THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH
Text: ROMANS 1:17
(AN EXTRACT OF FROM PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS OF 3RD SESSION OF THE 7TH SYNOD DELIVERED BY THE RT REVD DR JAMES OLUSOLA ODEDEJI, THE DIOCESAN BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF LAGOS WEST (ANGLICAN COMMUNION)
Many of us know the story of Martin Luther, at one time an obscure Roman Catholic monk, who entered the monastery seeking to be set free from the heavy burden of guilt he felt because of his sin. Though he was an obedient son, he found no rest for his soul in prayer and fasting and penance. His eyes were opened by God when he studied the Epistle to the Romans. As he came to Romans 1:17, he pondered the meaning of the quotation from Habakkuk 2:4. Reflecting back on what this text meant in his life, Luther offered this testimony: When by the Spirit of God, I understood these words The Just shall live by Faith, then I felt born again like a new man. I entered through the open doors into the very paradise of God. Once the truth of justification by faith gripped his soul, he ignited a fire of evangelistic reformation that eventually spread throughout Europe, and eventually to the ends of the earth.
This theme is a quotation from the Old Testament book of Habakkuk chapter two, verse four. We know very little about the prophet Habakkuk from the Bible or history, except what we can glean from his own prophecy. In Scripture, there is often a correlation between a prophet s name and his calling. Habakkuk s name means “to embrace.” As we study the book of Habakkuk, we begin to get a picture of what God is calling the prophet to accept, and then to embrace, as the will of God for His people. The Bible made us to understand that The Just shall live by Faith in four different parts of the Scriptures, from the Old Testament to the New - Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38. All these four texts tell us the same thing: The Just shall live by Faith. Habakkuk 2:4 says:
Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith. (NKJV) See, he is puffed up; his desires are not right - but the righteous will live by faith. (NIV) And this is the message: Those who are evil will not survive, but those who are righteous will live because they are faithful to God.(Good News)
This is with special reference to the Babylonians and their kings, who are arrogant and whose desires are not upright. In the light of God s revelation, God s people are to wait patiently and live by faith – trusting in our sovereign God. The clause, The Just shall live by Faith, is quoted frequently in the New Testament to support the teaching that people are saved by grace through faith (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Ephes. 2:8).
Apostle Paul declares in the New Testament Epistle to the Romans chapter 1 verse 17: For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (NKJV)
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (NIV)
For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.
God s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: "The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives." (The Message)
The book of Galatians 3:11 says: But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith. (KJV)
Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, the righteous will live by faith (NIV)
The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: The person who believes God, is set right by God - and that s the real life (The Message)
This Divinely Inspired Theme
There were so many themes suggested and available to us for this year but this one in particular, kept ringing in my ears and was seriously impressed in my heart for our meditation and fortification this year. Initially, I could not fathom why it was so, but then, gradually, things started unfolding from the first month of the year. It has been one terrible disaster or the other all over the world. These are unexplainable catastrophes of unimaginable proportion, the like of which have never been witnessed or experienced before, nationally and globally. This theme could not have come at any time better than this time, when there are incessant fatalities and mortalities everywhere; ravaging spread of deadly diseases and now the fear of the strange disease, COVID-19, which has become a pandemic. We are perpetually being confronted with security challenges, civil unrest, unemployment, job insecurity. Lives and properties are no longer safe from bandits, kidnappers, armed-robbers, fraudsters, etc. The Just shall live by Faith.
This theme is God-sent and thus very suitable at a time like this, to minister faith, trust in God, divine consolation and spiritual fortitude to our people, as we are right now witnessing fulfillment of prophecy of the very terrible time of the last days. People have become lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of money rather than lovers of God – having form of godliness but denying its power (Timothy 3: 1-5).
The theme calls for strong faith in our God to surmount the multifarious challenges confronting us as individuals, families, Diocese, the Church, nations and the world at large. The world as a global village is closely and intricately connected such that any bad situation or small problem that is not quickly and properly managed could easily snowball into a ferocious conflagration ravaging the entire planet. Many terrible, devilish things, ideas, beliefs, demonic doctrines and infectious diseases from foreign lands are shared across the continents to other nations. The internet provides opportunity for interactions across borders, breaking any form of barriers. Children in the confines of their bedrooms can learn about Satanism and witchcraft; the cheapest way to produce explosive; the easiest way to commit suicide; date a boy/girl in another continent and be having sex online; watch pornography; indulge in masturbation; engage in cyber financial crimes; and so on. When the foundation is faulty, what can the righteous do? The righteous shall live by faith.
In the midst of sharp distinction across frontiers, poverty and wealth; sickness and health; war and peace; hate and love; sorrow and joy; at home and abroad; on the land and sea, all good things are possible for our powerful and unchanging God. He has been there for us in times past and will always be there for us evermore. God has promise of a glorious future for all of us; Jer. 29:11 says: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV). Truly, what the future holds is known only to God, yet we can rejoice because He has promised us that weeping may tarry till the night but joy comes in the morning (Ps. 30:5). We can boldly say that all will be well with us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. The miracles and blessings He gave to others who trusted in Him in the past, He will release much more for us in the name of Jesus Christ. The Just shall live by Faith.
We shall consider two texts together because one depends on the other. We will begin with the words of Paul in Romans 1:17: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The Just shall live by faith. We must note the verse where Paul says, “as it is written”. This means that Paul is quoting from the Old Testament Habakkuk 2:4: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith”. This is the central verse of Habakkuk and is one of the most crucial verses in the Bible. This is the reason the Gospel has such wondrous, saving power: “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is from faith to faith (just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith ” (1:17). Paul is using the authority of the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk to establish the truth of his assertion.
The second quotation is in Galatians 3:11. Contrasting the Judaizers pseudo-gospel with the saving Gospel of God s free grace in Christ, Paul writes, “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, The righteous will live by faith. ” The third time this passage is quoted is in Hebrews 10. There the writer encourages the Hebrew Christians to persevere in their faith and holds out to them the promise of a gracious reward. Then he adds, “For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him (vs. 37, 38).
The Christian life is anchored on the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ through the channel of our faith. The concept of faith and its importance cannot be over-emphasized in believers relationship with God. Hence these much discourse and allusions to faith by Jesus in the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles. Right from the beginning of his letter to the Romans, Paul did not hesitate to reveal the reason for the good news or the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God, which he promised before-hand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning his Son who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of Holiness by His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith (Rom. 1:1-5).
Paul s reference to obedience of faith at the beginning of the Letter is enough to emphasize the importance of faith in Christ Jesus, and what a person stands to gain in it. To Paul, faith in Christ is worth celebrating and giving thanks for; faith is the vehicle through which our justification is received. However, before a person can put his faith in Jesus, there is a need to hear about Christ. This, we call Gospel. This Gospel, Paul had eagerness to broadcast everywhere including Rome because there-in lies the power of God to save those who believe it, either Jew or Greek (i.e. all the people). This Gospel reveals that God s acceptable standard of righteousness is through faith in Christ Jesus. Hence, the statement, The Just shall live by Faith. No doubt, the stress in this statement is on the Just and Faith. It is the faith of the just person in Christ Jesus and His finished work that guarantees His life holistically.
The Hebrew word used for faith is emunah which literally means faithfulness. From this we get the idea of what faith really means to the Jews. Faith is not just a mental assent to a set of truth but it ascends to the level of commitment characterized by trust and obedience to the object of faith, and in this case, the Almighty God. In other words, preservation from the impending danger is by depending and trusting the Lord. Having the above understanding in mind, it is therefore easy to get the mind of Paul in his phrase, the just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17), quoted to emphasize that salvation is by grace through faith (Gal. 3:11; Eph. 2:8). This kind of faith described by Habakkuk and Paul is a continuing trust in God and His promises, even in the darkest days. It is a faith that obeys without rationalizing the instructions of the Lord.
The righteousness revealed in the Gospel is that right standing which is from God not as a result of human effort. (Rom. 3:21; Phil. 3:9). In other words, Paul talks about the imputed righteousness we have from God. This righteousness is from God and not human, and man gets it by faith and it is sustained by faith. This is the righteousness God provides as the sole ground of acceptance with Him for all His people. The import from Habakkuk is for Paul to establish the fact that even right from the Old Testament, it has been the character of God to justify those who put their trust in Him. A very good example is Abraham (Gen. 15:6). Though hidden to a very large extent in the Old Testament, but it is now revealed in the Gospel. The book of Roman 3:22 gives us a better understanding. The righteousness/justification is from God; it is for all but can only be appropriated by those who act in faith. In other words, this righteousness is received by every believer by faith alone. There is no place for any meritorious work of ours. In fact, the addition of works for salvation denies the very essence of the Gospel.
Don Fleming makes this helpful statement about faith: Faith in God is not effort, but ceasing of effort. It is not doing, but relying on what Christ has done. It is an attitude whereby guilty sinners give up their own effort to win salvation, no matter how good they be, and completely trust in Christ and Him alone, for their salvation. Without such an attitude, no person can receive God s salvation (Heb. 11:6).
The first chapter of Habakkuk shows the prophet to be in a state of great distress at the burden that the Lord had given him to deliver to the people. He certainly was not defending the abominable sins of his countrymen, but rather it seems he was in anguish at the idea that the enemies of God, in this instance the godless heathen Babylonians, would have such a victory over the people of God in the earth, the Lord s anointed. Some of us will understand the distress that this blessed man was in, desiring to serve the Lord, and be faithful to Him, while struggling with his flesh, not knowing how or when the Lord would deliver his people, and how this captivity, this affliction, would glorify His name. It is in the midst of such affliction that we must be reminded that the just shall live by faith and work around the providence of God for us.
The Lord assured Habakkuk that everything was under control and to trust Him. The Lord encourages us to trust in Him. He has plans for His children. In other words, the righteous woman trusts, not in herself, but in God. Her faith is directed upward, not inward. What do you do when evil doers come to power? The just shall live by faith. What do you do when your prayers go unanswered? The just shall live by faith. What do you do when your dreams turn to ashes? The just shall live by faith. When all you see is trouble on every side, the righteous man remembers that God is still on His throne, and when the dark clouds break over him, he says to himself, the just shall live by faith. Habakkuk understood these words entirely in the context of his own times. Many years later, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to quote these words to prove that the Gospel was no innovation, but had been predicted in the Old Testament. And again, many years after that, Martin Luther found rest for his soul when he understood the true meaning of the just shall live by faith.
What is Faith?
Faith is defined as allegiance to duty or a person; loyalty: The quality of keeping ones promises, a belief, trust and loyalty to God. It is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete confidence. It is something that is believed especially with strong conviction. Hebrew 11:1,2 says: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. The Patriarchs, Prophets, early disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, Apostles and martyrs, heroes of faith, all rode on the vehicle of faith to do the exploits, and achieved the great testimonies that we have about them today. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, King Josiah, Zerubbabel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, James, Peter, Stephen, Paul and Silas, and so on. Faith is common to all mankind. There is no one who does not have some measure of faith (Rom. 12:3). God instills in our hearts the power to believe in the Gospel so that we can obtain salvation. God places within each of us the faith we need to hear and answer His call.
?Faithisconfidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see (Heb?11:1).
?Wearesaved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ: it is the gift of God (Ephes. 2:8).
?Welivedby faith not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
?Faithisan expression of absolute trust and confidence in God, even in the face of?uncertainty.
?Faithisthe anchor of Christianity.
?Faithisthe essence of Christianity.
?Faithadds beauty/ colours to our lives.
?FaithinChrist secures for the believers justification before God and freedom from?condemnation.
?Faithisthe key to unlock your miracles and breakthrough.
?Faithworks when all efforts fail.
?Faithisan invisible weapon to crush the devil and his hosts.
?Faithisthe opposite of fear.
?Fearisthe enemy of faith.
?Faithisthe language of winners.
?Faithisan infallible antidote against sickness, diseases, failure, stagnation,?limitation, frustration, barrenness, untimely death, etc.
?Faithisfake without corresponding action.
?Anunused faith is a tragedy.
?Faithdoes not give up until victory is achieved.
?Withoutfaith, it is impossible to please God: because anyone who comes to Him must?believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly/ diligently seek Him.
Living a Life of Faith
Galatians 3: 11-14 says, Clearly, no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." The Christian life is characterized by faith in Christ Jesus. Everything about the Christian race is based on faith. By faith, we appropriate God s promises for us and even believe in His existence. Living by faith, to us, is not negotiable but a must, because only through it we shall be counted worthy of God s call and purpose for humanity.
Faith in God is a powerful force that changes things when put into action. It is interesting to note that one does not need to have great faith to be able to operate in the fullness of God s plan for his / her life. If only our faith can be as little as a mustard seed, we are able to overcome all impossibilities. Most times, our inability to believe and operate in God s word for us hinders and limits the move of God in our lives. The expression the just (righteous) shall live by faith is a wonderful affirmation on the life pattern required of a believer. Those that live by faith can be described as those who act in such a way, that their behaviours are in agreement with the standard of God.
God honours faith How can a person live by faith? True faith in God is not unproductive. Wherever there is faith in God through Jesus Christ, it acts and works. Faith fuels the vehicle of hope. Faith is always expressed in action. Such faith is known by what it does or produces. Hebrews 11:1-3 teaches us that faith is a firm persuasion of the things we hope for; it is having a firm confidence in God that He will do as He has promised. Faith permits a person
to rejoice in firm assurance, while waiting for the accomplishment of the promise given by God; knowing that God cannot lie. This kind of faith pleases God, for “without faith it is impossible to please Him”. Faith pleases God so much that He approves and blesses those that put their trust in Him.
Paul s Admonition
Paul declares that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. When he says “as it is written, the just shall live by faith”, Paul is saying that righteousness by faith is not a new idea, but found in the Prophets (Hab. 2:4). He is saying that that there is only justification by faith; no works righteousness; no salvation through the Law of Moses but only through faith. In other words, there is no salvation, no hope, no righteousness to be found in the flesh.
The word “righteousness” means to declare “not guilty” and to declare someone innocent of all charges. If you are righteous in God s eyes, you can stand before Him and be declared “not guilty”. The righteousness of God, the power of God as seen through the Gospel, is the righteousness that Jesus Christ imparts to His own, thereby justifying them. It is the only righteousness that we have, the only justification. That imputed righteousness, and that faith is the only hope and help that we have. We are only just because of that faith, and it was a free gift. We live by that faith, with full reliance upon our God and because of that faith.
The Gospel of Christ provides for us what we could never provide for ourselves. On our own merit we all stand condemned before the Almighty God. Who would dare to say, “I am good enough to go to heaven?” As someone has said, “A clear conscience is the result of a poor memory”. Righteousness is what we need but do not have. Therefore God, knowing that we could never be righteous on our own, provided a righteousness that comes down to us from heaven above. It s not earned or deserved but is given to us by God as a free gift. It comes not from within us as a result of our good deeds, but from outside of us entirely. Where can a guilty sinner find righteousness? He can find it in Jesus Christ.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus name.
The righteousness from God is received only by faith. The key word here is faith. It is faith alone and faith always. How can I be right with God? The answer is simple: By receiving the righteousness of God that comes only by faith. The Bible says, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22b-23). No difference between the rich and the poor, young and old, black or white, male or female. We all stand condemned by our sins and all of us are under the judgment of God. Our sins may not be exactly the same, but we are all sinners nonetheless. If God does not do something, we will all perish together. Jesus Christ was pure, holy, and perfect in every way. He never sinned, not even one time. Though he was severely tempted, he never gave in. From the murder of a perfect man came God s plan to rescue the human race. Therefore if you come to God on the basis of the righteousness provided by the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved.
While the word faith means belief or absolute trust, it s more than that. The word also implies loyalty and commitment. Faith means being convinced that something is true. In 1 Corinthians 15:17, the apostle told the Corinthians that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, their faith was meaningless. He was saying that all they believed was utterly useless. True faith acknowledges that the message of Jesus death and resurrection is true. True faith begins when we are receptive, when we are willing to listen. True faith happens when we say, “Not only does it make sense to me, but I m willing to stake my life on it.” Paul quoted from Habakkuk 2:4, saying that the just, the righteous, shall live by faith. One way to think of the just is to think of those who were “justified,” or made right, by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
If we are justified, it means that God treats us as though we are not and have never been sinners. He treats us as His own beloved children. Instead of being God s enemies, we are now His friends. When God calls us just, or righteous, we enter into a relationship of love, confidence, and friendship. We need not fear or worry because there is no punishment for us. When Paul says the just and upright shall live by faith, he means that those of us who have been made right with God live by our faith. That is, we live by our trust in the God who reaches out to us. The challenges of life are there, but we do not give Satan the opportunity to remind us of past failures.
Abel s Faith
The example of Abel shows us where the life of faith begins. Hebrews 11:4 says, By faith, Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous. This is a good description of the beginning of the life of faith. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans10: 17). Abel brought his sacrifice by faith, believing that God was merciful and would accept the death of an innocent substitute in his place. This is where the life of faith begins. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God died in our place. He is the innocent victim; the innocent Substitute Who died in our place. The sinner is pardoned and accepted by God and he obtains witness that he is righteous. Whosoever God accepts, He counts to be righteous. All who are justified and accepted by God because of faith in our perfect Substitute and Saviour also receive divine assurance in their hearts that they are forgiven, righteous and justified. Noah s Faith
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved… and prepared an ark. There had never been rain, much less a flood, before God spoke to Noah. Rain and flood were “things not seen as yet”. The entire world, walking by sight, did not believe that there could be such things. It took the courage of faith in the midst of ridicule and opposition for Noah to build the Ark. He believed God s Word, feared the coming judgment, and that faith led him to obedience. He believed God s warning that He had determined to send a flood and destroy the wicked world. Noah is an example of unique obedience. He moved with fear and prepared an ark to rescue members of his family. He escaped the Judgment of God because he believed in Him. It is by faith that the sinner is saved and escapes judgment (Acts 16:31; John 5:24). It is by faith that Christ dwells in the heart (Ephesians 3: 17). It is by faith that we live (Galatians 2:20). It is by faith that we stand (Romans 11:20; 2 Corinthians 1:24). Faith is evidential and substantial; you have not seen it but you know that it is real. Every good report is a product of faith.
God manifests Himself to each person and then we either respond by faith or suppress the truth within our heart. When truth is suppressed, faith is lost. The just shall live by faith not by works of any law. Abraham, the father of faith was justified by faith before even the law was given. Abrahamic faith is a living faith; an extra-ordinary faith; an incredible faith. It is simply unbelievable! (Roman 4: 1-3, 18-24; Genesis 12:1-9; 15:1-6).
Abraham s demonstration of his unwavering faith in God is instructive for us today. “Now the Lord had said to Abram, Get out of your country, from your family and from your father s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great. … So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him” (Genesis 12:1-2, 4). Hebrews 11:8 tells us what was so extraordinary about this departure: By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. Abraham departed, he trusted and believed God that He would guide him and his family into an uncharted territory. There was no questioning and no wavering. He showed his faith by departing. This was a profound act of faith.
Paul wrote about Abraham s faith in Romans 4:3: “For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. This quote came from Genesis 15:6. What example of Abraham s faith was Paul referring to? The answer is in Genesis 15:4-6: And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir. Then He brought him outside and said, Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. And He said to him, so shall your descendants be. And he believed the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. This extraordinary, unwavering belief that Abraham had in God s power and promises was what Paul recounted; Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, so shall your descendants be. And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform (Romans 4:18-21).
Abrahamic faith is a living faith. Paul noted that Abraham s belief was unhampered by the fact that he was almost a hundred years old; he was not weak in faith. He was strong in faith. Faith is a deep conviction that God s words are true and that God will perform all that He promises. Abraham simply believed that God would do what He said. Nothing is too difficult for God. Nothing is impossible for God. That is an example for all of us today, that our faith should be strong in God. We need to do what our father Abraham did. We need to believe that God can do the impossible and that nothing is too hard for God. We need to believe in God s power and promises, without wavering. We need to believe and be willingly obedient to God.
Christ s death and resurrection is the foundation for a life of faith. It is the beginning of a journey of trusting the Lord Jesus for everything we need. God s grace, through faith in the finished work of Jesus, brings eternal life. But faith does not end there. While Christ s death saves from the penalty of sin, we must continue to have faith that He is also saving us from the power of sin. This belief affects our everyday lives. It stretches us and deepens our dependence on God as we learn that we cannot live the Christian life perfectly on our own.
Some Basic Benefits We Enjoy From Living By Faith
1. We become children of God. But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become sons of God, even to them that that believe on His name (John 1:12).
2. By faith we possess life eternal and avert eternal damnation. For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3;16).
3. We are justified by faith, made righteous, clean and reconciled to God. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
The Profitability of Faith
4. Faith is important for the demonstration of power (Acts 6:8; 2Thess. 1:11; 1Pet. 1:5; Mark 5:28-38). The presence of faith is the presence of power; the fullness of faith is the fullness of power. Those who walk in faith never beg for power. The people of faith are movers and shakers because of the availability of power.
5. Faith is key to glory (John 11:40; 1Pet. 1:8; Mark 10:27; Mark 9:23). The faith realm is the glory realm. Faith moves people to the realm of God, that is, the realm of possibilities (Mark 10:27; 9:23). The strength of your faith in God determines the security of your destiny. Life becomes glorious when faith is alive.
6. Faith is important for receiving God s blessings (Gal. 3:9; 13-14; Ps. 27:13). Faith connects a person to the blessings of God. To believe or to have faith is to see the goodness of the Lord and faith is a doorway to the blessing. Faith moves you to an enviable status. The faith realm is the realm of escape from the curses of life.
7. Faith is key to wholeness (Matt. 9:22; 15:28; Mark 10:52; Luke 17:19). Faith makes whole; faith repairs and restores lives and destinies. Faith is the cure for the deficiencies and insufficiencies of life.
8. Faith is key to victory and triumph (1John 5:4; Heb. 11:32-34). Faith is the guarantee for victory, any day, anytime and anywhere. Faith will make a victor out of a victim, a captain out of a captive and a conqueror out of the conquered. By faith we subdue kingdoms, obtain promises, stop the mouths of lions, quench the violence of fire, escape the edge of the sword, we wax valiant in fight and turn to flight the armies of the aliens (Heb.11:32-34).
The Necessity of Faith
It is very critical to know that faith is a non-negotiable necessity for the Christian life and adventure on the face of the earth. Faith is also one of the most valuable assets of a visionary leader; the faith-way of life was the way of leaders like Nehemiah, Joseph and Daniel, etc. Therefore, it is very important to look at the necessity of faith.
If you want your faith to work, you must look away from man. The Bible says that they looked up to him and they were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed (Psalm 34:5). Jeremiah 17:5-7; makes us to understand that the one who looks unto man is cursed. Faith attracts substantial evidence of the reality of God into the life of the believer. Faith is a spiritual force that commits God s integrity to make good His promise. This means that if God has said anything to you and you have faith, you have committed His integrity that He will make happen what He said, and He cannot lie. You cannot be a man/woman of faith and be without proofs. It gives you access to all your inheritance in Christ. It guarantees your access to every inheritance you have in Christ. Faith is the bridge that connects you to your destination. God has no problem confirming His word; He is only looking for who will trust Him.
To live by faith suggests a life of absolute trust, dependence, commitment and obedience to the Lord Jesus. In fact, our daily life of faith is the evidence of our justification. That is to say genuine faith always affects the decision and lifestyle of the person exercising the faith.
Hebrews Chapter 11 is the most popular piece about faith. It has the list of heroes of faith. One interesting thing is that the writer s style of reference to these heroes of faith opens our eyes to the fact that faith, like love, is not passive but active. These people were heroes of faith because of the fruit of faith. Heb. 11:4, “By faith, Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.”Heb. 11:17, “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice”. Faith is a producer of good deeds. The evidence of our faith is the good deeds we produce. This is what James emphasized when he talked about faith without work; “So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead”.
If there is any time for believers to take actions based on our conviction in the person and work of Christ, this is the best time. It is high time we moved from intellectual acceptance of Christ to practical commitment in deeds. One of the things that have bedeviled the Christendom is people living by confession not by commitment. A lot of Christians have confessed Christ but are not committed to Him. Our commitment to Christ both in and outside the church goes a long way to tell others of the grace of justification we have received. Our commitment to Christ is one way to show that we truly understand the meaning of faith. Quality service offered to God and humanity is an evidence of a committed faith.
Moreover, in this generation in which the political leadership has failed woefully, it is important that as people who have been redeemed and justified, we put our absolute trust and reliance on the Lord who alone is capable of giving us good and visionary political leaders. Like the words of Prophet Jeremiah, “Woe is the man who put his trust in the arm of flesh” (Jer. 5:17) so it is for any believer who put his/her trust in the human government. In this present evil age (Gal. 1:4), only those who depend and commit themselves to the Lord are guaranteed sustenance and true life. Human connections, money and position will not save anybody from the impending wrath that is to come on the wicked or those who do not put their faith in his son, Jesus Christ.
Also, the reality of the metaphysical world in this part of the world is one of the reasons the just must put his faith in the lord always. In line with John when he says, “Who is he that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God?” (1Jn, 5:5) The world in the sense of John is cosmos, i.e. the world in its holistic view; physical & spiritual. Therefore, the assurance of victory over the world is contingent on the faith of the believers in the person of Jesus Christ. Living a life of daily victory is possible for those who believe and trust the Lord always.
Faith is much more than a biblical concept. Faith is a lifestyle. It is not a worldly lifestyle, it is a kingdom lifestyle. In the Kingdom wherein we belong, faith is a way of life. In the World, some believe culture is a way of life. Our salvation, preservation, sustenance, provision, etc. are by the grace of the Lord. Rom. 8:32 “He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for all, how will he not also with him graciously, give us all things” Our good works and deeds should be seen as a means of appreciating God for all that he has freely given us.
There is nothing that we have attained, or would attain that is not by faith. Take for instance; our justification is by faith (Romans 5:1). Our salvation is by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). How we would ever walk to please God in this present ungodly and immoral world is by faith as well (Colossians 2:6-7). Faith is so important that God made us to know in Hebrews 11:6 that “without faith, it will be impossible to please Him.” That simply tells you that pleasing God is by faith. In other words, your tithe may not please God, your offering (in financial terms), may not please Him. Being religious may not please Him as well. But something does please God, and that is faith.
Framing Your World By Faith Using God s Word (Hebrew 11:3).
You have your world in God s Word. God created the world and gave the earth and that is in it to man. Every man functions well in his field. The Scripture is the manual of life. God is our manufacturer, we are His products. You are too little in knowledge to run your life without recourse to God. Other books only inform, it s only the bible that transforms. The word of God is our food for growth. It s not enough to be born, you have to grow. Bread is food to the body as the word of God is food for the spirit. The word of God shows us our real identities. Christ has placed us far above principalities and powers; therefore, we must stop wasting time holding meetings over these ones. We need to use the authority we already have, command them and place them where they belong.
How Do We Get Faith?
1. Through the Word of God: You will have to study to know the Word of God. Rom 10:17: … faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. God will speak to you from His Word or out of His Word and by that you hear the voice of God and know the mind of God. That is faith. Your faith must be based on the Word of God. Therefore you daily meditate on the Word of God.
2. Through Prayer: But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20-21). When we ask for faith, it shall be given to us. Prayer and faith will take you to a new level in Christ. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8; I John 5:14,15).
3. Through Obedience: When the Word of God becomes the basis for what we do and we do what God commands us to do, we build up our faith. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land (Isaiah 1:19).
4. Through Action/ Steps of Faith: When you receive the Word of God, you act on it. Your step of faith will launch you into the supernatural and miraculous. (Isaiah 26:3,4). I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:23-24).
5. Sublime Trust/Confidence: Some previous supernatural intervention, miracles and divine testimonies become the basis for what you believe. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded (Heb. 10:35). You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you (Isaiah 26:3). It becomes the new realm you walk in, move in, live in, and have your being.
Your perception is your reality. God declares a sinner righteous if she puts her trust in the efficacy of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The sinner now has a right standing or righteousness which is not her own, but that which is impacted by grace. We cannot begin the Christian life through faith in Christ and attempt to sustain such by our own effort. The way of faith is the way of a Christian. The mindset you should have as a believer is that each tribulation experience is aimed at producing something worthwhile in your life - perseverance, character and hope. These three things will bring you closer to your testimony, if you don t fail when you are being tested. Tribulation is a test or trial. After a successful test comes promotion if you do not fail. Have faith in God to see you through it, and in the end, you would be glad that you didn t compromise.
What has the Lord told you to do concerning the situation that troubles you even now? Just do it. Nothing is impossible. What is your excuse for not doing it right away? You cannot climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets. Half-hearted belief can divert God s promise or glory for you to another. Do not allow anybody to kill your dream or vision. If God has said it, He will do it, for He watches over His Word to perform it (Jer. 1:12). Just do your part. Believe act; while the victory and success shall be yours, all the glory will be to God.
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