Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Hebrews 10 says:
You need to persevere
so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised. For . . .
The righteous will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed,
but to those who have faith and are saved (Heb. 10:36-39).
This passage comments on the relationship between faith and righteousness by saying, “The righteous will live by faith.” That’s a memorable phrase: the Bible uses it four times.
The first time is in the Old Testament, when the Babylonian army moved across the Middle East with its evil eye on Israel. The prophet Habakkuk complained to God that Israel was in great danger, so what was God going to do about it?
Surely the Babylonians will come and not delay.
The proud of heart will be destroyed,
but the righteous will live by faith” (Hab 2:3-4)
Hardly a comforting thought for Habakkuk. As the doom approaches, don’t be proud. Just wait for the inevitable, trusting that God will take care of you.
Paul takes up the same verse in Romans 1, changing the context from a military invasion to God’s gift of salvation. He says, “In the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, as it is written, ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (Rom 1:17). Like Habakkuk, the world Paul knew had descended into a mess of sin that encompassed Jews and Gentiles. Paul asserted that faith was the key that made people right with God, lighting their way through an evil world.
In Galatians 3:11, Paul used the verse again, putting it this time into the picture of a courtroom, “Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God,” he wrote, “because the righteous will live by faith.” In this courtroom, our failure to keep the law makes us guilty as charged. We escape this condemnation, not by putting a better spin on our behavior, but by relying on Christ for forgiveness and righteousness.
The fourth use of the statement, “The righteous will live by faith”, is in today’s passage from the Book of Hebrews. The Hebrew Christians faced persecution, so the author encourages them not to shrink fearfully back from their commitment to the Jesus way. Losing faith like that would trash the meaning of their lives. Instead of despair, they can choose faith, pressing on through the difficulties of life in the strength God gives to those who are faithful, or full of faith.
Our father, we see these pictures of faith. Habakkuk waiting quietly for the Babylons to destroy Jerusalem, trusting his life to you. Paul seeing himself and others failing to keep your law, but believing you give righteousness to failed law keepers who put their trust in Christ. The Hebrew Christians, experiencing the difficulty of living under persecution, turning to faith to sustain their lives and their relationship with you.
Help us, we pray, to become righteous ones, living fully by faith.
I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.