Anglican Morning Devotion for 13 May 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion
“ Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. 49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: 50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” (Luke 11:48-51;all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Most of us may not have realized that Abel, too, was a prophet of God; but in truth, Abel was the very first prophet and the first to be martyred for his faith. The prophets of God cover the entire Word of God from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ (Abel to Zacharias).
It is likely that Abel shared his faith with his brother, Cain; but, if he did not do so orally, he certainly did so in actions. Cain, just as man has done through the ages up until the present, desired to worship God according to his own desires and not the dictates of God. He was offended by Abel’s righteous offering to God and his complete devotion to his Maker. What was amiss in the offerings of Cain? There is more than one reason that God did not accept the offering of Cain.
First of all, was the rebellious attitude in which Cain made his offering; but secondly, the greater transgression was in the offering itself. God had set the standard for blood offerings in the remission of sin long before eastward in Eden. In order to cover the sins (nakedness) of Adam and Eve, He was compelled to take the life of one of His precious and innocent creatures (probably a lamb). “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) This was a grievous undertaking for the Lord because He loves all His creatures, but also due to the reminder it was to God that the sacrificed creature represented the sacrifice of His own only Begotten Son in the fulness of time.
So, Abel, according to the command of God, brought a blood offering of the firstling of his flock as a remission for his sins. The lambs of Abel did not represent the labor of the farmer. Life springs up independent of the labors of the shepherd. But Cain brought the fruits of his own labor and tillage of the ground. First of all, there can be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. “ . . . . without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22) Secondly, the source of Cain’s offering was cursed: “ . . . cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;” (Genesis 3:17) Cain’s offering was cursed, and he knew it. Salvation cannot come from good works, but by the grace of God. The Christian believer brings His sacrifice to the Throne of Mercy which is a blood sacrifice – the once-and-for-all sacrifice of God’s only Begotten son – the Lamb of God sacrificed from the foundation of the world. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (that old dragon – Satan), whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelations 13:8)
Just as the Children of Israel must have brought their sacrifice to the Door of the Tabernacle ere their prayers could be offered, so must the Christian, like Abel, offer his blood sacrifice before his salvation can be granted – the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). That blood offering has already been made. We need only come to the mercy seat with contrite hearts and penitent souls. Christ will hear our prayers for He has become our High Priest and ONLY Intercessor with the Father on our behalf.
Just as Cain murdered his brother Abel resulting from Cain’s false religion, so the Christian is often slain today by those whose religions are false or non-existent. I rely on the redemptive blood of Christ as my sacrifice and I hope you do as well.