Friday, July 4, 2008

Two Options

"Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny."

Jesus here is telling us again to send a delegation and ask for terms of peace, because peace will not be attained by struggling or by human effort or from being under the Law. The Law is our accuser (John 5:45) and we will be guilty if we are tried by the Law of God. So He is urging us to come to His grace found in the Gospel. He is threatening people with Grace! And if you understand that, you understand the whole book of Hebrews. I love being threatened to continue in the Grace of God. I love being here! It's amazing. He loves me! I can't stop Him from loving me! The only way that would happen is if I refuse to receive it and go back under trying to earn it.

So we have two options on the day of judgment. We can either choose to come as Cain or we can choose to come as Abel.

The Scripture says that Cain brought to the Lord the fruit of the ground. The result of his own labor and the Lord had no regard for it. But Abel, by faith offered up a more acceptable sacrifice. When Hebrews says "By faith Abel offered up..." it tells me there was a level of uncertainty in offering up his sacrifice to God. He was probably feeling anxious watching Cain work the ground by sweat of his brow in the scorching heat everyday, working hard on his garden to bring fruit for God. He may have even felt foolish or unworthy as he watched his brother working and striving. After all, all he does is sit in the shade and let his sheep eat grass! But, he remembers, "The Lord told me without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. I don't understand this, but thats what He said He wanted and I trust Him that He isn't a liar."

So, in the course of time they both brought their offerings. Cain brought all this beautiful fruit he had worked so hard to produce, but Abel simply brought a lamb sacrifice. And the Lord had regard for Abel's offering but for Cain's He had no regard! What a scandal! No wonder Cain was so po'd! He spent all this time and effort to produce this fruit and God doesn't accept him? And all his brother does is bring a sheep! So his face fell. I feel bad for Cain now that I understand all the hard work he put in in trying to please God with his fruit offering. Back then you didn't have a garden hose either. You couldn't go pick up fertilizer, a tiller or special made tools for gardening from Lowes. He didn't have pesticides either. And anyone who does any sort of gardening knows that it's hard work even with all those tools at your disposal. So it's not hard to understand why Cain was feeling so discouraged and angry.

"But Abel, by faith, offered up a more acceptable sacrifice." It doesn't say by hard work. It doesn't say by struggling and striving and dedicating and re-dedicating. It says "by faith". The lamb sacrifice reminded God of His precious Son. The Only One who is pleasing to the Father. So we see that the only "good" anyone can do is to put their faith in the only One who is good.

1 comment:

Bino Manjasseril said...

WOW! Double Wow! It's awesome Matthew. A very old story but it makes a whole lot of sense now. "By faith" is the KEY. I wish people who work hard to please God knew this. "Without faith it is ..." . It all falls into places, isn't it? "Without shedding of the blood, ...". People do everything under the sun to be forgiven, they miss the meaning of that simple verse.


Thank you for sharing, it encouraged me and I am excited about His grace :)