Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.— Habakkuk 2:4
We have been taking a deeper look into the very centerpiece of the book of Habakkuk – “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” This verse is quoted three times in the New Testament. Each of these times highlights a distinct point of the verse. Yesterday, we saw how Paul emphasized it is the JUST who live by faith. Paul writes 5 chapters of the book of Romans dedicated to expounding upon the doctrine of justification. Born-Again Believers are JUSTIFIED – DECLARED RIGHTEOUS! Justification is by GRACE as it the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who shed His blood to cover our sins. Justification is also by FAITH as it requires US to willfully place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The JUST are the PEOPLE who should live by faith. Thank the Lord for justification!
We now read that “the just shall LIVE.” Remember that in Habakkuk was told that his people would be crushed. The Chaldeans would come to conquer the land and wipe them out. Not all of the people of Judah were of the “wicked.” There were “just” people like Habakkuk, saved, bought by the blood, and justified. However, when the Chaldeans would rise up against the land, many people would die, both the just and the wicked. Death would be everywhere! Habakkuk is devastated at how the Holy God would allow this! He asks, “shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?” Why would God allow His people to die at the hands of a nation more wicked than Judah?
Well, we found out that though they die, the just will LIVE. The just have an everlasting life which cannot be taken away! To gain deeper insight into this portion of the verse, we will turn to Hebrews 10:38.
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
– Hebrews 10:38
This verse is part of the fourth warning of the book of Hebrews. There are five warnings in the book of Hebrews. This fourth warning is on the danger of despising the work of the Son of God and is addressed primarily to unbelievers but is also for the purpose of encouraging Born-Again Believers to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” because of the significance of the work of the Son of God. Some interpret this section of Scripture to allow for the idea that one can lose their salvation. My first response is – how can everlasting life end? To believe that the salvation provided by Jesus Christ can be lost must require John 3:16 to read, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him COULD POSSIBLY not perish, but have a TEMPORARY, PASSING life.” My second response is to encourage that person to read this whole 10th chapter of Hebrew. Verses 12, 14, 38-39 all point to the idea of eternal security. There is much more to be said of this. I am actually working right now on a study of these warnings in the book of Hebrews which may be posted sometime this year which will cover these points in greater detail.
The writer of Hebrews says, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Based on the context of this warning, this is referring to drawing back from the work of the Son of God. A few verses prior we read,“He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:28-29)
Those who reject our Lord Jesus Christ will suffer eternal damnation. They will die not just a physical, earthly death, but a death in the lake of fire which last for all eternity. This is the REAL death which the world must be concerned about. The Just, on the other hand, will LIVE. All the saints of God have ALWAYS had this hope. We should all join in with Job and declare, “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God!” (Job 19:26) We still have a fleshly, carnal nature which attaches itself to temporary things and longs for the healing of our loved ones, but the truth is that the death of a Child of God is but a stepping stone in God’s plan of life.
Not only is our life an EVERLASTING one, it is a SPIRITUAL one. Ephesians 2:1-3 explains that the Lost are DEAD in trespasses and sins. The Born-Again Believer actually has a SPIRITUAL life. It is because we have been saved and given this EVERLASTING, SPIRITUAL life that the writer of Hebrews encourages us, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:23)
The just shall LIVE. If you are a justified Child of God, you have an everlasting, spiritual life which cannot be taken away from you and must be lived in obedience to God’s will. Hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering.