying that since his parents initially thought he was the Savior – I am saying that they would have TOLD HIM this – and surely he would have initially believed them. And they would have treated him accordingly. Thus, we can assume that this false assumption almost certainly continued until about the time of the birth of Abel. Cain had been hailed as the promise of God and we can assume that he took a dangerous PRIDE in this. Abel’s birth, however, had brought the whole delusion crashing down.
This must have given Cain occasion for jealousy – the birth of Abel would have done this – Abel’s birth itself had apparently proven to them that Cain was NOT the promised one. At some point, therefore, it is probably a fact that Cain began to resent his brother and all that Abel represented. John tells us that Cain hated Abel because Cain’s works where evil and Abel’s were righteous. The offerings of each were representative of this – and what happened because of those offerings was merely the outcome of a resentment and jealousy that had been festering in Cain for quite some time.John says, "Cain, who was of that wicked one." Cain didn’t all of a sudden become, "of the wicked one," at the time of the offerings. No. He had already given himself over. And God knew this. You will note that even after God rejected the offering of Cain, and Cain began to resent this, God nevertheless encouraged Cain. God said to him, "Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shall thou not be accepted? And if thou do not well, sin lies at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shall rule over him." God Himself had both encouraged and warned Cain. And yet Cain completely rejected what God had said and went ahead and killed his brother. Such was the deliberate and knowing nature of the sin of Cain. This wasn’t about losing his cool. It was a pre-meditated intention of murdering Abel, despite the clear warning from God.
Much of this evil in Cain can be traced back to his declaration as the promised one and the subsequent realization that it was not the Truth. Cain resented this. Neither was Cain content to be right with God. He had to be MORE RIGHT with God than Abel. Cain would not rest his faith in the promised Savior. He had to be his OWN savior. In Cain we find embodied all that man tries to be apart from Jesus Christ. We find represented in him all the efforts of the flesh – of religious flesh. It is not surprising that this would be the character of the one who was the first born of the human race.
There should be no question as to why God accepted the offering of Abel, but did not accept the offering of Cain. Abel offered to God a blood sacrifice – and in doing so, expressed his faith in a coming Savior. Abel KNEW that only through the death of a substitute could he be saved. But Cain offered to God the work of his own hands – meaning that he considered himself and his own works sufficient. This was NOT merely a mistake. Each sacrifice represented faith – or unbelief. Cain knew about the need for a blood sacrifice just as much as Abel -- if not more. Yet he deliberately disregarded it in his worship of God.
It is here that we need to understand the meaning of the OT sacrifices. The OT sacrifices were NOT appeasements of God. They were NOT temporary blood appeasements of an angry God until Jesus could come and die as the ultimate appeasement. No. Indeed, if they were appeasements of God, then that is what Jesus was – an appeasement of God. This was never the meaning of the OT sacrifices, let alone the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Paul states this Truth emphatically. He says, "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. " (1 Cor. 12:3) To call an offering, "accursed," is to say that it is dedicated to the destruction of an angry god – it is to say that it is offered to APPEASE the anger of that god. This was how the heathen viewed their sacrifices to their false gods. Paul is telling the Corinthian church, who at one time would have operated within such a heathen system, that such thinking and practice is NEVER of the Holy Spirit of God.
Jesus did not die to appease the angry of God towards sin. Neither did He die to merely take away the penalty FOR sin. Rather, Jesus died to deliver us from sin itself – which would take away the penalty as well. But never say that the problem between God and man is God’s anger over sin. No. The problem is man’s sin against God. And God sent Christ because He, "so loved the world," not because He was so angry at the world. The importance of seeing this is more than doctrinal. We are here talking about the very character, nature, and intentions of God Himself – and that in the death of His Son.
But back to the OT sacrifices. All of the OT sacrifices looked forward to Christ. But in doing so, they were not appeasements. Their purpose is perhaps best stated by the writer of Hebrews:
But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. (Heb 10:3)
The OT sacrifices were a REMINDER of sin. Well, WHO needs to be reminded of sin? Does God? No. We do. In other words, the OT sacrifices kept the believer continually aware of the fact that they were a sinner – a sinner who needed to be redeemed by the death of a substitute.
Now, we must get this. The OT sacrifices were not an appeasement of God. They were a reminder to the believer. When the believer offered a sacrifice to God, they were really confessing the Truth that they were a sinner without hope – except in the Savior. The sacrifice of the animal was a confession of the sinner to the effect that he needed a Savior to die as his substitute – and that this alone could redeem him and restore him back to God. Thus, ALL of the OT sacrifices pointed to Christ.
When Abel offered to God his sacrifice, he was, in effect, saying, "I am confessing my faith solely in Christ crucified. I am confessing the fact that there is nothing I can do to save myself. My salvation requires the death of ANOTHER – someone who will die in my place – indeed, someone in whom I can die. I offer this animal to confess this Truth and express my faith in Christ." This is what the BLOOD OF ABEL SPEAKS.
On the other hand, Cain was, in effect, saying, "I am offering to you God that which I have produced by my own work." Now, note something here: Cain was not off somewhere offering sacrifices to a false god. He was not ignoring God. No. Rather, Cain was actually offering to the one true God what he considered to be a valid sacrifice. Yet it was unacceptable to God. Cain’s sacrifice was actually a denial of the Cross. It was a denial that he was a dead sinner. Cain was making another way of redemption back to God – fashioned out of his own life.
If that seems harsh, note this: In order to present to God the work of your own hands, you certainly must place a lot of value in your own works. You must think that they are sufficient to offset your deficiencies. This, in turn, shows that you have no real conviction of sin – I did not say SINS, but SIN. You do not realize your hopeless condition. Rather than realize that your redemption requires the death of a perfect substitute, you still think you have it in yourself to deal with your sin. In fact, you don’t even think you need to DIE. You think that the sacrifice of your own works, or of your own working, will do.
Scan the present day church and you will find this very deception everywhere. People will all agree that they sin, and they will even say they don’t want to sin. But what solution is given for sin? Often, some kind of works offered to God. Some kind of religious hoop to jump through. Christians fast, pray, study, serve, go through the latest church programs, submit to authority, give money, and will do almost anything except the ONE THING. What is that ONE THING? Well, we have to DIE. That is the only solution for sin. But happily, if we would only see it, God made a way in which we can die IN HIS SON.
The only solution for sin is faith that is SOLELY in Christ crucified. Not faith in Christ AND something else. But faith that is SOLELY in Christ crucified. But don’t think that this will not have an impact. If I put my faith solely in Christ crucified then I will be CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. I will lose my life in order to find HIS. Yet isn’t this what it means to be progressively set free from sin itself? Sure. If I am crucified with Christ, then I will eventually be able to say, with Paul, "I am crucified WITH Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal. 2:20)
Cain represented, in his offering, not faith solely in Christ crucified, but faith in ONESELF. Yet, as I mentioned, not in a rebellious, outwardly godless way. No. Cain presented the works of his own life in a religious way – through an offering -- UNTO THE LORD. In effect, he tried to establish himself before God through his own working. This was a denial of the Cross. God did not accept Cain’s offering.
It is not often stated as such, but it is an absolute fact – that legalism is SIN. It is unbelief. It is, as Paul tells us, "another gospel." Read again the account of Cain. Cain was confessing ANOTHER GOSPEL – another way to God. And yet he was doing this all the while with murder in his heart.
Abel, on the other hand, offered to God by faith in a future Savior. I believe, in fact, that when John says that the works of Abel were righteous, and that the works of Cain were evil – I believe that this refers to the offering given by each, as much as it refers to the life lived by each. To offer to God that which is FROM MYSELF, rather than to put my faith solely in Christ – that is evil. It is sin. It is not only a denial of my own need, but it is a denial of the Truth of the Cross, and of Christ Himself.
Cain initially thought he might be the Savior. Well, to offer to God that which is from out of myself is exactly an expression of that delusion. We think we can save ourselves, or we think that we can maintain our standing before God by our own works. We offer to God that which is of the flesh; that which has come out of sin and therefore cannot atone for sin. That which is born OF the flesh IS flesh.
Lose to Find
The greatest lie of the church age is the lie that suggests that you do NOT have to lose your life in order to find the life of Christ. It is, in effect, a denial of the Cross. But then we make it worse by offering that which is of natural man as acceptable to God. Or, to put it another way, the greatest lie of the church age is exactly the SAME LIE as was expressed in the offering of Cain unto God.
The gospel of Jesus Christ states that if you want to find life in Christ, you must lose yours. The gospel of Satan states that if you want to find life you simply get God to give you yours. So professing Christian people offer to God what they think He wants, expecting Him to pay them back with what they want. But really, this is ALWAYS – I said ALWAYS – the motive behind offering to God the work of my hands, or offering to God something OF MYSELF. I do that because I expect a pay back or reward, or to avoid some perceived punishment.
We see this with Cain. God would not accept what he offered to God – and remember, Cain’s offering was, to a degree, a cost to Cain. Cain offered the work of his hands. And it was, after all, a religious exercise. In Cain’s mind, what he had to offer God was of value, or he would not have offered it. But when God rejected that offering, Cain became angry at God.
Have you ever noticed this potential in yourself? You sacrifice for God, or so you think, and it comes to naught. God doesn’t do for you what you expected Him to do. Then you get angry or depressed. Is this not simply an indication that your offering had strings attached? That what seemed to be an offering unto God was really an offering FOR yourself, to get God to work unto your ends?
Actually, many of us LIVE under this motivation. We live rightly before the Lord because it PAYS us to. We think we are either earning a reward or avoiding a judgment. Thus, our living according to a certain pattern is, "our offering." But then if God doesn’t bless us for it, we accuse Him of being unfair. Or, in a more subtle way, we simply LOSE FAITH.
Of course today Christians are taught to deliberately GIVE to God for the expressed purpose of GETTING from Him. This is not only error – it is sin. It is the WAY OF CAIN. It is nothing short of a denial of the Cross and an attempt to come into the grace and blessing of God in some way – a way that is based upon something about MYSELF – other than Christ crucified. But God is never going to accept this, "offering." He is not going to reward you or bless you or take you into His purposes based upon anything about you. All that God has is found in His Son, and it is only by faith that is solely in His Son that we can experience any of God.
I mentioned earlier that the gospel of Jesus Christ states that if you want to find life in Christ, you must lose yours. The gospel of Satan states that if you want to find life you simply get God to give you yours. This is not an exaggeration. Jesus made this exact distinction:
From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savor not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Mat 16:21-25)
What is the gospel of Satan? It is essentially Christ without the Cross. It is a gospel that states that God will give you everything because Christ died FOR you – but that you don’t have to be crucified WITH Him. In short, you don’t have to lose possession of your life to find HIS – instead you can fully possess your life, and in fact, you can get God to help you. This can be worked out along many lines. But in the end, Satan has always offered man the things of God apart from death and resurrection.
Man wants the help of God. But man doesn’t want God. Man wants God to come down and solve our problems. But man doesn’t want Jesus to be Lord of US. We are willing to offer the Lord most anything, as long as we get something in return. But God tells us to DIE – He tells us to be crucified with Christ and in doing so fall unconditionally into His hands. That is a whole other thing.
It is the greatest tragedy of all that the very life that we cling to is the very death we need to escape. God is simply telling us to let go to Him – because as we seek to possess our lives for ourselves we are dying. The only solution is to LOSE our lives into His hands. Then there is a resurrection.
The Blood Sacrifice
It is through the Cross of Jesus Christ that God gives us all things in Christ through the resurrection. But having said that, we need to understand what else this means: It means that everything outside of Christ is FORBIDDEN – is really shut out and done away through death – through that same Cross. When we speak of faith solely in Christ crucified, this doesn’t mean, "with a few things on the side." No. The Cross absolutely shuts out all that is OF US – it absolutely means that nothing of man, of natural man, of the flesh – even the very best of humanity – it means that all of this is proven to be utterly barren of any ability to redeem us back to God.
This is not about following a religion. It is the Truth. There is nothing of man in Adam that can offer to God, produce life, or live in fellowship with Christ. Nothing. Thus, when we talk about faith that is solely in Christ crucified, we are likewise forbidding faith in all else. This Truth is illustrated in the sacrifice of Abel and Cain. Abel showed faith solely in Christ crucified. Cain was expressing faith in himself – in what he could produce.
This was not a mistake. It was actually proven to be rebellion. After the sacrifices, God came to Cain and explained things to him. God encouraged Cain to do rightly. If Cain’s heart had been in the least right with God, he would have corrected course. But no. Instead, he murdered Abel. And then on top of that, accused God of unfairness when God judged him for that murder. In the end, it says, "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord." Note that. Cain left God. God didn’t leave Cain – there was always the chance to come back and face the Truth.
What would we do if today we discovered that there is not a thing we can offer God that he will accept from us as the reason why He ought to bless us? What would we do if we discovered that there is not going to be a reward for all of our good works? Or service? That instead, God will look at our faith in His Son? What would we do, if, after making our supposed sacrifices unto the Lord -- what would we do if God said to us, "I cannot accept that?" Would we accuse God of being unfair? Or would we seek God for the Truth.
I say again – the Cross means God accepts NOTHING except His Son. Nothing. But the good news is, that if we will see we have nothing to offer, that it is the first step in being able to receive everything IN His Son.
The lie, of course, is that God will accept something other than Christ and Him crucified. That is why Cain offered the product of himself, and that is why we repeat the error. Now, this lie takes many forms, and some of them are quite subtle. One of the most subtle is the notion that what God does through Christ is MAKE US – our natural man -- acceptable to Himself. You will hear such statements as, "Jesus Christ died to bring out your greatness." Or, you will hear, "God made you just as you are and through Christ you can realize your full potential." Of course, there are the more traditional forms of this deception – such as law-keeping, submission, and self-imposed humility. In fact, there are those who preach the Cross and then use the fact they are preaching it as a badge of honor and righteousness. But in the end, all of these things deny the one Truth that stands as the center of God’s plan – that yes, Jesus Christ died FOR US. But He died FOR US so that we could DIE IN HIM and be raised unto NEW LIFE IN HIM.
Actually, you and I don’t need to hear false doctrine to live in this lie. It is part of what it means to be blind to the Truth. There isn’t any one of us that has not looked for righteousness in OURSELVES. We have all sought to find in ourselves – whether through works, attitude, or service – something we can park on, or have faith in – we seek something from ourselves we can present to God. The Christianity of most of us has been based upon what we think we can OFFER TO GOD. The Truth, however, is that real Christianity is based upon us having received from God His own Son.
I say again, that In Christ – and I emphasize IN CHRIST – God offers all things freely. But until we see that we HAVE nothing, and ARE nothing, we will not be able – we will not want – to receive what God has FREELY. We will continue to bargain for what God freely offers. Why? Because we will think that what we offer is of value. And we will never see that what He offers is priceless.
This is why God must bring us to NOTHING – He is actually showing us the Truth. We are nothing. But God does not leave us there. This is all His working so that we can receive and live in that which is freely given in Christ.
If God were to bypass the need to bring us to nothing and somehow force into our lives all that is of Christ, we would use Christ for our own purposes. We would do this without realizing it. And the moment we would seek to use Christ for our own purposes, Christ would not be with us. Thus, there is no need to argue the point. God can give us all things freely only to the extent that we live in His purposes and in His will. It is not a matter of requirement. It is a matter of the Truth. We cannot have fellowship with God in the Light of His Son if we are actually walking in darkness.
In the story of Cain and Abel, we see the gospel illustrated. We also see the false gospel illustrated. Isn’t it amazing, indeed, isn’t it significant, that every time God talks about a false gospel, that it ends up coming back to the SAME one – that Satan will try to get man to achieve redemption through some means other than Christ crucified and raised? That Satan will try to get man to believe that the Cross is not necessary? Paul continually warned against this in his epistles:
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (Gal 1:6-10)
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:17-18)
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (1 Cor 1:23)
For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Cor 2:2)
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Gal 6:14)
So what does God want us to do? He wants us to STOP offering to Him that which is OF OURSELVES. He wants us to STOP putting our faith in that which is OF OURSELVES. He wants us to LOSE all of that down into a complete death – which means that I no longer consider anything about myself to be an object of my faith. But rather, God wants us to come to Christ crucified. He wants us to base all of our faith and confidence before Him solely in Christ and Him crucified. He wants us to realize that if we will do this that we will lose our own lives, but that we will find real life in Christ.
This is not merely applicable to salvation. Our faith is to continually be In Christ crucified. It is what it means to abide in Christ.
This is the Truth found in the story of Cain and Abel. That God gives all on the basis of Christ, but accepts nothing but Christ. That we can receive all things freely in Christ, but that the Cross brings us to nothing. It is all or nothing – yet isn’t that exactly what death and resurrection means?
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