Hab.2:4 – But the just shall live by his faith.
This is a verse of scripture that changed the entire world. Paul preached this truth passionately and through this revelation of justification by faith and living by faith New Testament Christianity penetrated the non-jewish world. This verse also was instrumental in birthing the Protestant Reformation which changed Western Civilization and is still changing our world today. Obviously the Apostle Paul and Martin Luther came to the same conclusions from reading this simple verse. They saw that faith in God is what justifies man, not his good deeds. Further, they both believed and taught that it was this faith in God that justified them that also propelled them into a different kind of faith. Those justified by faith will live by faith. Luther said it like this, “The Apostle draws into his argument the testimony of the Prophet Habakkuk: “The just shall live by his faith.” This passage carries much weight because it eliminates the Law and the deeds of the Law as factors in the process of our justification”. Albert Barnes points out that we are not only are justified by faith, we also live by faith.
“By this faith in God, each righteous person begins to live piously, righteously, holily, peacefully and divinely, and advances therein, since in every tribulation and misery, by this faith and hope in God he sustains, strengthens, and increases this life of the soul. He says then, “the just lives by faith,” the unbelieving and unrighteous displeases God, and consequently will not live by the true, right, peaceful and happy life of grace, present righteousness, and future glory because God is displeased with him, and He places his hopes and fears, not in God, but in human beings and man’s help and in created things. But the righteous who believes in God shall live a right, sweet, quiet, happy, holy, untroubled life, because, fixed by faith and hope in God who is the true Life, and in God’ s promises, he is dear to God, and the object of His care.”
So the revolution continues; just as the Apostle Paul was delivered from the bondage of being a Pharisee and Luther threw off the shackles of being a Catholic monk; we too are being liberated today. Faith liberates us from the chains of sinful behavior as well as breaking the shackles of some system of works or self help program. The justified live a new kind of life, a life empowered and sustained by faith.