The Just Shall Live by Faith

Have you ever read Scripture and tried to understand the passage from an opposite angle?

Sometimes I like to do that.  I find this to be particularly helpful when I have heard a passage many times, and I really think I understand it. Then I find out that, surprise! There’s something I had missed!

(I posted one such contemplation HERE.)

This morning I’m thinking about a verse that is found four times in Scripture:

“The just shall live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38)

So, some ways of looking at it from another angle would be:

  • The unjust will NOT live by faith.
  • The unjust will live by unbelief, worry, fretting, fear, anxiety, and unrest.
  • The just shall NOT live by unbelief, worry, fretting, fear, anxiety, and unrest.

Often when I do an exercise like this, I find that in my heart I have inadvertently wandered to the other side of the fence, so to speak, and I need my Shepherd to pick me up and carry me back where I belong.

Why? Because there is safety with the Shepherd and danger in wandering from His side.

Just as there may be wolves, lions, vipers, and dangerous precipices for actual sheep who stray from their shepherd, there are spiritual dangers that threaten us as believers when we wander away.

For example, in a passage where the Apostle Paul mentions sins like deceit, lying, anger, stealing, and speaking rotten, ungracious words, he gives this admonition:

“and do not give the devil an opportunity.”  Ephesians 4:27

The word for opportunity here means a place, or a military campground, a place to prepare an attack.  That is what we give the enemy when we wander into some sin and don’t quickly come back to the Shepherd.  We put ourselves in a position where we are vulnerable to the attack of the evil one.  In medical terms, one might say that this is contraindicated! In other words, it is not advisable (to say the least!!)

But is unbelief really a sin?  Is it really that bad not to believe?

Well, first off, we are commanded to believe, over and over and over in the Bible.  Not doing so, then, is disobedience, and Adam and Eve got us all into big trouble by one act of disobedience.

  • “Delight yourself in the LORD;…
  • “Commit your way to the LORD,
  • “Trust also in Him, and He will do it…
  • “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently (longingly) for Him…”
  • “…Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.  For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD they will inherit the land.”  Psalm 37:4,5,7,8,9  NASB

I could go on and on, because the Bible talks about this a lot.  But I’ll leave you with one more verse.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

So let’s get before the Lord and ‘fess up!  Let’s confess and repent of our sin of unbelief and get back walking with the Shepherd in the safety of His watchful care.

P. S. It is normal for us to have fear come knocking at our door. Sometimes we need that fear reaction to give us the strength to flee or do something heroic. But God does not want us to stay in that fear. Often that fear response is to things that will never happen. And even when bad things do happen, we need to say with the Psalmist:

“My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me.

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.

In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?”  Psalm 56:2-4  NASB

 

What about you?  If you look at the other verses in this post from the opposite angle, does anything jump out at you?  Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

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18 thoughts on “The Just Shall Live by Faith

  1. I like your approach here. Looking at a passage in terms of what its opposite might look like in order to fully understand what it fully encompasses. Your exploration yielded some powerful truths from God. Yes, living by faith is all important. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am so thankful that Jesus wants to bring us to a place of deeper trusting! Yes, these are such fascinating ways to look at Scripture from a different perspective, and to ask Him to let us see through His eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Ruth! I’m pretty sure I’ve tried this before but have forgotten about how helpful that tactic is. I’m going to try to look at familiar parts of God’s Word from another angle this week! I think Ann Voskamp once wrote or said that, “Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism.” That stuck with me and helped me to see that responding to life mostly in fear, anger, anxiety, and worry is definitely disobedient. That said, I do think we are human and it can be normal to have these feelings. To respond to life mostly and only in these ways and to stay in them is damaging to my heart. Thanks for this wisdom!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Amy, for your visit and for sharing that great quote by Ann Voskamp! 🙂
      Yes, it is normal for these feelings to come; the question is how long is it okay to stay there. We have that fight or flight reaction to help us in danger. But we were never meant to stay constantly in that fear. Thank you for the reminder! I’ve added a P.S. to the post to address this truth.

      Like

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