You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, “You fool!” will be liable to the hell of fire. [Matthew 5:21-22 ESV]
Abel did nothing to deserve death. He offered God an acceptable sacrifice. His sacrifice is evidence the thinking of his heart was in line with what God wanted from him. He knew to bring a sacrifice from the correct motivation. God accepted his sacrifice because of his motivation. Abel’s sacrifice was not given with the expectation of receiving anything in return. He sacrificed as a show of his love and affection for God.
In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. [Genesis 4:3-5 ESV]
Cain murdered his brother Abel though he had committed no crime worthy of capital punishment. In fact, there were no written or spoken laws. There was only one prohibition given which did carry a spiritual and ultimately physical death penalty. That prohibition was given to Adam about not eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All indications are Cain, their first child, was born after his parents were driven from the garden. All he knew was what his parents told him and the evidence suggests they didn’t tell him accurately what happened, if at all.
God did not protect Abel from his brother Cain. He did tell Cain he was in danger of allowing sin control of his life. He did not stop Cain nor protect Abel from his brother’s murderous intent. “Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him” [Genesis 4:3-8 ESV].
Though we may hate what happens to us this is how God works. It is the corrupt thinking of our hearts which leads us to believe that which is not true, either about God or about us. There are times when God does protect from the effects of sin. However, He is not unjust when He allows us to be affected by sin, especially the sin of others. It is not we deserve what happens, though all who sin deserve eternal punishment, but His eternal decrees, His knowledge and will see and know what occurs will ultimately bring Him glory. We do not know how sin, especially the vial sin of people, brings Him glory but we are told it will.
We must see what He does through the clear lens of His truth, not allowing ourselves the permission to color His truth with our misconceptions. He allows sin full reign in a person so they might see and know and understand the full extent and consequences of sin. He does this so those He wishes to teach might see the complete degradation sin brings upon every iota of human existence. He points to the consequences of sin in His Word, His laws, the prophecies and teachings, and in His love for each person. Sinless Jesus died because of sin. This is the most effective evidence for the reality of sin and His love for those He created. He did not protect His Son, Jesus, from the full effect of the sin of the world.
Does this mean He does not love those who are victims of the abhorrent sin of those around them? It would seem He does not love them. If this were true those who have endured the most violent, degrading, and vile acts against their person would never be covered by the blood of Christ, who endured the most violent, degrading and vile act against His person. His blood shed to cover those who are God’s is the eternal evidence of God’s love for them.
Cain could not hide his murder from God even though he tried. Nothing which happens to anyone is hidden from God. Perhaps this is why we believe He could have prevented sin, especially against ourselves. He could have kept Adam from sinning. He could have prevented Cain from murdering. He could have rescued Abel from his brother’s murderous intent. He did not. He could have kept His Son from dying. He did not. His full reasons are mysterious, seem callus and unloving, but we know, by the resurrection of His Son, they are just and righteous and void of sin.
We also know the intent of the thinking of our hearts is our responsibility, for which we will be held accountable.