What is the key to living the Christian life? “The just shall live by faith.” There it is. Hebrews 11 summarized in one phrase. The Christian life simplified. Those who are just will live by faith, and since we have already spent time these past few weeks defining faith we need to know what it means to speak about “the just.” Who or what are the just who shall live by faith?
To be just is to be justified. It is to be right with God. Justification is the act whereby God in His grace gives us faith and when we believe in Christ, He declares us righteous, or right with Him. Through the sinless life and death of Christ the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us and our sin was imputed to Christ. This is the meaning behind the term propitiation – Jesus bearing the wrath of God toward us and our sin and giving us His law keeping at the same time.
By faith then we are declared to be right with God. In fact, the gospel hinges on this truth. Justification is by faith alone in Christ alone. The Scriptures make this clear and even though false teachers try and try to bury this truth and convince men to work for their salvation, God has used great moments throughout history to keep this doctrine at the forefront of the battle for truth. The Reformation was one such occurence. Martin Luther, through the Book of Romans, saw that we are justified by faith alone. As we have learned, faith that saves is faith that works. We are not saved by works, and our faith is not a work meriting grace. But by grace we are given faith and that faith works!
We see then that the just live by faith. Through faith they are justified, and through faith they grow in the Christian life. Several commentators have noted that true saving faith is not a one time act but it is a way of life – continuing to trust Christ and live by faith. There is no other way to please God, no other way to be saved, no other way to live the Christian life. It is by faith in Christ, taking God at His Word.
Are you having troubles? Struggles? Temptation? Sin? Doubts and difficulties? Is the darkness pressing in? There is only one solution. Get in the Word and believe it! Trust Christ. Believe what God has said. Walk by faith. For that is the only way that the just can live – by faith.
When Jesus was talking to Mary and Martha, just before He was going to call Lazarus out of the grave, He asked them a question. I will close this message with that same question.
We read what Jesus asks in John 11:25-26:
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
For all we have learned about faith and the faithful, the most important lesson to learn is how to trust Jesus. He tells us that He is the resurrection and the life and that if we believe in Him even if we die, we will live.
Do you believe?