What does Habakkuk mean when he says, “The righteous will live by his faith” (2:4)? How does Paul use this verse in Romans 1:17?
The first half of Habakkuk 2:4 addresses the posture of an unrighteous soul; It speaks of it: “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him.” His soul being puffed up, and the second phrase describing that soul not being upright within is establishing the unregenerate status of this soul. It is proud, thinking itself highly capable but in reality condemned. In typical Hebrew poetic fashion, a parallelism is employed that contrasts this negative with a positive to bring greater clarity; namely, the 2nd half of verse 4 which defines what it means to be upright in God’s sight. The opposite of pride is the meekness of faith. Faith is what the righteous, what the upright soul lives by…not in a puffed-up-self-made posture, but in humility.
Paul uses this verse to wage war against the idea of works righteousness, against the idea that a soul can be upright before God apart from faith in Christ. Paul’s usage in Roman’s 1:17 is paramount to his entire letter to the Romans as he labors to teach why not all Israel received Christ and why the gentiles are coming in. Faith alone reveals God’s righteousness. Not puffed up pride, or good works, but faith in Christ which produces humility and leads to truly good works. So Paul teaches the church to live by faith, living in it in an all encompassing way, thus ever warning the brothers to beware of those walking in pride, or of the temptation to think they can be righteous apart from Christ.
“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.”—Jeremiah 17:14
“I have seen his ways, and will heal him.”
It is the sole prerogative of God to remove spiritual disease. Natural disease may be instrumentally healed by men, but even then the honour is to be given to God who giveth virtue unto medicine, and bestoweth power unto the human frame to cast off disease. As for spiritual sicknesses, these remain with the great Physician alone; he claims it as his prerogative, “I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal;” and one of the Lord’s choice titles is Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee. “I will heal thee of thy wounds,” is a promise which could not come from the lip of man, but only from the mouth of the eternal God. On this account the psalmist cried unto the Lord, “O Lord, heal me, for my bones are sore vexed,” and again, “Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.” For this, also, the godly praise the name of the Lord, saying, “He healeth all our diseases.” He who made man can restore man; he who was at first the creator of our nature can new create it. What a transcendent comfort it is that in the person of Jesus “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily!” My soul, whatever thy disease may be, this great Physician can heal thee. If he be God, there can be no limit to his power. Come then with the blind eye of darkened understanding, come with the limping foot of wasted energy, come with the maimed hand of weak faith, the fever of an angry temper, or the ague of shivering despondency, come just as thou art, for he who is God can certainly restore thee of thy plague. None shall restrain the healing virtue which proceeds from Jesus our Lord. Legions of devils have been made to own the power of the beloved Physician, and never once has he been baffled. All his patients have been cured in the past and shall be in the future, and thou shalt be one among them, my friend, if thou wilt but rest thyself in him this night.
– C.H. Spurgeon
The love of God is so pure, so rich, and so high. It is unmatched. The love for the untouchable, the slave, the sick and hurting is His love. He also loves truth, so much it shows passionately in sharp rebuke to those who are slack with it. Slack not with truth my soul; love and care for the lost and hurting; fervently fend off the wolves in the loving shepherding of His sheep. Grant me love, grace and truth of which You are so very full of.
What is the purpose in a man’s pursuit of truth? Ought he do so with passion or with no contention at all? The concession is given by nature that his own comprehension of truth does not limit the fullness which truth itself holds. Truth is. The man may grasp both pure and corrupted components but love of truth will determine his seeking it out. If there is no love for it then the little he grasps he takes for granted caring not if it is worthy of praise and his delight. It is only good for its usefulness to the man. But where there is love for truth there is a Person to be found who is holding all of it. In that searching there is delight and many a rebuke; the lies or deceptions once believed will be gladly shed when the light of truth shines upon the darkened areas of the mind. Tension is no stranger to this journey as the man must seek out truth among many others who by and large disdain those who love truth seeking. There are also many enemies of truth even though it serves them in countless ways to enable their very warring against it…which also serves to their ultimate detriment. May this man never tire of the race he is running. Many have stopped running and need encouragement to begin again. The purpose is to run into the person of Christ Jesus who is truth. His hand is in every realm of knowledge man utilizes and His praise is due from every creature as a result. Run to the truth oh man and sing a new song unto the Lord of creation when you find Him in every arena of your searchings. Amen.
In the economy of God’s kingdom the greatest among its inhabitants are decidedly the least. The weakest among them are to be glad because they are ideal candidates in whom God’s glory will be shown; and they get to taste of His power and strength as He works it in them. The ammasing of things is resisted and joyful giving is pursued which brings an altogether different kind of treasure.
If a teaching has us believing our best life now is found in earthly success, health, riches, prestige, prosperity, security, etc. then it is not a teaching representing the Christian kingdom of God described in the Bible. It must be rejected. How many claiming Christianity while spewing such garbage is almost hard to believe. God protect us from the many wolves teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach!
The poor in spirit will see God, the humble and meek will be blessed and receive grace. The mourners will be comforted. Those who love God do not love the world system and what it offers – no, they will be despised by it. The world hated Christ and it will hate His ambassadors.
Be strong and courageous. Be bold and gentle. Proclaim truth and do not compromise. Shine light in the darkness. Make good use of the law which drives sinners to the gospel. Amen.