A more excellent sacrifice
‘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.’ Genesis 4:3–5
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Matthew 26:17–30
Let us consider Cain’s offering a little more attentively and we shall perhaps see that in the nature of things it was utterly impossible that such an offering and such a worshipper could be accepted by a God of truth and holiness. For we read that God clothed our first parents with the skins of beasts—and here, of Abel’s sacrifices. Bloody sacrifices were doubtless instituted when God gave the promise of a Saviour, and his death was shown forth in type till he appeared in the flesh to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. That without shedding of blood there is no remission [Hebrews 9:22], was a truth taught fallen man from the beginning. To this Abel conformed, and therefore is said by faith to have offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, who seems to have made light of the divine appointment of blood and to have presented his offering rather as a natural homage to God as his Creator, than to come in a prescribed way as a poor sinner to plead for mercy. This should be well considered. We have too many like Cain, who affront God while they pretend to worshipping, making light of the prescriptions of his Word; putting a slight upon the blood of Jesus, they presume to serve him with inventions of their own. God will accept nothing from us, but what has the sanction and warrant of his own Word.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘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’ (Hebrews 11:4).
‘And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins’ (Matthew 26:27–28).
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 11 [3/4], GENESIS 4:3–5