If your life were summed up in one sentence, what would it be? A question question posed by Warren W. Wiersbe’s Life Sentences: What Sentence Will Sum Up Your Life?. In it Wiersbe Steps To Get Your Ex Back With You summarizes 63 lives from the Bible in one sentence each. Here’s his summary, and somewhat surprising reflection, on Abel:
Abel - By faith he was commended as a righteous man. -Hebrews 11:4
The most important thing in life isn’t what we think about ourselves or what others think about us, but what God thinks about us. He is the final Judge. When He examines and evaluates our motives, words, and actions, are we commended, as was Abel, or are we condemned, as was his brother Cain? “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at,” God told the prophet Samuel. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
The difference between Cain and Abel
Why did Cain murder his brother? “Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous” (1 John 3:12)… By using the plural “offerings,” Hebrews 11:4 may suggest that [God gave his approval] each time Abel came to the altar; and perhaps each time Cain noticed it, he became angrier and more resentful. What a tragedy to come to worship God and then go away filled with thoughts of murder!
Had you questioned Cain, you probably would have discovered that his theology was fairly sound. He believed in God and believed that God had created all things. He believed that God wanted to receive worship and thanksgiving. He believed that he and his brother were supposed to work and carry their share of the family burdens. But the demons believe in one God, and they aren’t saved; and when they think about God, they tremble — something Cain didn’t do (James 2:19). That’s why James added, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26).
Dead faith is deceptive faith, but it doesn’t fool God. True saving faith makes the believer into a new creation, with a new Master, new motives, new priorities, and new desires to love God and one’s neighbor. Jesus called Abel “righteous Abel” (Matt. 23:35), and John said that Abel’s actions were righteous, so in both character and conduct, he proved to be a righteous man.