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“By Faith”

“But the righteous will live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4 NASB)

Amid the turmoil and complexities of his world, nation, life, and calling, Habakkuk brought his questions to God. God answered them, and God’s answer was “by faith.” God says the same to us today. “Trust Me. Have faith in Me. You know Who I am, what I am like, and what I have done to redeem you.”

Saved By Faith

People ask important questions every day: “What time is it?” “When will you be home?” “Is your seatbelt fastened?” “Is dinner ready?” “Do you love me?” Yet, the most important question we can ever ask is “How am I saved?” And if this seems like a trivial question, imagine asking it on your deathbed. Or imagine asking it apart from the Word of God.

Some days we feel wonderful, skipping along with joy in our hearts and Amazing Grace on our lips. But on other days we feel like the tax collector in the parable who said, “God have mercy on me, the sinner.” (Luke 18:13 NASB) Or like the Apostle Paul who said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV)

If you have never experienced the crushing weight of sin or guilt, you will. And when you do, what would you like to hear from God? “Sorry, but I’m all out of forgiveness. Come back tomorrow.” Or “Keep the Ten Commandments perfectly, and then we’ll talk.”

If God’s plan for our salvation were human works, the only certainty we could have would be the certainty of being lost and condemned. The Psalmist wrote: “If You, O Lord , kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared.” (Psalm 130:3-4 ESV)

The Bible repeatedly teaches that salvation is not by doing but by believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1 ESV) And, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV) So, the biblical way to salvation is, as God told Habakkuk, “by faith.”

Living By Faith

However, the great truth of “by faith” applies not only to eternal life but also to daily life. When suffering illness, we live by faith that God will take care of us. When struggling with finances, we live by faith that God will provide for us. When endeavoring to repair a troubled marriage or find the strength to forgive another person, we live by faith that God will empower us.

“Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” Habakkuk asked God (1:3 NIV). We ask the same question, don’t we? Who is in charge of the world, our national affairs, our lives? Anyone? Yet Someone is in charge. His name is Jesus Christ. And He has all power in heaven and on earth. And everything happening in the world today is under His complete control.

We don’t see this with our eyes. But we do see it clearly by faith.

Mark Weis is a professor at Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.