Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.— Habakkuk 2:4
Yesterday we dealt with the matter of pride and the destruction it causes. It is devastating to both the child of God and the heathen. We then concluded the study by pointing out the contrast the Lord emphasizes in the verse – The JUST against the PROUD – Those who LIVE against those who DIE – Those who live by FAITH against those who live by SIGHT. What is even MORE remarkable is that these points are dealt with directly through the three passages in the New Testament which quote this verse.
- Romans 1:17 – the JUST
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
- Hebrews 10:38 – shall LIVE
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
- Galatians 3:11 – by FAITH
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Today we will cover the first point – the JUST shall live by faith.
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
In the first 5 chapters of the book of Romans, Paul deals with the doctrine of justification – the act of declaring one righteous. In chapter 1, Paul speaks of the wrath of God towards the heathen. He details the due downfall of those who refuse to retain God in their knowledge. In chapter 2, Paul points a harsh, accusing finger at the reader and likens him to the heathen of chapter 1. He says in Romans 2:1, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” Our flesh is no better than the flesh of the heathen! He then summarizes the sinful, depraved state in 3:10-12 – “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” We read that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (v. 23).
BUT . . .
By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we are JUSTIFIED! “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (3:24). We who have been bought by the blood of Jesus, saved and born again are justified – DECLARED RIGHTEOUS. Think of that! Our flesh was no better off than any other heathen, but by grace WE are JUSTIFIED!
Not only are we justified by GRACE, we are justified by FAITH. In Romans 4, Paul points out that no saint was ever justified by the works of the law. It was by their faith they were justified. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (4:3). He then concludes, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace” (4:16a). In chapter 5, we read of the blessings of being justified by faith. I’ve heard people talk about God birthing into people faith which must in turn be placed in Him, but this is a false doctrine. They will misinterpret Ephesians 2:8-9 to prove their point. It is not FAITH that is the gift. The gift is SALVATION.
In John 12:32, Jesus says, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Well, was He lifted up from the earth? Yes He was at Calvary! So to keep His promise, the Lord MUST draw ALL men unto Him! The call has gone forth into all world – JESUS SAVES! He is calling EVERYONE! You MUST place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not your works. Not the president. Not your country. Not humanity.
The first part of our verse in Romans may seem confusing – “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith” (1:17a). The previous verse states that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation “to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Later, he mentions that we are justified just as Abraham and the rest of the Old Testament were – by faith (ch. 4). I believe the words“from faith to faith” refer to how God reveals His righteousness from the faith of one of His children to the faith of another – both Jew and Gentile – both Old Testament saints and New Testament saints. The faith of every saint from Adam to the newly-saved Child of God displays the righteousness of God as justified sinners saved by grace.
Justified. Such a wonderful word. I’m just a sinner. I’ve committed so much sin. I still battle my flesh every single day. It frustrates me to no end how no matter how hard I try I still fail. But I’m justified in the sight of God! Praise the Lord Jesus Christ! When He sees me He sees the blood!
If you are born again, take a moment to praise the Lord for being declared righteous by our Lord Jesus Christ.