“The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb. 10:38).
The whole biblical truth of being saved by faith in Christ and by God’s grace alone thrills my entire being. It teaches that salvation, the securing of ones soul to spend eternity in heaven in the presence of God is based on faith all by itself in what Jesus the Christ did in his death, burial, resurrection, ascension and exaltation.
Most people forget this truth flowed from the Old Testament. In Habbakuk chapter two, a prophet troubled by the terrible times in which he lived was yelling out to God for answers. He so prayed boldly he scared himself, for he knew at any moment that he was going to hear from the awesome God so he braced himself for the answer.
The answer came with Sovereign grace! God replied that he wanted him to write his answer in letters so large that everyone can read and make it so plain that everyone can understand it. This vision of the future may seem slow in coming but it is steady and sure and he says this: “The just shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4). Glory to God. Others may live with their bloated self ego in religious activities not knowing where they stand for God and only basing their relationship to him on the basis of what they do for him, but the just, soul made right with God by embracing the glorious transaction that took place on the cross is made right with God and lives all their life in light of God’s promises. The writer of Hebrews reiterates this, “For yet a little while he that shall come will come and not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb. 10:37-39).
They believe to the saving of the soul! We do not have to dumb down the scriptures and present the some “gospel for dummies” but, oh that we in plain large letters in our preaching would make plain the doctrine of justification by faith. This is what Martin Luther called the “wonderful exchange” that Christ took our place and became our sin and we became his righteousness. It is our hope and we cannot please God in anything that we do because we fall so short of the glory of God that salvation is unfathomable and impossible to achieve by ourselves.
But like Abraham in Genesis 15:5-6 we are told to gaze at heaven, even beyond those stars and see the infinite gap between us and God and believe his promise of salvation procured by God the Son. That we would simply trust in the God who cannot lie that heaven and eternity have been opened up to those who embrace this promise. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39).