Vol. 3, No. 19 – May 13, 2018
The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17
Words mean different things to different people. “Ball” is associated with a beautiful dress and an evening dance to a debutante; a ball means to the athlete something to throw, kick, or catch. To the business executive, being “on the ball” is an indication of competence and knowledgeable acumen.
The word can also appear in conversation when you have a conversation with a person whose ideas are off; they would be referred to as a “screw ball.” And then when the night is almost perfectly clear, the moon hangs in the sky like “a ball of green cheese.” My guess is that you have other illustrations.
The biblical word “just” means different things to different people as well (but to God it is specific in meaning).
One of the difficult teachings of the Scripture surrounds the explanation of justification, justify, justice, and just. God intends it to mean more than being upright, equitable, conforming to a standard, or even well-adjusted.
Theological stumblebums want it to mean what they want it to mean; and their position is, do not tinker with what they say it means.
The fact: It is for the man who is in a right relationship with God, not because of the works of his hands, but because of his utter faith in what the love of God has done – that is where the meaning and application of “just” falls. When the believer appears in eternity’s courtroom and hears the verdict of guilty, Christ steps forward to speak on their behalf. “No, not guilty,” redeemed through His atonement. The believer, by name, is pronounced cleansed, just-as-if-they-had-never-sinned! Justified. Not because of what they have done, but totally on the basis of what God has done for them. That is how His grace and mercy work!
That is the underpinning and the launching pad for the entire book of Romans.
The just shall live by faith; six monosyllables that sum up the Cristian doctrine. It is for every human that has chosen to follow Christ, receiving salvation offered by Him. It is accepting the grace that came down from heaven through a willing Savior, God’s Son Jesus Christ, offered to those who would believe and live in this broken world. It, salvation and justification, is available for every person of the earth; sadly and tragically, not every person of the earth will accept God’s offer.
The truth offered is really a text for the world; the new world’s text and the preacher’s text, the layperson’s text and the text for the Jews and the Greeks (Gentiles). It is the truth for Europeans, Asians, and Africans – well for everyone!
The text is true currently, but not exclusive for us. Over 2600 years ago, in a time that should have withered the stoutest heart, God’s servant placed a truth – I can see it in my mind’s eye, maybe on a billboard in downtown Babylon (Iraq) – it reads, “The just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). God’s Word does not disappear; the message is unchanging, appearing at least three times in the New Testament.
In Romans 1:17 the we read the truth again; the just shall live by faith. In the Galatian church under pressure, it is clear that the truth is once again present, the just shall live by faith (Galatians 3:11). Then in the Book of Hebrews, there it is again, re-echoed for the reader, the just shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38).
How many times does God have to say it?
These six words have started revolutions, revivals, and reformations. These six words have changed lives in families, churches, and even nations. The Jews reworked God’s Ten Commandments to turn them into 613 laws reflective of the number of Hebrew letters used in the Ten Commandments.
Sometimes religionists expand what God has said attempting to help Him out. It then gets confusing.
In Psalm fifteen, David brings them back to eleven; Isaiah reduces them to six, and Micah reduces them to three. And then whoa, Paul brings the words down into one dynamic, fantastic idiom: The just shall live by faith.
Six things about justification: God thought it; Christ bought it; the Holy Spirit wrought it; the Bible teaches it; faith seeks it; and Satan fights it.
And the absolute truth is that when you are justified, the position never ever changes because it depends upon God, and God is absolutely dependable.