“It was by faith that Abel brough a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.” Hebrews 11:14
The question was posed to me, “How can a loving God send a person to hell when all their life they have done good things, maybe living a better moral life than a believer?” Many people have grappled with this question, and it has become a major stumbling block. It has caused some to question their faith, and it has kept some from seeking a relationship with God. The problem is, they are looking at it from the wrong angle. They are thinking that the works themselves are what makes a person righteous, when in fact, works by themselves can never save anyone.
The person who counts on their own good works to get them into God’s good graces, rejects God’s plan and provision for salvation. They are saying in effect, “I think my offering is good enough.” Look at what Isaiah says: “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.” 64:6
And it’s not only unbelievers who can fall into this trap, many in the church today are trying to do good works apart from the Holy Spirit, and as a result they are burned out, discouraged, and ready to quit. We were never meant to do anything apart from the Spirit. Sometimes we try to go back to doing things through our own efforts we fall flat on our face. And God lets us!
It’s kind of like what happened to Cain. He thought his offering was good enough and then was mad when it wasn’t accepted. Abel, however sacrified from the choicest of his flock to give back to God. Somewhere along the line, Cain held back his best. He rejected God’s plan, and then sulked even when God came to him:
“Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:6-7
God never intended anyone to go to hell, in fact He is not willing that any should perish……and all we have to do is reach out and take God up on His offer of salvation. Jesus sacrificed Himself for us so that we might become righteous. He is our righteousness!
The best offering………….
Blessings of this past week…….continued strength and humor inspite of difficulty and challenge……the joy of the Spirit in the midst of joyless company……good conversations about God……fellowship and shared commiseration with friends…..knowledge that we are in the midst of Grace at all times……fruitful quiet times that carry me through, and enable me to help others go through…..questions from others that renew my faith….the support of a best friend who understands…..continued good health……furry ones who give comfort….#647-657