Monday: Living by Faith
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In Habakkuk 1:12-17, God’s answer to Habakkuk’s questions poses an even more vexing question:

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

can a righteous God use the wicked to punish those who are more righteous than they? Habakkuk’s question in verse 17 had to do with divine justice.

Habakkuk was puzzled, not only by the degeneration of his own people but also by the certainty that his country would be judged by another nation, one worse. The prophet was well aware of Judah’s sins but, by any standards, his people, particularly the righteous among them, were not as wicked as the pagan Babylonians.

Read Habakkuk 2:2-4. What hope is presented there?

Habakkuk 2:2-4 is one of the most important passages in the Bible. Habakkuk 2 Verse 4, in particular, expresses the essence of the gospel, the foundation of the verse that arguably started the Protestant Reformation. Through faith in Jesus Christ we receive God’s righteousness; we are credited with the righteousness of God Himself. His righteousness becomes ours. It is what is known asjustification by faith.

Verse 4 is a summary statement of the way of salvation and of the biblical teaching about justification by faith. How did the New Testament writers use this verse? Rom. 1:17Gal. 3:11Heb. 10:38.

In the midst of all this turmoil and questions about evil, justice, and salvation, Habakkuk 2:4 presents a sharp contrast between the faithful and the proud. The conduct of each group determines its fate: the arrogant will fail while the righteous will live by faith. The original Hebrew word for faith (‘emuna) is best rendered as “faithfulness,” “constancy,” and “dependability.” While the one who lives by faith is not saved by his works, his works show that he lives by faith. His faith is revealed in his works and thus that person is promised life eternal.

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Monday: Living by Faith — 24 Comments

  1. habbakuk 2:4
    The contrast given in this verse outlines two groups whose present choices determine their final judgement. I see the role faith plays in an individual's life. Our alligiance is to the force that wins our hearts, and faithfully we serve the master of our choice. Whatever we do reveals whose side we are in. Our trust in God determines our response toward his instruction. Please help us Lord. Our carnal mind is our own doom.

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  2. Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38. gives us insight in our Adventist faith in Jesus Who we found in Heavenly Sanctuary to clean our sins of transgression the Law of God. It is meant for us to continue in our faith to be purified to the end. Not to stop in the way or He will not find pleasure in us.
    Arrogance boasts of his righteousness and he is a liar.
    1 John 1:8-10
    If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

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  3. Habakkuk raised questions that I think all of us ask at one time or another. As he looked at the situation at that time in history he couldn't understand how God was relating to His people. To him there was a confusion, a contradiction, in his understanding of God's character. He knew all the stories of how God helped His people in the past with all the miracles that attended most of it and yet it appeared that God was doing nothing for his people in his day. To him it wasn't like it was with Moses or even during the period of the Judges. That same kind of thinking also seems to be a problem with us today.

    To Habakkuk, his contemporaries, and those before him God was everything as Isaiah wrote, "I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things" (Isa. 45:7 NKJV). Not until after the Babylonian captivity did they seem to begin to realize that there was another element working in the world. Such an understanding would account for the difference between 2 Sam 24:1 and 1 Chron 21:1. The book of Samuel is thought to have been written about 1000 BC, way before the captivity (fourth century BC), where Chronicles is believed to have been written sometime after everyone was taken off to Babylon probably during the Persian period, decades after Habakkuk.

    To us we should understand that when we separate ourselves from God He has no choice but to allow what we choose because He is a god of freedom. Such a thing results in God pulling out and allowing Satan in. Since Satan ferociously hates those who have anything to do with God it is no wonder that calamity strikes like it did with Job and the many times it happened during the wilderness wanderings and again at Ai (Joshua 7).

    Therefore, when God said, "For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans" (Hab. 1:6 NKJV) He was simply saying what He was allowing Satan to do. It is the same as when He pulled out of Jerusalem in Christ's time that ended in the destruction of that city and eventual exile of the Jews by the Romans from the land God originally promised them and if you are willing to accept it, it is the same that will happen under the seven last plagues.

    It was Satan's involvement that Habakkuk was unaware of and the reason he questioned God concerning what was going to happen. To him God should have taken care of the sin within Israel on a local level within the family but it was Israel's rejection of God on a national level that caused God to pull His protection from His people.

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    • Interesting point with difference between 2 Sam 24:1 and 1 Chron 21:1.
      In our class we have like that dissscusion. Q: Does God punish us, or leaves us to satan. Some argue even that sometimes in OT Name of God was used insted of the name of satan.
      When OT states like “For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans” than I preffere to take it litteraly.
      Personaly I prefer a situation to be punished by God. If I am leaved to satan, that sounds even more cruelly. I prefer to be punished by the Father. He is in control. Alelujah.

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      • I do not believe Satan can punish anyone.
        The following is a definition from Wikipedia: Punishment (also known as discipline or penalty) is the authoritative imposition of something undesirable or unpleasant on, or the removal of something desirable or pleasant from, a person, animal, organization or entity in response to behavior deemed unacceptable by an individual, group or other entity.

        It is a long definition but I think from this we can see that the intention of punishment is to bring about a change in behavior. It is very much part of discipline and is a penalty for not following a set of laws, rules or guidelines. With this in mind the word punishment can only be used in reference to God, because only He desires our good, and if our behavior does not change sometimes He resorts to punishment just as a loving parent would.
        Satan on the other hand does not desire our good nor does he want us change our behavior for the better. Satan does not punish, he destroys. When bad things happen because of Satan's actions it certainly is not because he hopes we will change and listen to God; quite the opposite. He hopes we will blame God (ref,Job).

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        • Irene,

          I see your point, but in the Bible dictionary maybe there is a broader meaning, see:
          1 Corinthians 5:5
          Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
          1 Corinthians 5:4-6 (in Context)

          So we do have destruction but the goal is saving.
          Disscusion was that God lifted His protection when we sinned, and that left us to Satan's dominion. I personally don't like that kind of explanation, but consider the above verse, that is an interesting one.

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    • Please use initial capital letters when referring to The Godhead, for example God, The Lord, He, Him, His, You, Yours, etc. Let us give our Heavenly Father the respect that is due to Him.

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      • The use of capital letters for the first letter of a pronoun representing God is a historical thing and it is gradually disappearing. I do not see it as disrespect, merely a change in fashion. We give reverence and respect to God by the way we live, and the way we represent Him to others. Ultimately that is more important than capitalization of the first letters of pronouns.

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  4. Sometimes living by faith is just for the bravest and risk takers. Help us Lord to have faith in you.

    The longer we serve Him the stronger our faith grow.

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  5. God is not a respector of men. Even those Babylonians were created by Him hence He used them to punished the "righteous"

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  6. Everyone around us and in our lives are equally valuable to God and invaluable to us in ways we can discover. Even those who are our enemies in some form or fashion are the very ones that God can use mightily in our lives for our good. Sometimes that "good" will seem tarnished by their selfishness or cruelty. Still, even though their choices are such that God would never condone, He can bring about much good in our lives if we turn to Him with our challenges involving that or those problem people.

    We can give our difficulties that involve others over to God and He definitely will bring about untold good. Just as in Israel's history, many situations come about because of our own poor choices. However, even these situations with the others involved can be stepping stones and learning tools God can use in our lives when we surrender to Him anew.

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  7. Living by faith is not easy. Many people especially Christians think that they have faith but they have a mere belief which isn't faith. There is a difference between faith and belief. We read in James2:19 that demons 'believe' and tremble but this isnt faith. The disciples thought they had faith but when Christ presented to them what it means to be a Christian they said, 'Lord increase our faith' (Luke17:5)
    Greater faith is not fearful of consequences or results of an action.

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  8. Here is an equation.
    Living by faith
    LIVING is from the word 'LIFE'. Who is life? Jesus says He is LIFE. John14:6. So for us to live we need Jesus. This implies that there must be a relationship with Christ, that is, we must walk with Him. All the heroes of faith most of them we are told that they walked with God. Abraham walked with God (Galatians3) Enoch walked with God (Genesis5) Noah walked with God (Genesis6) Job walked with God (Job1)
    So for us to live by faith the foundation is Christ and he calls us to abide in Him for us to bear fruit (John15:1-3)
    What is FAITH now? Paul says in Hebrews11:1 that 'faith is the evidence of things not seen'. This involves taking God at His Word even when it doesntt make sense. This will not be a problem as long as we have 'LIFE', that is Jesus as our foundation.
    The problem with some people is they want to have faith without Jesus who is the Living water, the Bread of Life, the Way, the Truth, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Wonderful Counsellor and the Lamb who taketh away the sin of the world (John1:29)
    The foundation of living by faith is Christ. What wil you do without this foundation? David says, 'if the foundation be destroyed what shall the righteous do?' Psalms11:3.

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  9. Is it for the bravest? Really? Remember only God can increase our faith (Luke17:5)
    A mere belief isn't faith! Knowing the 2300day prophecy isn't faith. Demons believe and tremble (James2:19) but this isn't faith.
    Again I dont believe faith grows by the longer we serve Him. Judas walked with Christ for three and a half years but was still a non-believer but the centurion soon after meeting Christ he was said to be having greater faith. Peter was told by Christ that when you have repented strengthen thy brethren after walking by Christ for more that three years.
    Faith grows by first having a personal encounter with Jesus.

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  10. Faith and Hope best is LOVE Jesus loves you all smile Trust God and keep Hope best future be happy and smile and Love praise God wow a man to God Praise him wow
    Hope

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  11. There is a fair bit of ambiguity in the Old Testament about the source of good and evil. Satan gets little mention and in one instance his name is used interchanged with God. (See the Kings/Chronicles versions of David taking a census of the children of Israel). That does not bother me all that much. The issue of good and evil is always complex. Part of the problem is that while God is not the source of evil, he will use that evil for our best good. As a person who was always rushing around never thinking of the big questions of life, I found that a back injury forcing me to have an operation and three months of recovery something evil. However the forced inactivity provided me with an opportunity to stop and reflect and read about the big questions of life. Ultimately the evil of a back injury was used by God for my best good. I don't think God caused my back injury, but used he opportunity to provide healing for my soul.

    C S Lewis stated this principle most clearly in "The Problem of Pain" ~p90 - paraphrased - God is the source of good, The evil one is the source of evil, God uses that evil for our best good. And that gives rise to the complex picture of good and evil that we experience. (sorry I cannot give an exact quote - I am camping in the wilds of Tasmania and do not have my books with me!)

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    • I agree with you.
      We are lost siners and history of God dealing with us is to save us from condemnation. So present evil often stops us from straight going to the Judgement Day to recieve what our deeds deserves.

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  12. When Habakkuk questions God about why He chose the Chaldeans as the executors of His judgment against Judah, Habakkuk is claiming that the Chaldeans were more sinful than the Judeans. How often do we look at others this way? How often do we say, “Yes, I am imperfect, but at least I’m not as bad as…”? Habakkuk’s problem and ours in these cases is pride, or the sinful belief that we are better (or less sinful) than others. Habakkuk’s mistake here is the implication that less sin is somehow better than more sin. God tells us otherwise (Romans 3:23). In fact, the Judeans deserved no less punishment than the Chaldeans and God’s contrast between the proud and the faithful (Habakkuk 2:4) was also meant for Habakkuk whose very complaint (Habakkuk 1:13) exposed his pride.

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    • Hoppe,
      l also agree with that point. In the book, Habakkuk addresses what is really transpiring in our lives. What most of us do is judge others according to what we believe is right on our eyes.
      We tend to look at the non believers as people who are sinners of a high calliber and therefore their salvation is a million miles away.
      Rom 3:23, really points out our state in the sight of God that we all need his amasing saving grace because we are all sinners. That is through faith in Him.

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  13. I believe that everything we do in our daily lives is based on faith
    If we come to think at a point we believe our parents are our true parents cause of faith they might as well not be biological but because we grow up believing and having faith they are, believe and faith goes hand in hand. If I don't believe than I don't have faith,both goes in hand
    May the "Lord increase our faith as we wait for his second coming

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  14. We keep the ten commandments,
    we abide in Christ,
    Christ shines through us,
    we say lo this is our God
    take us home. Now He may decide He has more
    for us to introduce to Him before He comes, what is that to us?

    The righteous shall live by faith. Romans 1:17, Gal. 3:11, Romans. 10:38. We keep the ten commandments by the power Christ gives us, we have nothing in ourselves that we can look at and say, we did it. Now we can say, I have fought a good fight, I have stayed the course, hence forth there is laid up for me a crown. We have read all of Paul's writings and know that he is talking about threw Christ, and by His power are we able to hear Him say, well done, my child, enter into the joy I have prepared for you.
    Read with me from The Message [A paraphrase of the Bible].
    Hebrew's 10:32-39 MSG
    Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn't touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don't throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It's still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God's plan so you'll be there for the promised completion. It won't be long now, he's on the way; he'll show up.
    Yes we need to trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus.
    Now, we don't want to try to keep the ten commandments from a feeling of obligation only, this becomes a burden, and we soon lose interest. We obey because of a principle in our hearts. The law is written in our hearts as a barometer of our relationship with Jesus Christ, springing forth as a love for righteousness.

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