Gen. 4:4,5 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. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.
God is not looking for religious observation, He is looking for those who worship in spirit and in truth. The truth part is not subjective, it is very specific and comes by revelation of the Spirit. This revelation begins with a recognition of the sin problem, it is our personal sinfulness that blocks us from true worship. Until there is conviction of sin and true repentance worship or religious activity is a fruitless endeavor. It is after we recognize our sinfulness and the mercy of God extended to us through Christ’s death on the cross that we can experience repentance that leads to life. That is when true worship begins. A. B. Simpson spoke powerful about the two kinds of worshippers we have seen throughout history. Check out his thoughts.
“The two men who stand worshiping at the gate of Eden represent the two divisions of mankind; believers and unbelievers.
The earthly man has far more beauty, culture and real effort in his religion. He brings the first and best of the rich, ripe produce of summer. Perhaps his altar is in favorable contrast to the rude mound of clay on which Abel offers the ghastly and revolting sacrifice of a bleeding, dying lamb.
Cain’s whole offering was a direct denial of what God had said about the curse upon the ground and its fruits, of the fact of sin and the need of an atoning Savior. Abel’s sacrifice acknowledged this truth and accepted God’s way of pardon.
The first act of faith is to believe what God says about sin-to believe that we are sinners because God says it. Abel did. He took the sinner’s place and instantly found the sinner’s Savior. Cain would not see his sin and as a result, fell into deeper sin.
The devil tricks us into saying, “I have not sinned.” Humble faith accepts God’s judgment upon sin and thereby escapes its penalty.”
There is plenty of religious activity that is called worship that is frankly offensive to God. Like Cain’s offering was not accepted, most religious activity is rejected by the Lord. You have to come through God’s provision, you must approach God by the blood of the cross. When we acknowledge God’s unspeakable gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, we are instantly changed. Like Able, we have come to God by faith and He is well pleased.