Living By Faith

Written on October 20, 2011 by Daniel Huang

“The righteous shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

Whenever we hear this phrase, we often consider it as a serious reminder of the way that we should be living.  But this is only partially true.  This is essentially the one phrase, mentioned throughout the old and new testament that highlights the only way that we as believers in Christ can live!

During one of his sermons at Forcey, Pastor Phil Powers posed a question for the congregation: “When difficult trials come, and you have your back against the wall, will you be able to stand?” This is by no means a question that merely arises in light of our personal trial. This is a question has been around ever since God decided to choose for himself a people of his own. This question would have a slightly different meaning for those of us (and it is strange to think of them as brothers in Christ) who lived and died before Christ’s arrival.  How did they survive without the whole of the Bible written? How did those who lived before Christ deal with this question that is posed to us today? The answer that they received was literally no different than the answer we are given: “The righteous shall live by faith.”

As believers, we like to think of the Church as the first test group for faith, but this is not the case. The Israelites were essentially the first test group for faith. And the exam that they had before them – their trial – was the Law. It was a trial that they would never pass, and it is by God’s grace that we do not have to have the same trial! It is much easier to live according to faith than to live according to the letter of the Law.

As you read the devotional passage below, think about what living by the Law means (or ask your Jewish friends). Then think about what living by faith means. Hopefully you will discover a marvelous picture of what the Lord has for His believers!

A helpful definition: Keep in mind that “the Law” refers to the set of laws passed down to Moses, often regarded as (but not always limited to) the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible with instructions given as to how Israel should live as God’s chosen people.

Galatians 3:10-11, 19-29 (NASB)
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTENIN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would cometo whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of Godthrough faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ haveclothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neitherslave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

1.  In whom do we place our faith?   Why is this important?

2.  How was an Old Testament saint to “live by faith” while living under the law?  Was that faith different than the faith to which we are called?

3.  Was it necessary for the Old Testament saints to live by law and by faith?  Why or Why not?

4.  What does this passage say about our failures?

5.  Why must we never give up when we fail or when trials come our way?

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One Comment on “Living By Faith”

  1. Ife |

    I took a look at this devotional again this morning and will like to offer some thoughts on the questions posed.
    1) We place our faith in Christ because He is the one who fulfilled the requirement of the law on our behalf
    2) The O.T saints would be said to be living by faith when they went beyond the ritualistic religious observances of the law to express a belief and trust in the God who desired a relationship with them and defined his terms by the covenant He made with them; while looking forward to, and anticipating the new covenant which many of their prophets said was to come and will be established on better promises.
    So, the O.T faith is different from the faith to which we are called as believers in terms of the tenses; they were to anticipate the fulfillment of God’s requirements in Christ (future tense). We are to have faith in the promise fulfilled on the cross (past tense).
    Yet, it is thesame faith because the object and person of our faith is the same God (who made provision for humanity’s redemption thro’ Christ), to whom be glory forever!
    3) Yes it was necessary for the O.T saints to live by both law and faith because Christ had not been born to redeem them from the curse of the law.
    4) God does not view us in terms of our failures because we have been clothed with Christ. Hallelujah! He redeemed us from the curse of the law and gave us the gift of righteousness.
    5) We must never give up because we have been called to walk by faith. The righteous man shall live by faith! This faith recognizes failures and trials, but it plods on & lives in the light of higher realities– justification by the blood of the Lamb and son-ship of the Most High God!
    Thanks for sharing this and for the thought-provoking questions.

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