In Genesis 4 verses 4 and 5 we read the following:
"...The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his sacrifices."
The question is: How did Abel gain God's respect? What did he do differently than Cain?
"Now Abel was a shepherd of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Now in the process of time Cain brought a sacrifice to the Lord from the fruits of the ground. Abel also brought a sacrifice from the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his sacrifices..." (Genesis 4:3-5)
Abel had faith and through his faith he understood the proper sacrifice. In Hebrews we read "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain..." (Hebrews 11:4) Abel by faith learned that a blood sacrifice had to be offered. Perhaps he observed the garments of skin that the Lord God made for Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:21. The skin garments had to have come from a blood sacrifice. Perhaps also he learned from his parents that they tried first to sew fig leaves together and that wasn't sufficient (Genesis 3:7). Abel's faith was one of the factors that caused him to gain God's respect. In Hebrews we also read that "...without faith it is impossible to please Him..." (Hebrews 11:6). Abel had a discerning heart through faith to offer a more excellent sacrifice.
Another factor that caused Abel to gain God's respect are his righteous works. In first John it says "Not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. Any why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous." (I John 3:12) Abel's righteous works led to God's respect to him and his offering.
It was not only Abel's faith and righteous works and caused him to gain God's respect, but also Abel's heart was in the right place. Abel had a heart that seeks after what God seeks. Whenever someone offers a gift to another he should look for a gift that's according to the receiver's liking, not his own. Abel had a pure heart to discern what God was seeking. He spent a little more effort to learn God's will and what God seeks. Cain's inward state of his heart however was wicked. His wickedness is described in Jude 11 as "the way of Cain." Thus in order to Gain God's respect we must have faith, do righteous works and have a pure heart.
Lastly, the way that Abel offered the sacrifice to God gained God's respect to him. "Abel also brought a sacrifice from the firstborn of his flock and of their fat." (Genesis 4:4) The scripture was careful enough to mention that he also offered the fat of the flock. It wasn't until later on in Leviticus that God taught Moses, Aaron and his sons about the sacrifices and the very particular way they should offer it. God instructed Moses saying "... all the fat is the Lord's" (Leviticus 3:16). Abel offered his sacrifice exactly the way God wanted it before God even asked for it. The way Abel offered his sacrifice also caused him to Gain God's respect. Perhaps God gave this particular instruction to Moses regarding the fat of the sacrifices as a remembrance of Abel's sacrifice. Either way, we know that Abel offered his sacrifice the way God wanted it.
Thus the Holy Scripture reveals to us in Genesis 4 how we can gain God's respect. Through faith, righteous works, a pure heart we gain His respect. We must also worship God the way he wants to be worshipped and the way He instructed us to worship Him. We must obey the cannons of our Church established by God Himself which teaches us the way we ought to worship Him. We should follow the Church which is esablished by God Himself and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Individual worship is well and essential, but Church worship is also required by God. It's the way God wants us to relate to him.
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