Wednesday, February 03, 2016

By Faith the Righteous Live and Won't "Draw Back"

Four times the Bible uses the phrase "The righteous will live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 10:38). It's obvious that "faith" is important in the Bible. In fact, these four verses could be translated "By faith the righteous live." Faith sustains the righteous as much as it saves the righteous. "Kiss the Son" - that is, embrace by faith the Son of God - and He will not be angry (Psalm 2:12). In Hebrews 10:38, the fourth passage where Scripture states "the righteous will live by faith," the writer of Hebrews goes on to say that God is not pleased with the one who "draws back" from faith.
"But My righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who draws back ." (Hebrews 10:38)
The terminology "draws back" is language from the battlefield and references one who moves from a position of vulnerability to a fortress on a high place, seemingly protected.  It is the same language used by the prophet Habakkuk when he describes "the proud one, the one whose soul is not right within him." He is the one who "draws back to the high places" (Hebrews 10:38),  but "the righteous live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4).

The great 12th century Hebrew linguist, R. Moses Kimchi, comments on Habakkuk 2:4 and says,
He whose soul is not right in him places himself in a fortress or tower, to set himself on high there from the enemy, and does not return to God, nor seek deliverance of him; but the righteous has no need to place himself on high in a fortress, for he lives by his faith.  
John Gill  agrees that the proud one is he whose "soul is not right" and "places himself in a fortress or tower," drawing back into what he deems his safe place. Gill, like R. Moses Kimchi, believes the words of Habakkuk refers to proud Jews,
"...who boast of their Temple, and glory in it, and trust in their service and sacrifices at it; and trust in themselves, their religious rites and ceremonies, the traditions of their elders, and their moral works of righteousness for their tower of safety and their place of defense; neglecting the Messiah, the Rock of salvation.
Gill points out that the Temples sat on a high place called Ophel, part of the mountain of Zion in Jerusalem, and it was to that place proud Jews ran for their comfort of right standing with God.

But by faith the righteous live. 

I am often amazed at the number of people who understand that faith is important, but have very little understanding that the object of one's faith is primary in Scripture. Everyone has faith, but not everyone has faith in the Messiah. Some, like those Habakkuk calls "right in their souls,"  run to their religion, or to their commitment, or to their rituals, or to their traditions, or to their service, or to their self-righteousness -- their haughty and high mountain - for their place of defense and security.

But by faith the righteous live. 

Those who are really righteous never draw away from faith in the Messiah's Person, work and obedience. Those who are just place their faith in the Messiah's substitutionary death, burial and resurrection. The righteous trust in the Messiah's work, both His active and passive obedience, and never their own, whether it be their past or present commitments and promises.

But by faith the righteous live.

Quick. Give me twenty things for which you trust Christ. We should be able to give a thousand reasons for the "hope within us," but I'm only asking for twenty.

I trust Christ for_____________________

But by faith the righteous live.


Bob Cleveland said...

I have had prostate cancer but 7 years on, after radiation for a recurrence, my PSA is 0.01. I trust Him for that.
I trust Him to enable me to speak tonight, at my discipleship meeting with a friend, His truth from the Word that will build up my friend in the faith.
I trust Him to direct me as I prepare next Sunday Bible Study lesson for the Sunday School session.
I trust Him to awaken me tomorrow morning.
I trust Him to guide my thoughts and actions as I lead my Discipleship class on Sunday night.
I trust Him for wisdom in the stewardship of the income and assets He has blessed us with.
I trust Him for my next breath, as well as tomorrow's breath.
I trust Him to sustain Peggy, and ban further recurrences of her cancer.
I trust God to enable me to be the husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather He would have me to be.
I trust God to be clear in His communication to me, as opposed to trusting myself to be able to discern what He;s saying.
I trust Him to give me the desires of my heart.
I trust Him to keep His promise that His word will not return void.
I'm 77. That's kind of old. I trust Him for Heaven.

That's 13. I shall stop there, for now, in observance of the fact that we were married on Friday the 13th (of March, 1959) and 13 is our "lucky number".

I may add some more later.

Wade Burleson said...


Wade Burleson said...

1. I trust Him for favor, without any conditions on my part.
2. I trust Him for my righteousness, without any obedience on my part.
3. I trust Him for my forgiveness, without any promises on my part.
4. I trust Him for my future, without any commitment on my part.
5. I trust Him for my daily bread, without any reciprocal giving on my part.
6. I trust Him for rewards, without any merit on my part.
7. I trust Him for my acceptance, without any performance on my part.
8. I trust Him for His pleasure, without any worthiness on my part.
9. I trust Him to complete the work He's begun, without any dependence on my part.
10. I trust Him to raise me from the dead, without any effort on my part.
11. I trust Him to keep His promises, without any conditions on my part.
12. I trust Him to give blessings, without any worth on my part.
13. I trust Him to promote me as an heir with Christ, without cause on my part.
14. I trust Him to not condemn me, without merit on my part.
15. I trust Him to love me, without pure love on my part.
16. I trust Him to guide me, without showing any wisdom on my part.
17. I trust Him to protect me, without asking on my part.
18. I trust Him to benefit me, without any benefit for Him on my part.
19. I trust Him to see me as "the apple of His eye," with no sweetness on my part.
20. I trust Him for my entire deliverance, without any reason to deliver on my part.

Bob Cleveland said...

Yeah. Those too.

Christiane said...

two beloved prayers of my faith:

"Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us"
"Jesus, I trust in You"

KayJay said...

These are great! No, the Lord is great! What joy to read them, and as Wade so aptly put it, Boom!

Pege' said...

My Turn....
1.Love...especially for others.
2.Peace...that passes my understanding.
3. Provision as I seek His kingdom 1st.
4. REST... this has been so hard to learn.
6.Joy in hard places.
7. Reality of acceptance and strength to endure a hard place.
9.Hope beyond what my eyes can see.
11. Constant companionship.
13. Wisdom
14. Guidance.
15. Joy and Laughter.
16. Beauty.
17. Trust.
18. Thankfulness.
19. Vision.
20. Everything else I have forgotten...for he is all in all!!!

Pege' said...

Wade.....I really like your list....It is ALL of Christ!!!

Christiane said...

these comments are inspiring . . .

I have found that feeling thankful to God for all good things has become a real comfort as life tends to overwhelm with illnesses in the family and loss. There's something about going back through the day and gathering together all the 'good' in it and being grateful . . . sometimes I don't wait 'til day's end but something very simple will evoke a prayer of gratitude. The comfort? A feeling of peace in the midst of sadness, grief, and worry.

It's like a 'cycle' . . . thankfulness . . . the gift of peace . . . so it goes.

When all else seems worry and loss, to be able to gather what remains that is 'good' and to be grateful for this goodness is something that makes me trust Our Lord's mercy in times of trouble. There are no words for the depth of this trusting . . . it doesn't 'make sense', but that's okay, too.

Unknown said...

1. salvation
2. Hope
3. Faith
4. Discipline
5. Instruction
6. Forgiveness
7. Protection
8. The "right" people getting elected because all authority is given by Him
9. The wisdom to defend my faith
10. Love when I don't want to
11. Guidance
12. Encouragement
13. Life and breath
14. Desire to know And walk with Him
15. My eyes to see His creation
16. My ears to hear His voice
17. Understanding of His Word
18. The salvation of my family
19. New things that He is doing in our church
20. To turn off my brain so I can sleep

Unknown said...

1. For total acceptance even when like Peter I deny Him...
2. For forgiveness even when I have shaken my fist at Him and blamed Him for my circumstances
3. For fulfillment even though I have demonstrated time and again my constant "poor me" attitude
4. For His undying love even though I have sinned against Him in so many ways
5. For His direction in that even when I seem to purposefully go off course He restores my compass
6. For His enlightenment, even though many times I have misapplied His words to us
7. For life itself as I have more than come to realize my very next breath depends on Him
8. For miracles, that I recognize them great and small and bask in the wonder of His Hand
9. For circumstances, because so many times He has humbled me by showing me there is nothing I can't handle as He has promised me!
10. For family, because I realize that I had zero choices in the matter of who they are but He knew everything about them for His plan
11. For peace of mind and heart, for every time I have made the mountain out of the mole hill and every time there was something serious, He showed me just what He is capable of
12. For deliverance, for many times I did not deserve, at all, the freedom from the circumstances of my own making
13. For wisdom, for there were many times I acted with it yet I confess loudly and publicly it is not of me!
14. For ability, as I long ago learned that every ability I have is a result of His blessing
15. For temperance as He demonstrated just how to handle our anger and while I have failed Him many times here I can reflect joyfully on the victories He has handed me
16. For joy, for in so may things and times in my life I have experienced it and I and with the deepest conviction it all emanates from Him
17. For relationship, for He is the author of relationship and wanted one, even with me
18. For peace of mind as so many times I lost my mind over even simple things yet He would gently, lovingly, encouragingly and constantly remind me of how He has it all in His hands
19. For those He placed in my life, because He used each one of them to form me, mold me, make me, bring me joy, give me peace, cheer me up, lift me out of the ashes of my own making and so much more.
20. Most of all, for Salvation.

Rex Ray said...


“For wisdom, for there were many times I acted with it yet I confess loudly and publicly it is not of me!”

Now, that’s hard to do. Most (especially me) like to hear ourselves being bragged on.

On the other hand are you thinking of this Scripture?

“The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.” (Acts 12:22-23 NLT)

Unknown said...

Rex, No, at the moment I did not think of that one at all but I can easily see how appropriate it is. For me it was more of the fact that I reflected on the request of Solomon. Here it was a man of great talent and wealth and more he obviously had Wisdom but wanted more and he knew from Whom it came from.

Thanks for that verse Rex!

Christiane said...

thought a long time about the one thing I can trust Jesus for, and only Jesus, this:

Only Our Lord can stop me 'from being that thing against which anything, everything, can break'.

(here, I borrow wording from a poem by a friend's step-daughter, which touched my heart)

When we look at the Cross, Our Lord took on the weight of the sins of this world, all of the sadness, the grief, the pain, the loss, the misery, the evil, and the hatred and He gave His very life for our sake;
so if ANYONE can be trusted to help us overcome being 'that thing against which anything, everything, can break', I believe it is Christ Himself. His Words from the Cross are a guide to that end.

Even in the way of His dying, He was teaching us how to live.

carl4grace said...

A big BOOM! for everyone. Great post by Wade and excellent comments by all.