The character of your life will determine the legacy you leave to others.
Bible scholar James Moffatt wrote, “Death is never the last word in the life of a . . . man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world. He may leave something that will grow and spread like a cancer or a poison, or he may leave something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessing.”
That’s illustrated in the lives of Adam and Eve’s first sons: Cain and Abel. Cain was an unrighteous man who sought to please God by his own efforts. God rejected him (Gen. 4:5). Abel was a righteous man who worshiped God in true faith. God accepted Him (v. 4).
In a jealous rage, Cain murdered Abel, becoming the first human being to take the life of another. He forever stands as a testimony to the utter tragedy of attempting to please God apart from true faith. For “without faith,” Hebrews 11:6 says, “it is impossible to please Him.” Cain tried and failed—as have millions who have followed in his footsteps.
Abel, on the other hand, was the first man of faith. Prior to the Fall, Adam and Eve had no need of faith in the same way as their descendants. They lived in the paradise of Eden and had direct contact with God. Their children were the first to have need of faith in its fullest sense.
Cain’s legacy is rebellion, heartache, and judgment. Abel’s is righteousness, justice, and saving faith. His life proclaims the central message of redemption: righteousness is by faith alone.
What legacy will you leave to those who follow? I pray they will see in you a pattern of righteousness and faithfulness that inspires them to follow suit.
Suggestions for Prayer
• Praise God for righteous Abel and all who have followed his example.
• Ask Him to guard you from ever rebelling against His Word.
For Further Study
Read Genesis 4:1-16 and 1 John 3:11-12.
• What was God’s counsel to Cain after rejecting his offering?
• Why did Cain kill Abel?
• How did God punish Cain?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187