Who Gets The Glory?

1 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?”  (Genesis 4:1-7)
“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols … For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.”  (Isaiah 42:8 & 48:11)
 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)
Yesterday we began to explore an aspect of the Bible’s teaching which sounds utterly outrageous to our culture. We learned from God’s differing reactions to Cain and Abel’s sacrifices that he rejects any religion which is not centred around the death and resurrection of his Son. Today we are going to explore why it matters so much to God that people believe that his Son Jesus is the only Saviour of the world.

The prophet Isaiah explains that it is all about God’s glory. When Cain brought his sacrifice of vegetables to God, it looked like he was saying sorry for his sins, but in fact he was adding an even greater sin to the pile! He was calling God a liar, since God had declared in Genesis 2:17 that the penalty for sin is always death. He was insulting God by acting as if the work of his own hands could be enough to satisfy the offended holiness of God. That’s the tragedy of the manmade religions of the world. They aren’t just powerless to atone for sin. They actually add sin to sin.

Abel was unlike his big brother. He came before the Lord in great humility. He didn’t really understand why an innocent lamb needed to be sacrificed, but he trusted in the Lord to know why. Abel acknowledged that his sin had offended the holiness of God beyond his own repair, and he looked for the Lord to be his Saviour.

It’s really all a matter of who gets the glory. If we can forge our own way back to God through religious endeavour, then we get the glory. We become little saviours in our own salvation story. But if we can only be forgiven through the death and resurrection of God’s Son, then all the glory goes to him. Cain’s sacrifice represents religion, which is spelled DO, and which adds sin to sin. Abel’s sacrifice represents the Good News about Jesus, which is spelled DONE!
1)   Think about one of your Muslim friends or neighbours fasting during Ramadan. What is commendable about their act of religious devotion? But how are their motives in fasting also deeply offensive to God?

2)   This is not just a Muslim thing. We are warned in Jude 11 that churchgoers can also go the way of Cain too. As Christians, how can we be guilty of similar wrong motives in our own lifestyle towards God?

3)   Take a moment to reflect on the story of your own conversion. How much do you tell it as the story of you finding your way back to God? How much do you tell it as the story of the Saviour coming to find you?
Father God, I confess how easy it is for us to go the way of Cain. I find it easy to view my Christian life as a gift that I bring to you. Help me to grasp that my salvation begins and ends with you, and not with me. I confess that all the faith I have in you, all the experience I have of you, and all the things I do for you, are your work within me. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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