Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Faith is About Righteousness in Christ

 "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." (Hebrews 11: 4)

To understand why Abel offered by faith, let us go back to the  definition of faith as recorded in the Bible.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11: 1)

What is the "thing hoped for"?


"1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." (Hebrews 11: 1-5)

The prophesy of the serpent-crusher (Genesis 3: 15-17), the Prince of Peace whose kingdom would never end (Isaiah 9: 6), seemed afar off, though, for the Jews of Isaiah's day:

"We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us." (Isaiah 59: 11)

Yet there were many prophesies of hope:

"By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:" (Psalm 65: 5)

The LORD spoke to the prophets that He was coming:

"For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait [lit. hope] for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2: 3)

and then

"Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2: 4)

Jesus is this hope:

"That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted [hoped] in Christ." (Ephesians 1: 12)

and then

"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1: 27)

So, what does all of this have to do with Abel? He offered a lamb, a picture of Jesus, "our witness", and he was made righteousness because of the blood.

"11For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." (1 John 3: 11-12)

Faith is about righteousness in Christ, and Abel understood that in the sacrificial lamb, a picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1: 27-29)


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