‘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: Acts 5:1–11
You see, Cain’s religion was a bargain. He thought it no small matter that he would submit to bring a little of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. He expected to be highly commended and rewarded for it. And when he found that the Lord did not think so well of him as he did of himself, he was wroth, as if some great injury had been done. He disdained that Abel should be preferred to him, and upon this account he hated him and at length embraced his hands in his blood. You see then, under the appearance of Cain’s religion there was hid disobedience and pride in the sight of God, and hatred and malice against his brother. What wonder then, that it should be said of the Lord, who searcheth the heart, that to Cain and his offering he had not respect. This is the very picture of the spirit of self-righteousness in all ages—thus it acts towards God, opposing his will and yet expecting his favour—and thus it acts towards man, who dare not offer a service or allow themselves in a hope, but through the blood and mediation of Jesus. Be assured that the principles of Cain and Abel divide this assembly. If you are of Cain’s religion you have Cain’s spirit—you never found comfort in your way, and you are angry with those who hold to it in another way. Therefore you despise, perhaps revile, and probably if all restraints were taken away, you would think to do God service by putting those to death whom he loves.
But happy are you who are seeking salvation in Abel’s way, by blood—the blood of Jesus. It cleanseth from all sin [1 John 1:7]. He is able to save to the uttermost [Hebrews 7:25]. Believe and you shall be saved [Luke 8:12].
The sacrifice the Lord ordained
Yet rage and envy filled his mind,
In type of the Redeemer’s blood,
When, with a sullen, downcast look,
Self-righteous reasoning Cain disdained,
He saw his brother favour find,
And thought his own first-fruits as good.
Who GOD’S appointed method took.
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 11 [4/4], GENESIS 4:3–5