Solomon Peas was an Englishman who did what all good men hope to eventually do. He died and went to Heaven. Someone in his family must have had quite the sense of humor. When the funeral was over and the tombstone was completed his epitaph was found to read:
“Beneath these clouds and beneath these trees
Lies the body of Solomon Peas
But this ain’t Peas – it’s just the pod
Peas shelled out and went to God.”
A more inspiring epitaph is found for a man named Abel:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report…
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”
Abel lived a life of faithfulness and by his life, a dead man is able to speak. Long after your tongue has grown silent, communication continues.
What is your life communicating? Does your life speak blessings or cursings?
- Abel speaks about a life of faith.
“Now faith” is a response to God and His will for our lives. Genuine faith is more than believing the Bible is reliable. It is a thorough response to the Gospel. Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, conquered death and the grave, arose triumphantly and is alive forevermore.
“Now faith” unto salvation is like this. If I stand on the first floor of a skyscraper and I want to go to the very top, I press the elevator button. I believe the elevator is the answer. It arrives and the door opens. I’m now presented with what I believe will take me all the way to the top – IF I will step into it. When I do, my faith in that elevator has become not only the object of my confidence but my personal reality.
In the same way, your confidence in Jesus Christ is your reality for salvation when you exercise “now faith.” This is accomplished by stepping into His finished work of full salvation as your only way to right standing with God.
“By faith Abel” lived for God and he encourages you to be saved and live for Him too.
- Abel speaks about faith and worship.
Genuine faith and real worship are inseparable. Because he was a man of faith, Abel worshipped God. Genuine faith, like genuine love, will find genuine expression.
Believing that “He is,” Abel sought both the presence and pleasure of God. Real faith actively worships God knowing that “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
Abel worshiped God. In worship, we assign the highest value to the One who is of supreme worth. Do you worship Abel’s God? Some people worship their work. Some people worship their favorite sports. Some people worship their loved ones.
“By faith Abel” encourages you to express your faith through genuine worship of the One true and living God.
- Abel speaks about faith, worship, and excellence.
The writer of Hebrews is drawing from the Genesis account and Holy Spirit inspiration. We learn that Abel worshiped God with excellence.
Abel thought about his offering. With the highest part of his mind and the deepest part of his heart, Abel brought “a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.”
Abel was not seeking a cheap way to gain favor with God. He brought his very best in faith as a response to God.
“By faith Abel” gave God his very best and so should you.
- Abel speaks about the possibility of divine approval.
By faith Abel, “obtained a good report.” His righteousness is inspiring. Even though he was born under the fresh curse of sin here is a man that is able to please God.
God testified about Abel! Every believer can know God’s approval.
In contrast, Cain points out the possibility of God’s disapproval. His offerings were not made in faith and his life did not bring heartfelt worship. For without faith it is impossible to please God. Like Cain, you can fail to please God.
Let me be clear. Your thoughtless and careless worship does not receive God’s approval. You cannot go through the motions of religion while mistreating others and receive God’s approval. Your gifts and service that you give grudgingly do not receive God’s approval.
BUT, Abel assures us that we can please God.
“By faith Abel” expressed his faith as genuine worship with excellence and God’s approval was upon his life.
However, Abel was the first recorded homicide. Cain killed Abel.
But, it does not matter when you die. What really matters is that your life has the approval of God.
Approved by God! That’s the epitaph for which you should be striving. Live for God by faith and die for God in the faith.
Have you heard what God is saying to you through Abel today? Trust God with all that you are and all that you have. Give Him your best if you want to experience His best.