The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews not only tells us
that we must have faith in order to be pleasing to God (v.6),
but it also shows us what faith is. Through examples of
faithful individuals of the past the Lord has clothed the
concept of faith that we might see it and understand what it
The writer begins with the example of Able and how faith
involves acceptable worship. "By faith Abel offered to God a
better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the
testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts,
and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks" (Heb.
11:4). I am impressed that at the very beginning of man's
history the first thing that man sought to do by faith was to
worship the Almighty God. True faith always seeks to worship.
The Scripture tells us that Able "offered to God a better
sacrifice." The word "offered" in this passages literally means
"to bear or to carry something." Able brought something to God.
The reason he did was because he realized his deficiencies
before God. Able realized he was a sinful man and recognized
the righteousness and power of God. With this understanding
Able sought to do something. So, he offered, brought, carried
something to God. True faith in God always will seek to worship
God. Before anyone will faithfully worship God they have to
recognize God's righteousness and power and admit their
sinfulness before Him. When one comes to understand these things
it is then that he will seek to bring an offering before God's
throne by faith.
True faith, however, not only seeks to worship, but seeks
to worship as God directs. To explain how true faith worships,
God uses the lives of two individuals; one who sought to worship
in his own way, and another who by faith sought to worship as
God directed. The record of this story in Genesis 4 tells us
that Able offered the firstlings of his flocks. That is, Able
offered to God a blood sacrifice. Cain, however, made a
vegetable offering. It is inconceivable to think that Cain and
Able were left on their own to determine how they were to
worship God. The Scriptures state that Able offered "by faith"
(Heb. 11:4). "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of
God" (Rom. 10:17). Able must have had some revelation from God
as to how to worship, something upon which to base his faith.
In the beginning, long before He would pour out the blood of His
own Son for the sins of man, God made it known that whenever
sinful man approached God he needed to bring a blood sacrifice.
Able gave to God what God wanted. Cain, however, gave to God
what Cain wanted.
It is important to note that it was not the worship of a
false god that condemned Cain. It was the worship of the true
God in a false way that condemned Cain. False religion is trying
to come to God or worship God in any other way than that which
God has directed. "There is a way that seems right unto man but
the end thereof is death" (Prov. 14:12). To worship God
acceptably one must have faith in God and follow His direction.
Faith always seeks to worship as God directs.
People everywhere are looking for a religion that they like.
Many go from church to church trying to find the one that
appeals to them. When they find the things they want to do and
hear the things they want to hear they will worship there. Yet,
when we adapt religion to please ourselves, whether it is
concerning how we live our lives or what we do in our worship
assemblies, God is not pleased. Whatever we teach or practice
must be based on the authority of God's word (Col. 3:17). Only
then can our worship be offered by faith.
In teaching us concerning saving faith God uses the
contrast of two kinds of worship. Cain's is a worship of
convenience according to man's way that was not acceptable to
God. Abel's, however, was a worship of faith. He offered to God
as God directed, thus obtaining God's approval. Are you seeking
God's approval? Are you living and worshipping before Him by