The Faith of Abel

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4).

Gospel simplicity is succinctly set forth in Hebrews 11:4. Abel’s faith was in what the firstlings of his flocks pointed to. Here is the simple gospel of Christ. Abel’s acceptance before God was conditioned solely on the sacrificial Lamb; Cain’s conditioned on his own efforts. But despite this simplicity it is of longstanding tradition for many God-haters to assert (in effect) that the true believer’s regenerate life of faith first emulates Cain’s faith and then later “grows into” Abel’s faith (this “growth into Abel’s faith” is alleged to occur in this life, or if not, later in heaven).

2 John 1:9 teaches that those who transgress or who do not abide in the “doctrine of Christ” are unregenerate. The doctrine that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception is a doctrine that indicates ignorance of Christ being the end of the law for righteousness (Romans 10:1-4). Those who assert that the Just God and Savior died for everyone without exception are not even attempting to use the language of pretended orthodoxy! This is why “Arminians” are an Arian analogue. For what Arians are to the Person of Christ, Arminians are to the Work of Christ. Of course, there are Calvinists aplenty who ALSO believe in a “christ” who cannot save.

Many who identify as Calvinist or Reformed contradict Romans 10:1-4 by their insidious irenicism that proudly asserts “the lie that those who perish denying the doctrines of the gospel will finally accept them in heaven” (CCF VII.B). This Reformed Irenicism beams brightly in the paragon of porneia, Charles Hodge. Hodge’s flagrant and dishonest dealing with the words of Schleiermacher is a concrete example of eisegetical-shoehorning and spiritual fornication.

“For this reason, coming into the world, He says, Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but You prepared a body for Me. You did not delight in burnt offerings and [sacrifices] concerning sins. Then I said, Lo, I come, [in the] heading of the Book it was written concerning Me, to do Your will, O God. Above, saying, You did not desire nor were pleased [with] sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [sacrifices] concerning sins, (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, Lo, I come to do Your will, O God. He takes away the first in order that He may set up the second; by which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.And indeed every priest stands day by day ministering, and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But He, offering but one sacrifice for sins, sat down in perpetuity [at the] right [hand] of God, from then on expecting until His enemies are placed as a footstool of His feet. For by one offering He has perfected in perpetuity the ones being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:5-14).

A body prepared, an efficacious sacrifice, a sweet-smelling savor (Ephesians 5:2). The offering of the God-Man Mediator is the SOLE ground of God’s favor. If you believe this offering of the body of Jesus Christ was made for everyone without exception then you’ve been “sanctified” through your father Cain’s rejection. For Cain offered the fruit of his own efforts, while Abel the firstlings of his flocks and of their fat (Genesis 4:4). Those who believe that Jesus died for everyone without exception are Cain; and the ones believing that the Lamb of God makes the ultimate difference between salvation and damnation are Abel.

Many Calvinist-Reformed persons have called “gracious-enablement” a “non-meritorious condition.” They think calling them non-meritorious will actually make them “non-meritorious.” Just think about it. Anybody can make ANYTHING a condition and then call it “non-meritorious” in an attempt to repel the charge of conditionalism or works-righteousness. They could say that making a trip to Geneva is an instrumental condition of salvation but that it’s “non-meritorious” because Jesus Christ purchased this condition on the cross and God enables all the elect to meet this condition. Every condition that you could possibly think of, including any of the Roman Catholic conditions, could be labeled as ‘non-meritorious’ — just say it is. But in light of Romans 11:6 and 4:4 is this REALLY grace? Or is it a form of works, and thus, debt? Obviously grace has been stripped of its true meaning.

The Apostles preached salvation conditioned SOLELY on the work of Jesus Christ while certain Calvinist-Reformed preach salvation conditioned on the so-called “graciously-enabled and non-meritorious efforts” of the sinner. Their soteriological views are those of Cain. The true believer’s soteriological views are those of Abel (cf. Hebrews 11:4, 12:24; 1 John 3:12).

Cain’s religion is the religion of unregenerate man –where some work or effort that proceeds from his person forms at least some part of the ground of his acceptance before God. The vainly attempted evasion is to claim that this “effort” (or whatever else it might be called) is the product of “grace.” Roman Catholics claim this. The Calvinist-Reformed claim it too. Even those (e.g., Michael L. Brown) who believe that a truly regenerate believer is able to unregenerate himself and perish, also do this. And they all do it in spite of Romans 11:6. These God-haters vigorously SAY “It’s all of grace! It’s all of grace!” And since they say it, we must therefore accept their ipse dixit. But of course, we don’t accept it because we believe Paul penned Romans 11:6 to preclude such “it’s all of grace!” prefacing. 

“For as many as are out of works of Law, [these] are under a curse. For it has been written, Cursed [is] everyone who does not continue in all the things having been written in the book of the Law, to do them. And that no one is justified by Law before God [is] clear because, The just shall live by faith. But the Law is not of faith, but, The man doing these things shall live in them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us; for it has been written, Cursed [is] everyone having been hung on a tree; that the blessing of Abraham might be to the nations in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:10-14).

But doesn’t Galatians 3:10-14 say “through faith”? and does not this necessarily make faith a condition or prerequisite? No. It doesn’t. Why? Because Paul just finished explaining what the sole and exclusive conditions were. But if one insists on believing that faith IS a condition then they are under a curse and are thus debtors “to do all the Law” (Galatians 5:3; cf. Galatians 3:10).

Christ was made a curse for His people so that they would receive the promise of the regenerating Spirit of God. The Spirit of regeneration precedes faith and produces faith as a FRUIT of salvation, and thus faith is not a condition of or prerequisite to salvation or justification. Instead, faith believes that Jesus Christ met ALL THE CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION. Faith is an immediate and inevitable FRUIT or RESULT of regeneration, and the instrument through which a believer receives the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ and is justified (CCF). This IS the faith of Abel that all true believers without any exception, possess. 

“Because this is the message which you heard from [the] beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain was of the evil one, and killed his brother. And for what did he kill him? Because his works were evil, but the things of his brother [were] righteous” (1 John 3:11-12).