"The just shall live by his faith" Habakkuk 2:4.
"We are delivered from the law, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter" Romans 7:6.
"I live; and yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" Galatians 2:20.
The word from Habakkuk is quoted three times in the New Testament as the divine representation of salvation in Christ by faith alone.1 But that word is very often misunderstood--as if it ran, Man will be justified by faith on his conversion. The word includes this, but signifies much more. It says that the just will live by faith--the whole life of the righteous, from moment to moment, will be by faith.2
As presented in God's Word, we all know how sharp the opposition is between the grace that comes by faith and the law that demands our works. This is generally noted with reference to justification. But that distinction holds just as much for the whole life of sanctification. The just will live by faith alone. That is, they will have power to live according to the will of God. At his conversion, the sinner found it necessary to understand that there was nothing good in him--that he must receive grace as one who was powerless and godless. As a believer, he must understand just as clearly that in him there is nothing good--that every moment he must receive his power for good from above.3 And his work must therefore be to look up and believe and receive his power from above--from his Lord in heaven--every morning and every hour. I am not to do what I can, and hope in the Lord to supply strength. No, as one who has been dead--literally able for nothing in himself, and whose life is in his Lord above--I am to lean by faith on Him who will work mightily in me.4
Happy is the Christian who understands that his greatest danger is to fall under the law--to be eager to serve God in the flesh with his own strength. Happy is he when he realises that he is not under the law--which demands and yet is powerless through the flesh--but is under grace where he simply has to receive what has been given. Happy is he when he fully accepts for himself the promise of the Spirit who transfers all that is in Christ to him. Yes, happy is he when he understands what it is to live by faith--to serve, not in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the Spirit.5
Let us make the words of Paul our own. They present the true life of faith to us, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live" (Galatians 2:20). Not only my sin, but my flesh, all that is of myself--my own living and willing, my own power and working--I have given up to death. I no longer live of myself. I cannot. I will not live or do anything.6 Christ lives in me. He Himself--by His Spirit--is my power, and teaches and strengthens me to live as I ought to. And that life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in Him. It is my responsibility to believe in Him to work the willing as well as the accomplishment.
Young Christian, let this life of faith be your faith.
Lord Jesus, You are my life. Yes, my life. You live in me, and are willing to take my whole life into Your own hands. And my whole life may be a joyful trust and experience that You are working all in me daily.
Precious Lord, to that life of faith I will surrender myself. Yes, to You I surrender myself, to teach me and to reveal Yourself fully in me. Amen.
1) Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38
2) Rom. 5:17,21; 6:1l; 8:2; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 5:11,12
3) Rom. 7:18; 8:2,13; Heb. 11:33
4) Rom. 4:17; 2 Cor. 1:9; Col. 1:29; 2:3
5) Rom. 7:4,6; 12:5,6; Gal. 5:18; Phil 3:3
6) John 15:4,5; 1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 12:9,10
1. Do you understand the error in saying--if the Lord helps me? The Lord must help me. In natural things we speak like this because we have a certain measure of power, and the Lord will increase it. But the New Testament never uses the word "help" of the grace of God in the soul. We have absolutely no power--God is not to help us, because we are weak. No, He is to give His life and His power in us because we are entirely powerless. He who discerns this correctly will learn to live by faith alone.
2. "Without faith it is impossible to please God; Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23). Such words of the Spirit of God teach us how every deed and disposition of our life is to be full of faith.
3. Hence, our first work every day is to exercise faith in Jesus as our life, to believe that He dwells in us, and will do all for us and in us. This faith must be the mood of our soul the whole day. This faith cannot be maintained except in the fellowship and nearness of Jesus Himself.
4. This faith has its power in the mutual surrender of Jesus and the believer to each other. Jesus first gives Himself wholly for us. Then, the believer gives himself wholly in order to be taken into possession and to be guided by Jesus. Then the soul cannot even doubt if He will do all for it.
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