Morning Thoughts on Hebrews 11:4


Elder Philip N. Conley

Hebrews 11:4 "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 speaketh."

This morning, many in the religious world and scientific world do not seem to understand the concept of "cause and effect." They declare that they can distinguish the difference, but their conversation then bears forth that they do not really understand.

When it comes to God's word and the principles contained therein, if one is not acquainted with the causes of things, then they will never fully understand how to respond to the effects. When it comes to good things, perfect things, and spiritual things, God is ALWAYS the cause of such and the giver to those that manifest or display them. When it comes to sin in the world, man is the cause of bringing that into the world, and the only remedy is the Cause of the good things: God Himself, in this verse, shows us how to properly differentiate the cause and effect of Abel's life. He is called righteous, and he is a witness of faith.

Some have speculated that the reason that God favorably acknowledged Abel's offering is because his offering symbolized the offering of Christ. While I do believe that his sacrifice to God pointed to the ultimate sacrifice that took away sin, this thought without the cause is grossly misleading. The principle reason that God accepted Abel's sacrifice is because He first had respect unto Abel. Without this premise, the rest is null and void.

There are people in this world (like Cain) that God has not respect for, for He declares that they are none of His. He never knew them, and He will one day tell them to depart from Him into everlasting fire. However, when God makes a person alive in Him, they are righteous in His sight. He makes them alive and able to offer well-pleasing odours of prayer and sacrifice to Him.

So, Abel's offering was indeed a good one (that is symbolic of Christ), but we must understand that the cause of this acceptable fruit was the working hand of Almighty God. After His work in the heart, Abel's sacrifice bore witness that he was righteous.

The sacrifice offered did not make him righteous, but it witnessed that he was righteous. So it is with us today in that none of our good deeds make us any more fit for heaven (Christ has already completed that work), but they do make us more fit for others to see and glorify our Father which is in heaven. Our works show forth that we have passed from death to life, and like Abel, they can even outlive our natural existence. Abel has been naturally dead for centuries, but his righteous actions are still on record for us to learn from. Likewise, even when we are dead and gone, our just behavior can be of benefit to those that we leave behind in our churches and families. May we ever press upward and onward walking by faith and not by sight to give praise to the One worthy of all glory and honour.