Cain’s offering was unacceptable because of what he offered, because of the nature of his offering; Abel had offered of his flock, had shed blood, a reminder that it is by the death of an innocent substitute that we can draw near to God and be accepted of Him on the basis of the value of the offering. We know from Hebrews 10:14 that this offering is Christ. The fruit of a cursed earth (Gen. 3:17) offered by Cain well represents our efforts and good deeds that sinful man dares to offer in opposition to the perfect work of Christ who shed his precious blood on the cross; these therefore must be rejected. The offering of Nadab and Abihu (Le. 10) was not acceptable either because of the manner in which it was offered, because of the energy used, strange fire, brought to burn the incense. This reminds us that the worshippers God is looking for must not only worship in truth but also in the power and energy of the Spirit (Jn 4:23). The energy of the flesh is not acceptable to Him even if used in service for Him or worship towards Him. Uzziah’s offering (2 Ch. 26:16) was not acceptable because of the one offering it. Only the priests could burn the incense and the king was not a priest – it was presumption on his part. Only the Lord Jesus Christ assumes in his person these two offices of king and priest (Hé. 7). So God looks at what is offered, how it is offered and who offers it. The acceptable offering is centered on Christ, offered by the Spirit, by the born again Christian now made a priest (1 Peter 2:5). Remember the one offering by which you have been perfected forever: Christ who offered, Himself without spot to God, by the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14).
NOTE: All Bible references are from the King James Version unless otherwise specified. All unsigned material is in the spirit of Ecc. 12:11. Send all correspondence, comments, suggestions to: email@example.com
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