Cain and Abel give us examples of humanistic religion and the Christian faith. While Cain demonstrates a humanistic faith and life, Cain represents faith in God and righteous living. It shows by what they love, who they serve, what they think, and how they feel. Abel loves God and is happy to bring God his best gift…made with his own hands. While Cain’s gift might have looked good, God sees the heart. God had respect and regard for Abel’s sacrificial gift, but not for Cain’s. Why? We can see by looking closely at Cain’s reactions.
Cain is indignant and angry. He is insulted! He expected with great confidence in himself for God to be impressed with the good work of his hands. He does not humble and ask God concerning the issue. His next response is to LOOK sad and depressed. Understand, he was making a show for others too. He is in self-pity at best, and desires sympathy by manipulation at worst ….to demonstrate supposed sadness that God did not regard him. What pride and self-centeredness…poor me. He still had pride and confidence in his own good works!
When God comes to ask questions that Cain might examine himself and with warning speaks the truth in love, Cain does not repent or heed God’s loving warning. And later when faced with the consequences of killing Abel, he is in fear, only thinking of himself and that his occupation is ruined and that someone might kill him. You can read all about this in the Genesis 4 message. Do you see how Cain’s faith was in himself and his works….full of pride and self will…thus humanism. It is not that he did not believe God exists….he knew God exists….he just did not have a heart for God. Cain had a heart for self! Abel was righteous…meaning in right love heart relationship with God; and it was resulting in him growing into being and doing right. Abel had the real true Christian worldview.
It also reminds me of many of Jesus parables. Remember the parable about the tax collector and the Pharisee while in prayer? The tax collector prayed from his heart and asked for saving relationship, humbling himself and knowing he was not worthy. The Pharisee bragged about all his good works and good character. Jesus said that the tax collector was heard.
Also, notice who is blessed in the beatitudes (Matthew 5).
Remember Ephesians 2: 8-9…saved by grace through faith, not our own works that anyone should boast. Remember that pride goes before a fall. Pride in what I can do or what man can do will always result in humanistic faith…whether you believe God exists or not. We must have living faith in Jesus! Trusting him so that we have real relationship with Him and follow Him….live with Him.
Now, remember the parable of the 10 virgins? Read Matthew 25: 1-13. All 10 virgins believe the Bridegroom exists and is coming soon. They were all waiting. All fell asleep. When the announcement of the Bridegroom coming was sounded they were all awakened and surprised. BUT, only 5 virgins had enough oil in their lamps. The 5 who did not have enough wanted the ones with full lamps to share. BUT, this oil cannot be shared. Each person needs to get their own oil!
Here is a new revelation for me…..the unprepared virgins went to the world market to get more oil. This reveals their hearts…when they make the wrong move. When they came back hoping to enter into the wedding feast, Jesus tells them, “I do not know you” and closes the door.
What? I always wondered how that could be grace or even fair! Now, I know in part. Those virgins went to the wrong place to get oil!!! They went back to the world’s market!!! We can be rich with the world’s oil and riches, but it does not get us into salvation. Consider Revelation 3: 14-22 and the lukewarm church. They had the wrong riches (oil) and the wrong kind…it would never be enough…they needed to buy oil from Jesus! The right oil does not come from the hand of man. How do you get the right oil….From Jesus…and then He sent His Holy Spirit to show us and fill us!
The 5 foolish virgins were focused on the world, what they could do, or what others could do for them. They were accustomed to buying from the world system or earning it themselves. They were “filled” with the oil of the world….and that was not enough and never will be enough. They had humanistic religion…..I will please God with my good works and still live the way I want to live in the world. They may have been hypocritically confessing with their mouths, but their hearts were not right.
The 5 wise virgins had living faith in Christ and were full of the inspiration and training of the Holy Spirit. They were prepared…even when they were having restful sleep. The Bridegroom is already their focus and their oil source! They have love relationship, by dying to self and living unto Him. He knows them and they know Him. The wedding and the attendants are prepared! Their lamps are full of oil.
It is not enough to know that Father, Son Yeshua Jesus, and Holy Spirit exist. Relationship has two parts…not only mental assent and saying I believe. It has to really be in the heart.
Romans 10: 10-11. (Amplified) “For with the heart a person believes in Christ as Savior resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses his faith openly, resulting in and confirming salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].”
Who/what do you really trust? Who/what do you really depend on? Do you say one thing, but follow another? Is your faith in God alive or dead? Is the faith you really live in action and word…. in God, in yourself, in others, in the world, in mankind? Putting confidence in myself or man or man’s systems is humanistic faith. Who do you really adhere to, trust in, rely on (and let me add love with a full heart and corresponding actions)? That is where your oil really comes from…oil from God or oil from the world and mankind. What kind of oil is your lamp life filled with?
The more that you begin to understand humanism and Christian faith (faith in Christ)….the more you will see it taught throughout the Bible and also observable in the world today….including in our own thoughts and heart. Be discerning. Examine yourself…what oil is in your lamp? Where did you get it from? Be prepared. Prepare the way of the Lord…..first prepare His way in your own heart and life. Be like Abel. Be like Jesus!