Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Yesterday’s scripture reading found us in the first few chapters of Jeremiah who was a prophet during the great reformation of Judah under King Josiah. Since our scripture reading is chronological this year, today’s scripture reading concerned two other prophets that also spoke during this same time period, namely Habakkuk and Zephaniah. Both of these men are considered Minor Prophets and both of their writings are short reads. Today I want to look solely at one verse that really stood out to me in Habakkuk which is of course the verse noted above.
Now one thing I hate to do is lift a verse out of scripture with no context whatsoever and then begin to expound on it. It just isn’t the right thing to do because then we can push the bible into saying all kinds of things that it isn’t saying at all.
So with that said, be aware the immediate context of this verse comes from God’s answer to Habakkuk’s questioning of how God could justify using the wicked Chaldeans to accomplish his sovereign will since they were by nature more wicked that Judah. In short, God’s reply to him is that he would indeed raise up the Chaldeans to do his will against Judah who had sinned against him, but he would also bring the Chaldeans to an end as well. God has often used the wicked to chastise the disobedience of his people, but in the end will not hold the wicked guiltless in their actions.
The verse above though is really the core verse of the book though for it stands in stark contrast to the pride of the Chaldeans who will come to an end. The just though will live by faith and faith will preserve them.
Now what is interesting is that this is such a small book and most of us probably ever hear the preacher say, “Turn in your bibles to Habakkuk chapter 3 verse 2 today.” I can honestly say that I have never used this book as my primary text for a sermon. I imagine that is true not just for me, but many others as well. Yet here in this book this little phrase of “the just shall live by his faith” appears and then leaps over into the New Testament.
The Apostle Paul uses the phrase on two occasions. The first is found for us in the book of Romans:
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
From here Paul expounds that it was always God’s plan to save man through grace by faith.
Again we see Paul use the phrase in Galatians:
Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Gal 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Here we have the same scenario being used by Paul that our justification comes not through the working of the Old Testament Law, but rather our faith in God. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy about that because I couldn’t keep the Law without erring for even one day! If my destiny was based on the Law my destiny would be hell for sure.
Then we have one more instance of this phrase that makes it into the New Testament. This one comes from the book of Hebrews. Now we don’t know who wrote this book for sure. Some contend it was Paul and several others have been mentioned as well. Whomever wrote it though was also inspired of the Holy Spirit to use this little phrase as well.
Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
This time the phrase is used not of saving faith as Paul mentioned, but in the continuance of living in faith. Which is not in opposition to what Paul is saying at all, but rather the continuance of it. We are indeed saved by grace alone, through faith alone. Yet our saving faith will never end there. Saving faith leads to living in faith. Living in faith means putting trust in God every day. Living in faith means producing works of faith in our lives every day. If we are saved by faith, we will also live by faith.
So my question to you today is twofold. Have you ever been saved by faith? Many people put their trust in all kinds of programs and prayers for salvation, but have you ever fully trusted in Christ alone to save your soul by believing the gospel message?
Secondly, are you living by faith daily? If your life looks more like the things of this world instead of the things of God, there is a problem. The sad reality is you may need to reevaluate whether you fully trusted in Christ to begin with. The mark of a true Christian is one who also lives in faith.
If you made it this far with me today, thanks for reading and may God bless you in your walk today.