Summary: To establish that the just shall live by faith and not by the observance or the works of the Law or any man's standards of righteousness. The just shall live by faith - through Jesus Christ. This lesson deals with faith and obedience in ones salvation.
1. The Letter to the Romans
2. The Letter to the Galatians
3. The Letter to the Hebrews
1. In our lesson today we are going to discuss the theme: "The Just Shall Live by Faith." This lesson will emphasize that the just shall be declared righteous by their faith in Jesus Christ. This original quotation comes from the book of Habakkuk, notice: "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith," Habakkuk 2:4. Jehovah was providing the prophet an answer to his question regarding Judah's exile by the Babylonians. The Chaldeans were lifted up with pride and haughtiness in the capture and treatment of the people of God. Jehovah promises that: "the soul which is lifted up is not upright in Him; but the just shall live by his faith." This promise not only provided hope to Habakkuk regarding the people's exile; but it also had a prophetic meaning regarding, "justification by faith in Jesus Christ."
2. First, we will consider Paul's Letter to the Romans and the phrase, "the just shall live by faith." The emphasis in this verse was on the means of the believer's salvation - which was "by faith," Romans 1:16-17. Paul quotes the passage from the prophet, with the emphasis on faith: "The just shall live by faith." As with the Prophet's statement: "no soul which is lifted up (with pride) is upright in Him." We are reminded it's, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us," Titus 3:5.
3. Second, we will discuss Paul's Letter to the Galatians and the phrase, "the just shall live by faith," Galatians 3:11. The emphasis of this verse is on the word "just." How does one become just in the sight of God? The process is through "faith in Christ." Recall the apostle Paul: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God... By whom also we have access by faith into this grace ...and rejoice in hope of the glory of God," Romans 5:1-2.
4. Lastly, we will investigate Paul's Letter to the Hebrews and the phrase: "The just shall live by faith." The emphasis of this verse is on the word "live." In our text of discussion: "The just is said to live by faith." It further states: "But if any man draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul," Hebrews 10:38-39. Paul affirms the just shall live by faith; and sustained by faith to the "saving of the soul," if he waits on the Lord. With this introduction let's consider our first thought: "The Just Shall Live by Faith."
BODY OF LESSON
I THE LETTER TO THE ROMANS
A. In Paul's Letter to the Romans. He entertains Habakkuk's statement: "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith," Habakkuk 2:4. Solomon said: "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall," Proverbs 16:18. Also, "A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit," Proverbs 29:23; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5-6.
1. The emphasis in this verse is on the manner in which the believer obtains salvation - and that is "by faith in the gospel," Romans 1:16-17. Paul quotes the passage from the prophet, with the emphasis on how, "the just shall live by faith."
2. Faith - in Gr: is "pistis"; "primarily means, a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing (akin to the Gr: peithio, to persuade); to be assured of; to trust in God or Christ, or in things that are spiritual." The gospel is heard, believed and obeyed, Romans 10:17.
3. The text in Romans could read: "But, as it has been written, the righteous man by faith will live," Romans 1:17b. (The New Greek English Interlinear New Testament, Fourth, Correct Edition, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, 1990, page 532.)
B. Paul affirms this righteousness comes through the gospel which he desires to preach in Rome. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: ...For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith," Romans 1:16-17. Here is Paul's first reference to this predictions and promise. Notice:
1. First, I am not ashamed of the gospel -- The words, "of Christ," in the text, are not found in the oldest and best manuscripts, some writers have suggested. However, it is clear, Paul is making mention to the "gospel" as the message he desired to preach in the city of Rome; the "seat of Satan."