By Bob Hoekstra
Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith . . . For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Habakkuk 2:4 and Romans 1:16-17)
In our four previous devotions on Jesus as our ultimate example, we concluded our series on "humility and grace" and began to consider "faith and grace." If we want to grow in the grace of God, we must live by faith, since faith accesses grace. "We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (Romans 5:2).
Our present, initial verse also builds upon our earlier studies on humility, which was repeatedly contrasted with pride. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Habakkuk was inspired of the Spirit to state the same truth in this form. "Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him." James contrasted pride with humility. Here, the prophet concluded his statement by contrasting pride with faith. The proud person is depending upon himself. The humble person is willing to depend upon the Lord. The humble person is the one who will be growing in the grace of God.
This simple proclamation of living by faith is so profound that it is repeated in three strategic epistles in the New Testament. The first mention is in Romans in connection with the gospel of grace. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Paul was not embarrassed by the good news of the grace of God that was available in Jesus Christ. He knew that it was God's powerful truth that would save the soul of anyone (Jew or Gentile) who would believe in Christ. That message of grace offered God's righteousness to all who would believe. "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." The same righteousness that the law demanded, the gospel of grace provided. "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe" (Romans 3:21-22). The righteousness that people need (both for a standing in heaven and for a walk on earth) comes by grace through faith. Yes, initially and continually, "The just shall live by faith."
O righteous Lord, I praise You for the gift of Your righteousness, by grace through faith. My heart rejoices that I have a righteous standing before You in heaven above. My heart humbly cries out in faith for a daily impartation of that same righteousness in and through my life for a godly walk on earth below, through the grace of Christ, Amen.