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The Just Shall Live by Faith

See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous will live by his faith—” (Habakkuk 2:4)

We’ve joked some about how seemingly insignificant this short little book by a minor prophet with a strange name is. It’s even hard to find in the Bible.

But did you know that arguably the most important Scripture in the Bible is found here? A short little verse that literally changed the world. That’s right, “the just shall live by faith.”

This message is the one fundamental of life – the one fundamental of government – of marriage – of child-rearing – of discipleship: the righteous live by faith; the wicked perish in their arrogance.

For Judah, this was a corporate message. The nation still had time. God’s people could still return to him and embrace him. They could set aside their arrogant worship of self and turn to God in faith.

Others would pick up the refrain elsewhere in Scripture and give it a more personal application. Paul famously quotes it in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11. The author of Hebrews quotes it as well.

Here, the New Testament authors were making personal application of this principle. We are saved by grace through faith. Salvation by works, earning your way into heaven, is impossible.

In fact, Romans 1:17 was THE pivotal verse that shook Martin Luther and began the Protestant Reformation. Luther finally realized that his own righteousness was not enough to save him. By faith he had to depend on God’s righteousness.

Let’s think about this verse for the remainder of the week. You and I “live by” faith. We don’t exercise it from time to time or pull out our faith for special occasions. No, we live by it. As you face trials this week, lean into God. Embrace him. And live by your faith.


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