What was wrong with Cain’s offering to God? Outside the garden of Eden, the first sin was not murder but unauthorized worship. Reading through Genesis 4 one is struck with the fact that BOTH men brought offering to God. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground. “Abel, he ALSO brought…” Hebrews 11:4 clarifies that Abel brought a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.
What made it more excellent? The end of the verse clarifies that God had respect to his gifts. Notice the plural, “gifts.” Abel’s sacrifice was more nearly COMPLETE.
Did these men have a word from God? Surely, as faith comes from hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17). Both men had the same requirement from God. Perhaps,…perhaps, God required fruit of the ground as a “Thank” offering, and and an animal blood sacrifice for “SIN’ offering? Perhaps! Regardless, Abel offered by “FAITH” and Cain did NOT.
What made the difference? Divine authority. Throughout the entire Bible divine authority is the dividing line between acceptable-to-God worship, and worship that is not acceptable to God. In the New Testament dispensation (Heb. 9:15-17; 10:9-10), the worship Jesus authorized through the words and examples of Jesus’ apostles and New Testament prophets includes:
- the MEMORIAL of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-29);
- contribution as one has prospered and has purposed, on the first day of every week (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor 8 and 9);
- prayer, public and private (1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Cor. 14:15);
- preaching, teaching and studying God’s word (Acts 20:7; 2 Tim. 4:1-4);
- and singing, the fruit of the lips that make confession to His name (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 13:15).
These can be done, as with Abel, by faith. Anything else and everything else is done, as with Cain, with the Cain attitude, without faith, and is unacceptable to God, though approved by carnal-minded mankind (1 Cor. 3:1; Heb. 9:9-10).