God is setting the stage for Jesus to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He was introducing the mankind this principle; there must be the death of an innocent victim if man wishes to approach God. As the author of Hebrews puts it, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb 9:22). The Lord is revealing to us His character. That is, He is holy and His wrath must be satisfied if we, sinners, are to approach Him. Notice that even in man’s sin it was the Lord who took the initiative to pave the way for a continued relationship.
When Adam’s two sons are old enough we see that they are practicing the institution of sacrifice (Genesis 4:1-8). Yet the Lord did not accept Cain’s offering (4:5) but did accept Abel’s sacrifice. Why? There are two main reasons.
- Cain brought vegetables & not an innocent victim. This is why the Bible calls Cain's gift an offering not a sacrifice. You can’t sacrifice potatoes. Remember the principle stated above & Hebrews 9:22. Cain was trying to approach God without the death of an innocent victim.
- Abel offered his sacrifice by faith (Hebrews 11:4).
What is faith? Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). Where did Cain & Abel get this idea to sacrifice an animal to the Lord as an act of worship? They heard it from Adam & Eve who were told by God. Therefore, faith is the acceptance of testimony. Abel accepted the testimony of his parents about how God wanted them to worship. Cain, on the other hand, rejected it and tried to do things his own way. This was important to God for He was teaching the world that an innocent victim could bear the penalty of another man’s sin to make the latter acceptable to God.
The Domination of Sin
Within a few centuries the world was becoming increasingly corrupt. It was so bad that every thought of man was dominated by wickedness (Genesis 6:5). If sin were left unchecked it would thwart the Father’s plan to send the Son into the world to save sinners.
- First, if men continued to grow wicked they would forget the promise of God (Genesis 3:15).
- Second, men can reach such a depraved state in sin that they will not repent (Romans 1:28-32).
- Third, God’s plan was to form a nation to keep His Law & be a people prepared for the coming Messiah. He could not be able do this if the whole world hated holiness.
God hit the reset button on the world to give it a fresh starting point. Remember, His plan is to form a nation who is prepared to bring forth the Messiah. To do that His next step is to pick a man who will father that nation. This man is known as Abraham.