Category : General
Hebrews 10: 38 (KJV)
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
But the just by faith, i.e. he who is justified by faith, shall live – shall be preserved when this overflowing scourge shall come. These words are used four times (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11, and here). In the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians they respect justification, Paul making use of them to prove that we are justified by faith. In Habakkuk 2:4, and the text, they respect our conversation, and hold forth what should support a righteous man in all dangers and necessities.
Faith consists of two parts: Belief, which accepts certain declarations as true, and trust in the person about whom those declarations are made. Neither will do without the other. On the one hand, we cannot trust a person without knowing something about him; on the other hand, your knowledge will not help you unless it leads to trust. We have faith, which is a Divine practical assent unto the saving truths of the gospel, and a reliance upon the promises of God. Anything which comes in the way of our faith we should strive against, while the promotion of our faith should be our first endeavor.
This declaration is connected with the faith of the justified person. Luther at one period suffered so much from a sense of sin, that his health rapidly gave way. An old monk entered his cell and spoke kindly. He knew little but his creed, which contained something that gave him comfort, and he said in his simplicity, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” Luther repeated, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” “Ah!” said the monk, “you must not only believe that David’s or Peter’s sins are forgiven–the devils believe that. The commandment of God is, that we believe our own sins forgiven. Hear what the Holy Ghost says: ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee.’” He renounced the thought of meriting salvation and trusted with confidence in God’s grace in Christ Jesus.
If faith be the ground of holiness we may hence learn the reason of the general prevalence of iniquity in the world; which is a want of faith or want of attention to the objects of it. The meaning in the connection in which it stands here, in accordance with the sense in which it was used by Habakkuk, is, that the righteous should live by “continued confidence” in God. They should pass their lives not in doubt, and fear, and trembling apprehension, but in the exercise of a calm trust in God. In this sense it accords with the scope of what the writer is here saying. He is exhorting the Christians whom he addressed, to perseverance in their religion even in the midst of many persecutions. To encourage this he says, that it was a great principle that the just, that is, all the pious, ought to live in the constant exercise of “faith in God.” They should not confide in their own merits, works, or strength. They should exercise constant reliance on their Maker, and He would keep them even unto eternal life. The sense is, that a persevering confidence or belief in the Lord will preserve us amidst all the trials and calamities to which we are exposed.
Have a great and godly day!