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Ron Bailey has defined faith as, "Right response to revelation." The definition of sin would then be, "Wrong response to revelation." The first act of faith we find recorded after the fall of man is the story of Abel and his offering to God. Hebrews 11 tells us, By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
How was this an act of faith? We know that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Adam was faithful to pass along God's instruction to Eve concerning the Tree of Knowledge, it is reasonable to believe he also taught his sons about the offering for covering God provided in making them skins. Yet, as we will find in Abel and Cain there was a willingness in the one to be 'taught', but the other was not willing. This is important, because these are the beginnings of a long standing biblical concept of being a 'disciple'. A disciple is one that is being taught, but this means the person has to be teachable and walk in what they have learned.
Jeremiah 6:16 reads, Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
This is the attitude of one that is willing to be subject to the Teacher on the one hand and one that is not on the other. Will we or will we not walk in what God reveals? Ask God's way and then walk in it. This is more than head knowledge, it is desire for revelation that we might respond- and this response is 'faith'.
God 'looked' towards Abel's offering, but to Cain He did 'not look' (Genesis 4:5). Recall Isaiah 66:2- "To this man will I look... that TREMBLES at my word." This is the attitude of a disciple. This is what makes a person readied to be restored back into fellowship with God because they make themselves a place of God's rest. This is what Steven pointed out at the end of Act's 7. The Children of Israel received the Law at the hands of angels and did not keep it. They would not walk in the teaching and besides that they were resisting the Holy Ghost.
Was Cain mistreated by God? Will not the Judge of All the Earth do right? If we respond rightly to what God has revealed as His will it is 'faith', but if not it is 'sin'. We have to have a heart to obey God. In Genesis 4:7 God asks Cain, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him." To 'do well' is to rightly respond to what was heard (faith cometh by hearing); anything else is sin- the opposite of faith. This is the first real picture of the basis on which God would 'accept' or 'look to' man and in turn make him/her a place of His rest (Isaiah 66:2).