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God cares about your Heart

Filed Under: Luther's Devotions

This is the message that you heard from the beginning, that
we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and killed his brother.
And why did he kill him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's were righteous.


1 John 3: 11-12.


What offense had godly Abel committed against his brother to be so hated? He had regarded that brother as the first-born,
had done him all honor and loved him as became a brother. He was easily satisfied, desiring simply the grace of God. He prayed for the future seed, for the salvation and happiness of his parents, his brother and the entire human race. How could
Cain be so unmerciful and inhuman to murder his own flesh and blood? The answer is found in the fact that the devil had filled Cain's heart with pride and vanity over his birthright. He considered
himself a man of distinction, while his brother was nothing. His heart is empty of true brotherly love. He cannot
endure God's display of favor toward his brother, and will not be moved by the Warning from God to humble himself and seek
God's grace. Anger and envy possess him so that he cannot tolerate his brother alive. He becomes a murderer, and then
goes his way as if he had done right. This is what John means
when he says that Cain had no other cause for his crime than that his works were evil and his brother's righteous.
Similarly that obedient daughter of Saint Cain, the world,
hates the Christians; and for no other reason than the Christian's
love and goodness of heart. In this man Cain is pictured the
world in its true characteristic colors; in him its true spirit stands reflected. On the other hand poor, worthless Abel well
represents the obscure little brotherhood, the Church of Christ.
She must yield to Cain, the lord, the distinction of being everything before God. He feels important in his imagined dignity and thinks that God cannot but favor and accept his offering rather than that of his brother.
Meanwhile pious Abel goes his way, meekly suffering his brother's contempt. He yields him the honor and beholds no
consolation for himself aside from the pure mercy and goodness
of God. He believes in God and in such faith he performs his
sacrifice as a confession of his gratitude.

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