By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Imagine you are walking around town, and you see a crowd gathered underneath a building. There are firetrucks all around, and smoke is pouring out the windows. Everybody is pointing up to the sixth-floor ledge where somebody is standing. The firefighters are below with a safety net, and they are urging the man on the ledge to jump before he is destroyed by the fire. Finally, he takes a leap of faith, and he lands safely in the net. Was he saved by his jump? No, he could have splattered on the concrete below. What saved him was the net. But as long as he was standing on that ledge, the net did him no good. The firefighters offered him a provision for salvation, and he took advantage of that provision by faith–by believing the net would hold him.
That is a great illustration of how you and I are saved. When we trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are saved by God’s grace, which we receive through faith. Ephesians 2:8 says, “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Faith is integral to salvation.
We see that kind of faith in the story of Cain and Abel. Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.”
Cain and Abel were the first two children of Adam and Eve. God said to them, “I want you to bring a sacrifice to Me,” and prescribed the kind of sacrifice He wanted. Abel was a shepherd, so he brought one of his animals; Cain was a farmer, and he brought some of his produce. The Bible says Abel’s offering was better than Cain’s. Why? Some people say, “It was about their attitude. Abel brought his sacrifice as an act of love, but Cain brought his to satisfy a religious ritual.” That sounds good, but it is wrong. The fact is, God had prescribed a blood sacrifice of an innocent animal, which would foretell the coming of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who would be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Abel, though he did not understand why God gave those specific instructions, obeyed God, and he “obtained the testimony that he was righteous”–in other words, he obtained salvation.
You might be thinking, “How could Abel be saved?” Since the beginning of time, we have all been saved the same way: by God’s grace, through faith, and paid for by Christ’s death on the cross. I like to say that Abel was saved on credit. He believed what God said, and he was saved by God’s grace–just like you and me.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Necessary Ingredient” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org