Cain and Abel

In my sermon The Dark Places, I wrote the following:

If Abel can be saved, there is no point in striving to be Cain, and that is unacceptable to Pharisees of every age.

A kind reader suggested that I turned the names around. It happens. Sometimes I turn the names around, especially if I am going too fast.

But in this case I have the names correct. When Cain was born, Eve called him Cain – saying, I have gotten a man from the Lord.

Cain was something. The heir apparent, the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent – in Eve’s mind.

Our natural religion is that God is bound to be impressed with our religious services. Cain was the first Pharisee – no faith in the promise, because he didn’t need it. He was something. He was the man from the Lord.

When Abel was born, Eve called his name Abel – which means vapor, wind, vanity – nothing. He was a nobody. He wasn’t a somebody like Cain. He was the other, he was “whatev’s”

The only thing he had was the he believed the promise – that God would provide a sacrifice for sins.

So when Abel was accepted and Cain was rejected, natural order was overturned, Cain’s religion was proven faulty.

God put Abel over Cain because Abel had something that Cain would never have. The righteousness of Christ imputed to him.

This is why Cain killed him. This is why the cross is an offense. This is why Jesus was crucified.

Cain is the Jew of Romans 10 seeking to establish their own righteousness and not accepting the righteousness which is by faith.

Cain is the Pharisee of Luke 18:

I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
  12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
  (Lk. 18:11-12)

I can see Cain saying the same thing, over his offering of the fruit of the ground:

I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like this nobody over here. I thank thee that I can bring this great offering, this astounding offering, this offering that is the greatest, most wonderful, most supreme offering of all. And that I am not like the loser that is my brother “Nobody”

But God rejected Cain and his offering.

Cain was something, but salvation is only for the nobodies. Christ came only for those who take up their crosses – reckon themselves dead, nobody, poor.

Jesus died for the nobodies.

They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mk. 2:17)

Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. (Lk. 18:22)

So I had the names right. I should have explained it better, I guess.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Cain and Abel

  1. Pingback: The Dark Places | My Only Comfort

  2. Anu Riley

    That was wonderful Pastor:

    “Cain was something, but salvation is only for the nobodies.”

    Everyone’s salvation story is different, but mine very much reflected what you wrote.

    In reality, I was more of an Abel (a nobody), but I thought I was more of a Cain (a somebody, or at least I wanted to be).

    I was a nobody in the eyes of the world: unpopular, unlovely, unloved. I had very little to offer, so things weren’t likely to change for me.

    To be a someday where I lived, it had to be validated by those around you. You’re a somebody to us, so you are a somebody. If not, you’re a nobody.

    “Our natural religion is that God is bound to be impressed with our religious services.”

    The “Pharisees” in my world were the popular kids with all the resources to be popular. They were the ones you wanted to impress. They could label you as “approved and accepted.” And they had all the power to treat the nobodies as if they really ARE nobodies.

    I knew I was a nothing and a nobody, but pride assured me that I would someday become a somebody—or that I already was and I just had to prove it somehow.

    Or, that since I was such a nobody, why bother with the Lord? I’m a nobody and God only deals with the somebodies. The somebodies are the ones that really matter. The popular kids made that clear. They had all the power.

    God, who seemed to have the ultimate power, must think the same way. Nobodies are nothing to Him, so He is nothing to me, the ultimate nobody.

    The popular kids validated those that had the Pharisee type qualities: power, money, a certain outward appearance. Status and success. Those are the ones they validated.

    The Lord is not even 1% interested in such qualities. Those are NOT the ones He validates.

    Until I got that straightened out my head, I was a big crooked mess.

    SO, ironically you mentioned the names needed to be turned around. With me, they WERE turned around. The Cains of the world really did have the upper hand—-in the world’s system, that is. They were declared acceptable–by the world.

    I mistook the Lord as a Cain, when really He is more of an Abel. He cares nothing about what the Cains care for. He puts His seal of approval on the Abels instead.

    • Exactly, Anu. In this world, we are generally nobodies, despised, cast out – as the writer of Hebrews said in chapter 11. “of whom the world was not worthy”
      But we are of great value in the eyes of God, who loved us and gave himself for us.

  3. Anu Riley

    Oh, thought of this real quick:
    God salvation is for the nobodies, no doubt about that. And I can attest to that, being one of the most nobodies of nobodies.

    However, in being born again—I’d say I truly felt like a somebody, for the first time in my life.

    However, it was NOT like being a somebody in that I became popular, pretty or pretentious in the way I imagined I would, or wanted to be.

    Being loved, and knowing I was loved made me feel like a somebody. So it had nothing to do with how I perceived myself.

    In the eyes of many, I probably was STILL a nobody. If I had had any stock in their sight, it plummeted.

    And I wasn’t much different than I had been previously. I still looked and very much still felt like a nobody. Undoing my former identity was not going to happen overnight. It is still not a finished work.

    But knowing you are loved by Him changes everything. It makes you feel like a someday, (in my case) for the first time.

    • In God’s eyes, we are of great worth! His image is restored in us and we are being conformed to His image – meaning that we often suffer the same way the he suffered. But we are greatly loved by God. His own special treasure.

      • Helovesme

        That’s an amazingly good point. We often forget that He Himself was very much treated as a nobody as well. So He knows the pain of being overlooked or ostracized very well.

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