Today's Foundations Devotional: The basis of all righteous living
Perhaps the most all-inclusive statement concerning the relationship between faith and righteousness is found in Habakkuk 2:4.
The just shall live by his faith.
The two English words just and righteous are two alternative ways of translating one and the same word in the original text. This applies equally to the Hebrew of the Old Testament and to the Greek of the New Testament. In both languages there is only one root word which, as an adjective, can be translated either by “just” or by “righteous,” and, as a noun, can be translated either by “justice” or by “righteousness.” Whichever translation may be used, there is no difference whatever in the original sense.
Thus, in translating Habakkuk 2:4 we may say either “the just shall live by his faith” or “the righteous shall live by his faith.”
This statement of Habakkuk is quoted three times in the New Testament: in Romans 1:17, in Galatians 3:11 and in Hebrews 10:38. In each of these three passages the New King James Version renders it, “The just shall live by faith.” It would be difficult to think of any sentence as short and simple as this which has produced as great an impact upon the history of the human race.
In the New King James Version the entire sentence consists of only six or seven words, none of which contains more than one syllable. Yet this sentence provided the basic, scriptural authority for the gospel message preached by the apostolic Church. The proclamation of this simple message by a tiny, despised minority changed the course of world history. Within three centuries it brought to his knees the great Caesar himself, the head of the most powerful, the most far-reaching and the most enduring empire that the world had ever seen.
About twelve centuries later this same sentence, quickened by the Holy Spirit to the heart and mind of Martin Luther, provided the scriptural lever that dislodged the power of papal Rome and, through the Protestant Reformation, once again changed the course of history – first in Europe and then, by its outreach, in the world at large.
There is no doubt that, still today, this same simple sentence, when once apprehended and applied by faith, contains within it the power to revolutionise the lives of individuals or the course of nations and empires.
Though so short and so simple, the scope of this sentence, “The just shall live by faith,” is immense. The word live covers almost every conceivable condition or act of any sentient being. It covers all areas of the human personality and experience in every conceivable aspect – the spiritual, the mental, the physical, the material. It covers the widest possible range of activities – such as breathing, thinking, speaking, eating, sleeping, working and so on.
The Scripture teaches that, for any person to be accepted as righteous by God, all these activities within that person must be motivated and controlled by the one great principle of faith.
Thank You, Lord, that in my life too, faith is the constantly motivating, working, healing power. I am grateful to You for the all-innovating power of faith in my life, and throughout my life also in the lives of many people who entrust You to my influence, care and love. Amen.
We recommend this wonderful, inspiring book by Derek Prince about Faith: The power of faith.
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