Deut 16:16-17 (KJV)
16Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty:
17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.
The Law of God states that when appearing before God not to appear empty.
James 1:22 (KJV) 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James states that we should be doers of the word and not hearers only.
John 14:15 (KJV) 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Jesus makes this statement to keep his commandments. God gives us his Law through Moses revealing unto us his divine Law. The question is how we, as believers, can be a doer of the word and bring an offering unto the LORD.
2 Cor 3:6 (KJV) 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
The letter of the law states that we should not appear before the LORD empty, but if we try to fulfill the letter of the law it will not minister life but death.
Romans 10:5 (KJV) 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
The Law of God (word of God), which we read about in the bible, not only describes the righteousness of God, but also proves that merely doing these “actions” does not produce righteousness. (Romans 3:20 (KJV) 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:28 (KJV) 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.)
How then can we serve the Lord in a way that will produce righteousness and doers of the word? When we look at Cain and Abel we may gain some insight into this question.
Gen 4:3-5 (KJV)
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
Cain brought fruit of the ground and Abel brought the firstlings (first-born) of the flock. When God looked at what the brothers offered, he looked at the offering and not the offers, because there is no respect of persons with God.
Romans 2:11 (KJV) 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
Cain and Abel as individuals had no bearing on whether God accepted the offering or not. We are ALL sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It did not matter what was in their heart because the heart is wicked and deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9). If God had respected Abel and not Cain then God would have been in transgression.
James 2:9 (KJV) 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
We can move one step closer in answering this question by removing Cain and Abel from the equation. We can then narrow the field down to the offerings, and why one was accepted and the other rejected. Cain brought the work of his hands, which was the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought the work of his hands, which was the firstling from his flock.
Gen 2:7 (KJV) 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Gen 3:17-19 (KJV)
17 And unto Adam he said,…: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;…
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
God made man from the ground and because of the fall the ground has been cursed for our sake. This means that the vessels we dwell in, which is made up of “ground,” is cursed and whenever we utilize our vessels we will always bring forth thorns and thistles.
The flesh, which is man’s abilities, will, knowledge, strength, ambition, talent, passion, wisdom, skills and capabilities. This is what Cain offered to God as his offering. Cain knew enough about God to want to please him by bringing him an offering but what he offered God was a product of his flesh, which was not acceptable to God.
Abel’s offering was the firstling or first born of the flock. Jesus Christ, being our first born lamb from the flock of God, is the offering which God has given us and this offering was acceptable to God.
Deut 16:17 (KJV) 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God WHICH HE HATH GIVEN THEE.
The only thing God will ever accept is what he has brought forth, produced, or raised. Abel had nothing to do with the birth of the firstling but the firstling grew gaining strength from the grass it ate and the water it drank.
Matt 1:20-21 (KJV)
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Jesus was totally conceived by God in the womb of Mary for this reason. Mary had nothing to do with the conception of Jesus. Mary just carried Jesus in her womb for nine months.
Gal 4:19-23 (KJV)
19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth AGAIN (These are the Galatians who started in the spirit but was turning back to the letter of the law) until Christ be formed in you,
20 to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Cain and Abel; Cain is the flesh trying to bring the promise to pass which will always produce Ishmael, and Abel is the spirit who puts his faith totally in God because he that promised is able to bring it to pass without the assistance of Abraham. When Abraham realized that his body was now dead (meaning there is nothing else he can do to bring the promise to pass) is when God brought it to pass.
Romans 4:19-21 (KJV)
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:
20 not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
God does the performing and we offer what he has performed which is a perfect work and will be accepted by him!
Matt 1:25 (KJV) 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Jesus Christ is the firstborn or the firstling of the flock.
John 1:29 (KJV) 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Here we see Jesus as a grown lamb which has been produced by God. Jesus, being the Lamb of God, is the promise so where is the performance (“what he had promised, he was able also to perform”)?
Isaiah 53:7 (KJV) 7 He (Jesus) was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he OPENETH NOT his mouth.
Romans 8:36 (KJV) 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
This is the work that is perfect, the cross of Christ. Not only the Lamb but the cross (work) as well.
Cain’s offering is wide and diverse covering many different areas of man’s effort. Abel’s offering is singular, a lamb, which is a very narrow way. The simplicity of Jesus Christ and his crucifiction is singular and narrow. Do not be a Cain. Cain thought he could offer God anything such as devotion, prayer, or fasting. All of these are all Christian disciplines to be practiced, but they do not have anything to do with bringing righteousness to a person or serving God.
Rev 5:6 (KJV) 6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
John 20:27 (KJV) 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
“A Lamb as it had been slain” Jesus Christ and him crucified is the only body and work that God will accept, and no other offering a believer will do will God even respect. We must put all of our faith exclusively in the Lamb AND his work.