Advent 2015: Born Is The King: Day 3

Jesus Is The True & Better Abel


Today's Text: Genesis 4:1-16, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:13

Text: Genesis 4:1-16, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:13

The imagery of sacrifice is all around us.

With the passing of a new season, we watch as death makes way for new life. In winter, the earth dries up and lies dormant in order for spring to birth vibrant greens and all the colors of life in bloom. Even the daily bread we eat is from wheat that has been plucked from the ground, crushed, and made into flour for our life’s sustenance. Out my window in downtown Nashville I see an old office building, vacated long ago, being torn down to create space for something newer and shinier—something people can occupy once again.

The first image of sacrifice in Scripture shows up in Genesis 4, the tragic story of the brothers Cain and Abel. Both make offerings to God. Cain brought Him produce, and Abel brought Him the firstborn of his flock. God is pleased with Abel but not with Cain, not because Abel’s gift was better, but because Cain’s heart was not pure.

God’s favor lies with Abel, and Cain’s response is “furious” and “despondent” (Genesis 4:5). This leads him to murder his brother in the field, Abel’s blood crying out from the ground to God in condemnation of Cain’s act (Genesis 4:10).

An innocent man dies as a consequence of his brother’s sin.

Sound familiar?

In Romans, Paul writes about someone else’s sin: yours and mine. “There is no one righteous,” he says, “not even one… All have turned away” (Romans 3:10,12). Then in verse 21, just when it seems all is lost for humanity, Paul writes two incredibly beautiful words:

“But now…”

The “but now” is hope. The “but now” is the beginning of our new story, as winter is to spring and as grain is to bread. We were sinners who turned away and were called unrighteous, but now we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

In Romans 3, we learn what Jesus’ sacrifice meant for us and means for us still. It can be summed up in three simple yet rich words: justification, redemption and propitiation.

 Justification means we have been made righteous under the covering of Christ: “They are justified freely by His grace…” (v. 24).

Redemption means we have been purchased by Christ and, therefore, are now free. “…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (v. 24).

Propitiation means God’s wrath toward sin has been satisfied by the sacrifice of Christ. “God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood to demonstrate His righteousness” (v. 25).

Abel’s death did not accomplish these things. He was innocent, but he was not without sin. He died, but he did not lay down his life for another. His blood cried out injustice and condemnation for his brother, Cain.

Jesus is the true and better Abel. He was not merely innocent; He was sinless. His life was not taken from Him; He gave it willingly. His blood cries out in satisfaction of justice and for our justification. Christ’s pure sacrifice accomplished what no other could—the full and forever forgiveness of our sin.

The hard earth of winter, the grinding of wheat, the rubble of an old building strewn on the ground—these symbols of sacrifice in our everyday lives are there for a reason. They are a constant living and dying reminder of Christ’s sacrifice, of His blood that bought and brought us new life. They remind us of our freedom. They tell us we are forgiven.

The sacrifice is done. The price? It’s been paid. And it’s all—and always will be—because of Jesus.


  • Does anyone have further thoughts on why God’s wrath can only be satisfied by Jesus’ perfect sacrifice? (Eg and why can’t God just forgive all sin and we be reconciled anyway?) I see that it seems intuitive to the usual sense of justice that sin, hurt and pain can’t be trivialised and need to be paid for because God is a just god but also don’t really feel like I have deep understanding (not saying that I should because we have to trust God with many things, but it is an issue that comes up when talking to non-believers especially as well)

    • Helen

      Or if anyone could point me to resources about this ! :) thanks!!

      • Alex

        Hi Helen! So this is a very complicated question and is very difficult to explain. But I will try to explain and also give you a resource that I think explains it well. You have the right idea. To start you have to understand that God is a completely holy God which means that He can not be around humans who are sinful. So He had to find a way to make us holy. He is also a completely just God which means He can’t just forgive us because we see in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. There is a wage that must be paid in order for us to be holy. Someone had to pay our wage to get to heaven. In the Old Testament animal sacrifices were given to help cover sin but they never paid full price. Only a perfectly holy sacrifice would be able to take our sins so that we could be with a holy God (2 Cor 5:21). It seems like He should just be able to forgive but I think that as humans we don’t fully understand how bad sin really is and it can’t just be forgiven because that it is not justice and God calls for Justice because that is who He is. There is a punishment for sin and that is death. That is why Christ had to come and die. I hope that helps a little. Here is a link to some more information.

        • Helen

          Thank you Alex for you reply and the website, both are very helpful!

    • Jane

      Hi Helen,
      My understanding is that the consequence of sin is death, separation from God. Because God is holy he requires that this debt be paid. He cannot have anyone or anything in his presence that is not holy. E would be destroyed – look at Moses encountering God on the mountain as an example. In the OT, the sacrificial system was designed to restore the people’s relationship with God, to wash them of their sin, in fact it required the sacrifice of an animal (innocent blood) to do so. but it couldn’t do it fully.
      In the NT, we realise that God has sent Jesus to die in our place, taking our sin on him, dying he death that we deserve. (Thus God himself, through Jesus has created a way for us to be reconciled to him, we just need to accept this gift) Then when he rose again, he defeated death, enabling us to be not only reconciled with God, but to receive the gift of eternal life.

      Gosh sorry this is quite long, hope it makes sense!

  • I have ways been confused by this!

  • Has anyone one studied creation in depth? If Adam and Eve and their children were the first family who is it that Cain is afraid to run into that might kill him once he’s banished? Who are these other people and where’d they come from?

    • DréaMarie

      I was wondering the same!

      • Alex

        Well in the story we don’t really know how old Cain and Abel were and we also don’t know how many siblings they had. That being said it is presumed that Adam and Even had more children then Cain, Abel and Seth because they all had to have gotten married and had children. So I have heard it explained (and this is only really one idea) that Cain could have been scared of his siblings that would have wanted to kill him for killing thier brother. Seeing that we don’t know how old the brothers were Adam and Eve may have already had a lot of more children, these two were just thier first children.

        • Shawn

          I can understand that idea. Thanks for sharing.

        • Megan

          Along with that you have to keep in mind that before the flood people lived to be hundreds of years old. Adam and Eve could have had grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and even deeper into the pool. So the earth was populating rapidly, despite only starting with two!

      • Chelsea Roadman

        Great point! Thanks for explaining.

    • Jen

      I have not studied the bible in depth for sure, but I’ve wondered that sand thing too. If found an explanation that makes some sense- although it is an assumption. This is the link:

  • But now!

  • I am so thankful for this devotion! It has renewed my passion for reading the bible. I love that it isn’t just a portion of scripture to read but there is supplemental information explaining the passages and digging deeper… So enjoyable!

  • Can someone show me in scripture why God did not accept Cain’s sacrifice? Perhaps we are left with little info on this topic and He wants us to ask the hard questions and figure it out? I’ve missed it if there is a direct explanation. Thanks!

    • Anna

      Hi Lisa! In Genesis 4:3-4, the Bible says that while Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord, Abel brought the BEST of his FIRSTBORN lambs from his flock. I’ve always assumed and understand that God didn’t accept Cainms gift because it was not the first/best of his crops.

    • Alexandria

      Hello, that is a great question. Here is a revelation that I had about
      it. Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the road to Emmaus disciples He concealed Himseld but taught them from scripture “things concerning Himself”. So it was more important to Jesus for the disciples to see Him in the OT scriptures then to see Him physically. From this story about Cain and Abel, what part points to Jesus? To me it is Abel’s “sacrificial lamb” b/c Jesus is our sacrificial lamb. So Abel instinctively knew that blood needed to be shed in order to approach God. Conversely, Cain was offering something that grew out of the ground which had been cursed by God. From that curse, we were to work the fields by our effort and any fruit from it was from our own works. So Cain was approaching God through things that he grew by his own effort – a picture of self-righteousness. So these are pictures of two different approaches to God. One by Jesus and His Grace offered through His shed blood – Abel’s approach – and the other through self-righteous acts – Cain’s approach.

      • Amanda Parker

        What a great explanation. I always struggled with this scripture as well, why wasn’t Cain’s offering pleasing to God? However…now I understand. Cain was trying to gain God’s approval through his own works, which he produced. Abel could not produce a Lamb on his own, it had to be provided by the hand of God himself. Thank you for sharing your insight into this scripture.

      • Cindi

        That is a great insight Alexandria! It all lines up and makes perfect sense. I think the real question we are asking here is, how am I approaching God and is my “sacrifice” acceptable to Him. Your explanation confirms that our good deeds alone are never enough. It is only by the precious blood of Jesus that any of us are acceptable in God’s sight. Truly, jesus is the greatest gift ever given.

  • Livvy Boeck

    Jesus was not merely innocent-but sinless.

  • Deanna Gallardo

    I am in awe of this community of Christ followers!

  • “But now”……two words that are filled with hope and promise. Thank you Jesus, for your sacrifice so that I can experience a “but now” in my own life

  • Kasey Summers

    But now! Freed! Forgiven! Loved!

  • Paige Fernandez

    So good.

  • “The hard earth of winter, the grinding of wheat, the rubble of an old building strewn on the ground—these symbols of sacrifice in our everyday lives are there for a reason. They are a constant living and dying reminder of Christ’s sacrifice, of His blood that bought and brought us new life. They remind us of our freedom. They tell us we are forgiven.”

    I’ve anyways hated winter. but this way of looking at it will definitely help me to refocus on Christ instead of lack. beautiful. beautiful

  • Melanie Yates

    Melchizedek has always intimidated me but today was like an “AHA” moment in seeing how he gave Abraham a glimpse of Jesus, just as we’ve seem every day in this study so far, glimpses of Jesus in the Old Testament. And even in the here and now, we have these opportunities to see Him, but just like she said, am I looking for something shiny in a bunch of worldly garbage (so easy to do this time of yeAt especially) or am I looking toward the cross, looking for a glimpse of Jesus, for the hope promised in Hebrews, “for REFUGE….to seize the HOPE set before us…as an anchor for our lives…SAFE AND SECURE!” So comforting!

  • Loving the advent series!! So glad a friend suggested this!! Love it! Can’t wait to start the bible in 365 Jan 1st!

  • Jesus paid It ALL, … ALL to Him I owe…..

  • Carissa Cady

    Wow. I agree with Ella. Brilliant. So much in this devotional that goes along with other truths God is speaking in my life. I have never been more thankful for christ’s sacrifice and his grace that has set us free. He is such a gift to be cherished.

  • Amanda Christine

    I am so grateful for these wonderful Advent devotionals, they really do point to Jesus and if is so great to dwell on him! this is what I wrote in my journal as I read day 3:
    if Abel’s blood cried out condemnation when it spilled on the ground, how much more should Christ’s blood have screamed condemnation at me? it didn’t. it should have. I’m guilty, unclean. Each sticky red drop should have wailed and moaned, instead they were mixed with the dirt, formed into mud bricks and made to be home. home and peace and joy and clean comforters and sheets. The Savior used his blood to cleanse my soul, and then gathered the liquid together again, just to wash my feet. “righteous”, “redeemed ” the substance from Jesus’s own veins cried as it trod our unholy ground. I don’t understand. I once was lost, BUT NOW, I’m near, and now I’m found.

  • Ella Naomi


  • Abel I is not the first scriptural sacrifice, the animal killed to cover Adam and eves nakedness is; and it is also a foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice to cover our shameful sin

  • This is probably my favorite devotional from SRT. Love, love, love it!

  • “He gave it willingly.” Wow, that kind of love is immeasurable. Can’t we truly grasp how much we are loved by the the Father and Son? It blows my mind…

  • There was nothing that I can or could have done to make my self righteous. I think that it sometimes is hard for us and others to understand that even in our goodness, this was not enough, therefore the need for the ultimate sacrifice that we may become righteous and that sacrifice was Jesus. Thank you Lord.

  • Stephanie

    Does anyone else find it difficult to truly absorb the depth of Jesus’s sacrifice? I wonder if I will truly ever “get it” in my time on earth.

    • Emma Demonbreun

      You are not alone in this, dear friend! It is a daily prayer of mine that Jesus would make me ever-mindful and ever-grateful of his sacrifice. It is the greatest gift of all and yet we are so desensitized to its true power.

    • Rachel Viergutz

      I hear ya Stephanie! It’s too great for our minds to comprehend most days isn’t it?!

    • Jona

      Completely understand. I pray daily that He would open my eyes to truly truly believe and accept His immeasurable love and gift.

      • Lauren

        I’m with you. I so wish my mind would just expand in order to be able to get this to sink in. It’s too big! Praying for you and me, that we will truly understand it as much as humanly possible in this life.

    • Lauren

      I’m with you. I so wish my mind would just expand in order to be able to get this to sink in. It’s too big! Praying for you and me, that we will truly understand it as much as humanly possible in this life.

  • What a great daily reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin–the torn down, the broken, the hard–healing once for all! All because of JESUS!

  • Very convicting! I’ve never considered the comparison of Abel and Jesus! Praise His grace I once was lost but now am found!

  • I love what you wrote about Jesus blood crying out in satisfaction of justice! I feel like I hear the blood and pain and wounds that cry out to God the injustice that has been committed… But I need to listen deeply for the cry of Jesus’ blood that has already satisfied justice and now offers justification and healing for both the villain and the victim.
    I love that our God hears the cry from both Abel’s blood and Jesus’s blood!

    • Juliefay

      This is a beautiful thought. Jesus’ blood still cries out! Help us hear that cry oh Lord. You are the God who sees.

      • Ana Pryor

        Yes his blood cries for us to draw near. He is constantly crying for my heart. Something I’m afraid I will never fully grasp.

  • Morgan I.

    In Christ, alone even my hope is found.❤

  • In Genesis 4:14 – when Cain is cast out of Eden and says whoever finds me will kill me…how is it so when the only humans on the earth at that time would be Adam, Eve, and Cain?

  • So much insight is given from all of you women. I am thankful that God chooses us instead of banishing us, despite our sin and how we turn away from him he loves us so. The song “How He Loves” kept coming to mind as I read through all these comments.

    • Lacey

      This is such a beautiful song – so needed to hear it…thank you for sharing :)

  • “…and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Heb12.24

  • But now.
    It’s incredible how those two words change everything. We aren’t enough on our own and we never can be, but He has come and met us in our broken and needy state and finished what we didn’t even know how to start. Thank you Jesus.

    • Kaitlin

      Thank you for that wording. Thank you for that thought. We didn’t even know how much we needed him but he came anyway.

  • Chelsea Bass

    My sense of justice initially cries out, “How could God have allowed this to happen to Abel?” That same sense of justice is quickly silenced and turned to thankfulness and humility when I insert the name of Jesus instead of Abel. How good is our God who lays down his life for our sin? I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand how God could have given up his beloved Son for someone as wretched as I, but I will praise him for that goodness!

  • SRT folks, I’ve never posted, but just wanted to say thanks for this Advent devotional and your work/service in general! I almost didn’t start the advent plan because I JUST now caught up with the Bible in a Year plan I’ve been following with y’all. Had a crazy October and basically did all of October’s reading along with November to catch up! I’m so determined to complete that plan that I almost thought adding in the Advent study may be too challenging. I’m so glad I added it today though. It’s just what I needed to tie together what I’ve read all year, and it will be so meaningful to celebrate Christmas and the end of 2015 after reading the Bible through with the SRT community!

  • Love these connections between OT and NT. I feel as though they were never described to me in this way before. Maybe they were and I just wasn’t listening? This has been a recurring theme in my studies lately (sermons, other devotionals, even just conversations with others).
    I pray that I can convey these messages to my children and other loved ones so that they make sense to them rather than seeming disjointed as they did to me as I was growing up. What a blessing it is to know that we all have the opportunity to continue to grow spiritually, though!

  • Cain’s lack of love for his brother, not his failure to give God PDA, is what leads to his separation from God. This devotion today is so thought-provoking and convicting!

  • D.Anunda

    But now Jesus

  • SRT -“Christ’s sacrifice, of His blood that bought and brought us new life. They remind us of our freedom. They tell us we are forgiven.”

    Forgiveness and grace given to us freely through Jesus. Grace is still something that is hard to grasp because I know how undeserving fI am. It seems to be to good to be true!! I am glad that it’s still too good to be true because I want to embrace grace and not become complacent.

  • But now…..

  • dulciMer

    Thank you, Andrea for helping us to see Christ in these Old Testament stories. His plan was being depicted from the beginning of Genesis and it increases my faith in the plan He is working in my life. Praise be to Christ, the spotless sacrifice for another’s (my) sin!

  • All in Jesus.

  • Remember: Sacrifice. Purchased. Freedom. Forgiveness.

  • Meghan Reed

    What a sweet reminder that God’s power is limitless. Even with the God-breathed words of “but now..”, we are reminded of our eternal hope! Love it! ❤️

  • Gosh, I am so glad I decide to do this series! So much depth!

  • There is so much hope for our future because of the life and death of Jesus. We don’t have to live according to our past or what we have learned from this life. 1 Peter 1:18, 19 “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”

  • I live in Australia and I think the app here is a day behind. Is there any way to fix this?

    • Jess

      Yep it is because we’re in front of them time wise :) I just set the devotions back a day so I can still do them in the mornings.

  • I love how the story of Jesus Christ plays out all around us, everything fits together so perfectly! His story is perfection for a lost world!

    • She Reads Truth

      Me too, Sharon! Excited to keep reading with you!


  • How was Cain’s heart not pure with his offering to the Lord? Was it because he ended up killing his brother?

    • Brittany

      I wondered this as well. I often felt sorry for Cain. This made me stop to realize that God knew something deeper that wasn’t included in the story. He knows our hearts. Just like Ananias and Sapphira- to those who didn’t know the sin behind the giving, would’ve just assumed they were bringing the full tithe and also assume that maybe God just liked Abel better than Cain.

      • Maegan

        I am just so grateful for my Jesus today…. I need him so and I feel him with me while I read this…. Thanks you Lord

      • Monica Mckinny

        Awesome realization Brittany! He does know our hearts so well! He warned Cain just as He often warns us against temptation.

    • Brittany Sandeno

      I think how Cain reacted shows us that his intentions must not have been pure. If the offering had been from a pure heart, he would be not have been bothered by what his brother’s offering was. I think his reaction shows he was jealous. He sacrificed to God because he believed it made him seem ‘holy.” He was more concerned with God being pleased with him than God receiving glory. That’s my interpretation, anyway. I had to really think about it and reread the passage. Hope this helps!

      • Lauren

        Wow, I love what you wrote here: “He was more concerned with God being pleased with him than God receiving glory.” This is an excellent, convicting reminder. The Cain and Abel scenario is so complex! On the surface, it seems as if Cain is faithful to a fault, concerned solely with pleasing God by any means, but truly, he would have served God better by humbling himself and simply loving his brother. What an echo to the New Testament!

    • Vanessa

      I believe it was more that Abel was taking the best of what he had to offer to the Lord, whereas Cain just brought some of his harvest, and he wasn’t fully giving/sacrificing to God. Also his first instinct was to kill Abel when God was more pleased with him than Cain. That shows us that Cain probably did not have a pure heart before hand if that was his first instinct to get revenge on his brother.

    • Leah

      But even in the tragedy of the first murder, there is redemption. God marks Cain as his own, despite his sin, and promises to shield him from any who would do him harm. God’s grace is ever-present.

    • Cathy

      I often wondered about this scenario & was taught in a bible study years ago that during this time they lived under the Jewish law which required a blood sacrifice to the Lord and Cain did not offer a blood sacrifice so that is why his was rejected. He failed to do what was required to do. Anyone else have any insight regarding this?

  • This is a new parallel for me—Abel and Jesus. Such a beautiful comparison, Andrea! We fight death, resist endings with all that is within us. Jesus accepted death willingly on our behalf. He asks us to do the same; to die to self so that we might Live.

    • Rebecca Bernard

      This has been a new parallel for me as well!

    • Laura

      Amen, Kelly! Our whole lives are continual death and resurrection, but boy how we fight it. I want to learn to suffer/die better every.time.

    • ~ B ~

      Hey you! It is a beautiful comparison! ….die to self so that we might live! YES! ~ B

  • I love the Adam/Abel comparison to Jesus we’ve seen in this study so far. What an eye-opening viewpoint!

  • In this season of Advent, I pray to listen and lean in to God. I rely on anxiety-I feel stress well up inside of me and lean on that. I turn to the God of Google and search for answers there. So I pray to cease this and realize that a God of love and abundance and provision loves me. I pray to lean on Him fully.

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying with you, sweet friend! Thanks for joining us!


  • But now! Amen. So much power and inspiration in those words

  • Becca Bailey

    I was reading the Scripture, condemning Cain in my mind for being so reckless and sinful…then as I read the devotional I realized “I’m Cain. I’m the reckless and sinful one who caused the death of the innocent Jesus.” Wow, what a powerful picture of Christ’s sacrifice!

  • Never thought about examples of sacrifices being all around me. Game changer.

  • I love the words “but now” They bring me peace. Because of “but now” I’m created new and stand in the very center of God’s grace! :)

  • Learning so so much and it’s only day 3!! Thank you SRT!

  • Ruth Altier

    Jerrica-That also stood out to me too! How God was still gracious to Cain.

  • Jerrica L

    I also found it so comforting that even though Cain never expressed guilt, shame, or remorse for his sin, God was still so compassionate by giving him protection despite his sin. So undeserving, we are so undeserving of His compassion and forgiveness… Oh He loves us!

  • Ruth Altier

    Gen. 4:6 “sin is crouching at the door, desiring you, but you must rule over it.”
    Sin has such harsh consequences-cursed, alienated, banished, condemned, restless wandering…
    BUT FAITH IN JESUS BLOOD gives new life consequences…we are: justified freely, given grace for our trespasses, redeemed, declared righteous, brought near to God, it is open for all, and it is itself the Lord’s presence. Because of HIS death it brings way for our NEW LIFE. We were once DEAD in our trespasses and sins, but because of Christ Jesus we are made ALIVE.
    Abel’s death didn’t accomplish justification, redemption, or propitiation for my sins. Christ’s pure sacrifice (which HE gave willingly) accomplished what no other could, FULL AND FOREVER FORGIVENESS OF MY SINS!

  • I have always been taught the first sacrifice was the animals God used to create the coverings for Adam and Eve. But these are the first humans….I am continually thanking God for His grace and mercy towards me and continuing to work in me especially with helps available like this devotional.

  • This study is really great, comparing OT alongside NT! Thank you all for the work that goes into putting the Truth in our hands. ❤️

  • Sarah Gallagher

    Amen to hope and comfort in knowing that we’ve been paid for through a free and beautiful gift of sacrifice! I really like the comparisons with Jesus to the OT! Thanks SRT!

  • Meaghan Malone

    As I sit here, feeling unwell and drowning in papers, I am thankful something as simple as “but now” can bring this heart such reprieve. Not for a second are we forgotten.

  • “But now…” What powerful words that would be so easy for me to overlook. My eyes are being opened in a new way through these comparisons with the OT. Thank you, SRT, for your words this Advent season!

  • Becky Jacobs

    In Genesis 4:16 it says that “Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod.” – what do you think that means that he left the presence of the lord? The lord’s protection was still on him though!

    • Dianne

      Maybe his sin – murdering Abel – separated him from God’s presence, as does ours. But it would seem his heart isn’t repentant or changed, so he remained separated from His presence. Just a thought.

    • Pam B

      Matthew Henry commentary says this: “He obediently submitted to that part of his sentence by which he was hidden from God’s face; for “he went out from the presence of the Lord”, that is, he willingly renounced God and religion, and was content to forgo its privileges, so that he might not be under its precepts. Cain went out now from the presence of the Lord, and we never find that he came into it again, his comfort.”

  • Love this analysis of Old Testament individuals in the context of Christ’s fulfillment.

  • Caroline @ In Due Time

    “Christ’s pure sacrifice accomplished what no other could—the full and forever forgiveness of our sin.” Yes and AMEN! Thank you Lord for your sacrifice!!!

  • Temme Martin

    I love it

  • Jesus is better!!!

  • This is my first advent devotional and WOW! It’s amazing to see how there were so many that had similarities to Jesus but Jesus was complete because he is fully without sin. It makes my thought of Jesus so much more powerful. I was blown away at how it says that God’s wrath for sin was finished when Jesus died. It makes what happens in the world today- the bad more clearly be seen as what it truly is and not a revenge plot from God.

    • She Reads Truth

      So glad you’re joining us, Tasha! Excited to spend Advent with you.


  • The Bible has to be the most epic drama ever recorded in our messy human existence! Jesus is for sure the true & better Abel, and we are SO the Cain. We may not be banished in exile for our sins anymore, but sin is certainly still “crouching at the door” and it sure does separate us from God and all His goodness if we let it. And we all have a daily choice to “rule over it” (v.7) …before it rules over us & causes us do unthinkable things. I’ve never killed a man, but I can still relate to Cain. So many times my offering was in place but my heart and intentions were anything but pure. So many times I’ve passed the buck — “Am I my brother’s keeper?” — But God! In all His great mercy and love He picked a spotless man, His only son, to die where I deserved to hang. “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.” (Romans 5:7). We weren’t righteous. And yet, here we are — paid for, justified, redeemed, wholly loved, undeservedly forgiven. Oh thank you, Lord for this gift!!

  • Diana Becker

    But now-

    Justification- I do not have to, nor should I, attempt to justify myself. Instead I should live with HIS justification covering me.

    Redemption- I am incapable of doing enough to counteract my own past, BUT (JESUS) NOW, He has redeemed me. I am a new creation, free of a sinful nature, and my TRUE IDENTITY and NATURE is in CHRIST.

    Propiation- I do not have to “do” anything. God has done all for me. I can just live in this, without “works” or “acts”. I can be free of guilt and shame. I can live a life that is free to be happy and enjoy all of the GOOD things HE has planned for me.

  • “But now” is a good place to settle today.

  • Sonja Cox

    But now in Christ Jesus-you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. ephesians 2:13 Jesus is the true and better Abel. We are all like Cain; marked for exile and far off from God! Cut off! Alienated from God!! But abel’s blood could not make what Cain did right! No, it only condemned Cain! And we too cannot make us right before a holy God! But God, through Jesus’s blood justified, redeemed and satisfied the wrath of God! So now, we who believe have been brought NEAR to God! Once far away; now near by the blood of the Messiah! Amazing Grace!!
    Love this!!!

    • Kylee

      Such amazing grace — thank you for sharing your heart today Sonja, it definitely speaks to me!!

  • Haileyblackmer

    As a person that doesn’t big deep into the Old Testament often I am learning so much in this advent season! I never realized just how much Jesus is present in the words of the OT. However I learned today that Jesus is very present and just like we learned yesterday he was never our plan B but always our plan A!

    Thank you Lord Jesus for loving me…even when I struggle to realize that you are standing beside me. Your grace and blessing are more then I deserve. You are my father, my love, and forever my Christ❤️. I love you! In your name, Jesus name, Amen.

  • Lord, thank you for the gift and sacrifice of Jesus. The price of my sin has been paid. No longer do I pay the price for my selfishness, for my unkind words, my jealous thoughts, my judgmental attitude and my impatience. Jesus paid it all. He purchased me, redeemed me and satisfied God’s wrath toward my sin. I am in good standing and will never be cast off. I cannot be plucked out of God’s hand. He is mine and I am His. Always and forever. All this through a baby boy born dependent and helpless so long ago….yet by God’s design and provision, He paid the price for my sin. Thank you, Jesus, for choosing my salvation in the garden when faced with the reality of suffering. Thank you, Jesus, for not turning away from the pain and sacrifice. Thank you for marking me as REDEEMED. ~GG

    • Sarah Beth

      Amen!!! Thank you for this guide in prayer and thanks. God bless!

  • I am learning so much from this advent study. I’ve never read about advent before. So many lessons. “…but now…” Incredible. Thank you my Lord.

  • rachel marie

    whenever i see the word “but” in Scripture, i pause for a moment before continuing my reading. sometimes i even hold my breath for a second, because i know – something’s about to happen. the story’s going to change. i think nearly every “but” in my Bible is either underlined, circled, or highlighted – maybe even all 3 if it’s a big one! because of this “but” in v.21, i can spend my life here on earth looking forward to when it’s all over, knowing that my life forever after will be spent in heaven with my Savior. the nlt version says, “but now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him…” He’s shown us a way alright – THE One and Only Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    • ~ B ~

      YES! Love this! ~ B

    • Emily

      “I can spend my life here on earth looking forward to when it’s all over, knowing that my life forever after will be spent in heaven with my Savior.” Love this! Thanks for sharing, Rachel!

  • Churchmouse

    As with all of you I am humbled by what Jesus has done for us. How well we are reminded by this day’s Advent devotion! We have indeed glorious news to share to this weary, sin-racked world. We have the “but now” hope. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Oh yes! I have an opportunity and an obligation to tell my brother this good news. Today. Let it be said I shared it today. Amen.

  • I can’t help but use my imagination and think “what if” my name and story were in the Bible. What if my great mistake at the end of my life is recorded: the thing my future family will remember me by? Jesus is the truer and better ME. There will be a redemption story from my life too- I know because I’m alive. I’m just reflecting on how big of a story we all combine to make. He is using every single one of us to reflect His glory. How beautiful and magnificent. Even when we mess up, God still wants us.

  • tears flowing because of the “But now…..”
    Hallelujah for the “But now”!!!!

  • ….because of Jesus. I am struck by the banishment of Cain, for a variety of reasons. One being that he was a living example of God’s grace, mercy and at the same time law. He was forced to live in exile, marked by God in a way that made his example of sin known to many. God was making a statement of His power in His mark upon Cain and forever removing him from his family and his community … ostracizing him entirely. Cain was an example. How many times a day are we Cain and yet God in His great mercy over us never marks us for removal …. because Jesus. Our selfishness and rash decisions, our emotion run reactions will never separate us and cast us east of Eden … because Jesus. Our lack of faith, lack of trust and fear will never mark us condemned … because Jesus. We deserved death, we deserved removal, we deserved wrath and God in His great love over us sent Jesus, ending law over our lives and hanging a banner of love instead …. because Jesus! So overwhelmed and thankful this morning for Christ’s great sacrifice, that I’m not a woman marked for exile, cast out by her choices, but instead a woman wrapped in a royal robe of grace, mercy and love … because Jesus!!!! ~ B

    • Lyle

      So thankful for the mercy of God…because Jesus! Writing those two words on the chalkboard in our kitchen today. Thank you, B.

    • Ashley Whitlinger

      Thank you so much for this beautiful response to today’s reading….just what my soul needed!

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Because Jesus………so powerful…..sometimes it just seems so big, so unfathomable….this love He has for us……almost hard to accept. We try to put rules on Him….but you are so right B…..we are living under a banner of love. Wow!!!! What a powerful thought to keep in mind as we move thru our day. Can we too give and live love freely?????

    • Kylee

      Because Jesus, yes B!! “God never marks us for removal”, & i’m so thankful for that.

    • Emily

      Writing these words down as a sweet reminder of God’s grace and love – because Jesus. How great those two words are. Thank you for your words today, B.

    • Dianne


    • Andrea

      “How many times a day am I Cain?” Thank you for what you’ve written, it’s incredibly thought provoking and challenging!

  • Denise Sam

    This was so beautifully written. Thank you for your gifts and your amazing heart. Thank you for the team at SRT for always standing up and bravely proclaiming what real Love is, where it truly comes from and how we are eternally transformed through it. “And it’s all – and always will be – because of Jesus.” Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!

  • Love this today but was thinking that actually we first Biblical sacrifice demonstrated when God provides the lamb skin to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness. That picture floors me! That God Himself provided a sacrifice (from a lamb) to repair the shame Adam and Eve brought upon themselves through sin and disobedience. Jesus is all through the Bible and I love studies like this that focus on dissecting the Bible and finding him :)

    • rachel marie

      i was thinking of that too! “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” thankful for Jesus’ shed blood that completely covers all of my past, present, and future sins!

    • Amy Riker

      This sacrifice is new to me. Thank you for giving me something to think on today.

    • Carla

      Love this. Thanks Jess.

    • Dianne

      Yes, I thought about that, too. So beautiful.

  • A sweet reminder that Jesus is always the “more.” He is more than enough, more than able, gives more than we can imagine, forgives more, loves more,… Always more. Thank you, Jesus for always always being enough.

  • i never looked at the story of Abel that way. Thank you for pointing me to Jesus this morning.

  • but now. amen.

  • Wow, just wow. Humbled. Fed. Thank you!

  • Monica Napier

    Beautiful reminder about the great sacrifice that was made for us that so often we take for granted. Great way to walk into this season and be reminded about this…

  • ‘But now.’ Words to save our lives. Glorious, the perfect way to wake up to a dark and rainy day – remembering His light.

  • Katie Scarlett

    Really happy I made the plunge to read the advent series- my boyfriend and I are doing it together and I love being able to devote time to God and in doing so strengthen our relationship. This series is a great way to kick off advent season because everything is short and sweet but packs a powerful punch for reflection. ❤️

  • I’m completely BLOWN AWAY by the Advent series!!! (Still trying to digest and dissect Day 2 because there’s so much to depth and truth and (***indescribeable adjective similar to amazing***). Thank you so much for this devotional!!! It looks like this will be my best Advent season yet!!! God bless you!!!

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