Beyond the Gospels: Galatians

Today’s Scripture: Galatians 3:10-21
[Where is your Bible? If you’re unsure click the link above to read online.]

…”the righteous will live by faith.”
Galatians 3:11
Living by faith is not unique to the New Testament. This particular passage appears in quotations because Paul is quoting the Old Testament book of Habakkuk (2:4).
Habakkuk is fresh on my mind as I write this devotional, because I just happened to have read it this week. Not once, but twice. 

Habakkuk’s book centers on his conversation with God at a time when corruption was rampant among the temple priests and leaders of Jerusalem. Very few were following the law. God delivers a hard message to Habakkuk. One of coming destruction to Jerusalem for their sins. Destruction brought by an idolatrous nation far from the one true God.

Confounded by the message, Habakkuk asks God how He could allow such a thing to happen. In response, Habakkuk receives a vision revealing the ultimate destruction of the proud who unjustly reap gains against God’s chosen people. God tells him: the righteous shall live by faith.

The depth of our faith defines our relationship with God. It always has and it always will, at least until He returns to make all things new.
The author of Hebrews defines faith for us.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV84
Faith can be a slippery thing. Hard to live by. It’s about putting all our hope in God’s promises and being certain of the unseen.
God’s promises sometimes seem sketchy this side of eternity. He says He will never leave us or forsake us, but how often do you feel lonely or abandoned? He promises perfect peace for those who trust in Him, but sometimes anxiety wins out in any given circumstance.
When the fulfillment of His promises are far off on the horizon and the unseen blessings to come seem unimaginable, that is the opportunity for the righteous — those in Christ Jesus — to live by faith.
Only through a life of faith can we please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Only by faith, sure of the unseen, can we follow the Holy Spirit wherever He leads (John 3:8).
Only by faith do we become righteous (Romans 4:5).
Faithful living rests solely in Jesus’s work on the cross for our righteousness.
Faithful living sees God’s loving hand in every circumstance.
Faithful living focuses on what we don’t see and not on our understanding of what we see.
Habakkuk ends his small book of prophecy with a prayer, one we should all take to heart and remember when things seem dark and hopeless…
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor the fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and yields no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV
Yes, the righteous will live by faith.
Faith in His promises.
Faith in His return.
Faithful in praising His name.
Amen.
How are you at living by faith?
Father God, I pray this prayer with hesitation:
Grow me in my ability to live by faith.
I long to be closer to You, to please You,
to find joy in the God of my salvation
no matter my circumstances.
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