It came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. Genesis 4:3-5.
Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam, were unlike in character…. These brothers were tested, as Adam had been tested before them, to see if they would be obedient to God’s requirements. They had been instructed in regard to the provision made for the salvation of the human race. Through the system of sacrificial offerings, God designed to impress upon people’s minds the offensive character of sin and to make known to them its sure penalty, death. The offerings were to be a constant reminder that it was only through the promised Redeemer that men and women could come into the presence of God. Cain and Abel understood the system of offerings which they were required to carry out. They knew that in presenting these offerings they showed humble and reverential obedience to the will of God and acknowledged faith in, and dependence upon, the Savior whom these offerings typified.
Cain and Abel erected their altars alike, and each brought an offering. Cain thought it unnecessary to be particular about fulfilling all the requirements of God; he therefore brought an offering without the shedding of blood. He brought of the fruits of the ground and presented his offering before the Lord; but there was no token from heaven to show that it was accepted. Abel entreated his brother to come into the presence of God only in the divinely prescribed way. But his remonstrances made Cain all the more determined to carry out his own purpose. As the eldest, he felt above being advised by his brother, and despised his counsel.
Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock, the very best, as God had commanded him. In the slain lamb he sees by faith the Son of God, appointed to death because of the transgression of His Father’s law. God had respect to Abel’s offering. Fire flashes from heaven and consumes the sacrifice of the penitent sinner.
Cain now has an opportunity to see and acknowledge his mistake…. And He who is no respecter of persons will have respect to the offering of faith and obedience….
Abel’s offering had been accepted, but this was because Abel had done in every particular as God required him to do.—Signs of the Times, December 16, 1886.