In this series of teachings, we will delve into the three types of faith. Laying a foundation for this series, Pastor Don takes us into Hebrews, chapter eleven, dealing only at this point with the first four verses:
Hebrews 11:1-4 AMP NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. (2) For by [faith--trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report. (3) By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible. (4) [Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking. [Gen. 4:3-10.]
Pastor Don says, “Perhaps it has escaped you that the first born son of Adam and Eve was declared ‘righteous!’ Although he was a dead man spiritually, his spiritual eyes blinded by the sin of his father, yet he had faith in God!” He goes on to suggest that is somewhat mindblowing, that Abel was declared righteous almost immediately after his parents had thrust humanity into spiritual oblivion. Why was she declared righteous? Because he believed in God, in his mercy, grace and blessing. When Abraham believed God, and was declared righteous, he wasn’t paving the trail for that, rather following in the path of many faith heroes before him.
Pastor Don takes us back to the beginning for some interesting revelation. He takes us back to Eve and the birth of her first child, Cain:
Genesis 4:1 AMP AND ADAM knew Eve as his wife, and she became pregnant and bore Cain; and she said, “I have gotten and gained a man with the help of the Lord.”
Did you catch that? Eve was a woman of faith, trusting in God and believing in His goodness to her! WOW! Eve was also declared righteous, only a short time after she and Adam thrust us into eternal darkness. She knew God from the garden. Now, even though she could not walk and visit with Him in the cool of the day, as she and Adam had previously done, yet she maintained a trust in, and belief in His goodness. She had known God. She knew He was a good God in spite of the judgment she and Adam received. She remembered the tenderness with which Almighty God had killed an animal to teach them to clothe their nakedness. Now in this scripture she is giving glory to Him as her “Lord.” She had her first born son, Cain, by faith, and as we will see she taught her children to worship Him. Next we see how she and Adam passes their believing on to their children.
Gen 4:2-4 AMP And [next] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. (3) And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. (4) And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering, [Heb. 11:4.]
This is our very first scriptural lesson in faith. Perhaps it is why Abel’s faith and resulting righteous standing with God is the very first mention in our Hebrews, chapter eleven, faith lesson:
Hebrews 11:4 [Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking. [Gen. 4:3-10.]
What exactly is Cain “still speaking?” That through the process and product of believing God, faith comes into being, and faith declares us righteous in God eyes. Abel, is God’s witness that even in the fallen state of man, there was still a way to God – it is called “faith!”