The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 3:14, “For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” He says that we share in Christ, if our faith in Him is firm to the end. Thus, the sign of a true follower of Christ is faith that endures to the end. It is enduring faith, not short-lived faith. In Hebrews 11, the writer explains what this enduring faith looks like.
Last time, we learned the first three attitudes of enduring faith. By attitude, I mean the way of thinking of a person of faith. What does a person of faith think? First, faith claims the future in the present. Second, faith sees the invisible things of God. Third, faith reveres God’s warning.
In what follows, we shall learn the next three attitudes of faith.
“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks” (Heb. 11:4). The point of this text is that by faith, Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice to God than Cain. God commended Abel’s faith by accepting his sacrifice. Since God commended Abel’s faith, he was considered righteous. Abel’s sacrifice therefore is the demonstration of his faith. (Dwight Pentecost)
Genesis 4:1-7 reads,
And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.
What is Abel’s attitude of faith? It is the attitude of wanting to fulfill God’s requirements. God required animal sacrifices in worship (Lev. 5:11; 14:22). The writer of Hebrews calls it as a “more acceptable sacrifice” (ESV) or “better sacrifice” (NASB, NIV). The Greek word is polus which means “much.” (Gingrich) In this context, it means, “much value.” Abel offered a more valuable sacrifice to God. Abel wanted to satisfy what God required. Abel wanted to obey God. Thus, it is not Abel’s animal sacrifices that God valued. Rather, God valued Abel’s faith that made him offer animal sacrifices.
This is an attitude of a person of faith. You want to satisfy what God required. You want to do what God wants you to do. You want to follow God’s will.