The Righteous Man Shall Live by Faith

man walking in the forest
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For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:17, NASB)

I’ve been texting with a friend, a sister in the Lord, about what it means to live by faith.  We are both learning what it means to trust in God and to wrestle with Him; we are learning how to live by faith through the hard times of life, through the difficulties, the pain, the struggles, and the circumstances that tempt us to trust in the world or to trust in religion.  Through all of this, through the storms of life, we are learning to remain steadfast and to trust in the Lord, to depend on Him for our strength. . .when we are obviously so weak.

I have been walking down this new path of freedom for 12 years, and my friend has been walking it for just a few, yet we are both learning the same thing . . . because the learning never ends.  And in 20 or 40 years, I will still be learning to trust in the Lord – because He is infinite and I am depraved.  While I remain on this cursed earth, I will grow to trust Him more and more as I experience the difficulties of life .

My friend and I began this texting discussion after both listening to a radio program by Aaron Budjen on “Living by Faith.”  In his message, Aaron talks about Romans 1:17 and the quote from Habakkuk that says that the righteous man will live by faith.

“Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.” (Habbakkuk 2:4)

Although I was saved 28 years ago, I spent 14 or 15 years not trusting in the Lord, even though I was born again and had a relationship with Him.  I spent those years trusting in religion and trusting in my church.  I was trusting in the acceptance of other people, in the attempt to earn their acceptance through working so hard doing ministry work.

I looked to and trusted in religion which is really just an aspect of the knowledge of good and evil. (The Lord God said not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but we did, so the tree is a part of this world that we live in, it’s a part of this fallen world.)  Although I was not necessarily doing evil, I actually was, because Jesus said there is only One who is good.  He alone, God, is the only One who is good.  Other than Him, there is none good.

So even though we try to live according to the knowledge of what is good, it ends up being a life of evil, because our motives are wrong.  Our “good deeds” are often attempts to earn the acceptance of others, to earn the acceptance of God.  We try to remain in a relationship with God by doing good works, repenting of our sin, asking God to forgive us, and then being firmly devoted to living a life of obedience . . . but all of that is a life of vanity and emptiness.

Being set free from such a life by discovering that I am a forgiven person, started me down a path that will never end.  As long as I am in the flesh, I will always be discovering and anticipating and growing. Learning every day what it means to live by faith.

Was King David a Drama Queen?

Maybe he was . . . but, if so, I mean it in a good way!  He was a wonderfully passionate man with a heart filled with so much faith, so much trust in God, that he is used as a type of Christ, a model for the Messiah:

“And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken. (Ezekiel 34:24)

That is astounding!

He was an ordinary human who became extraordinary because of his passionate reliance and dependency on the Lord His God.

Because of his faith, David was chosen to replace Saul as the King of Israel.  Because God recognized him as a “man after my own heart.”

“But now (Saul) your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people…”    (1 Samuel 13:14)

Despite being one of the most famous men who has ever lived, and one of the most important Bible characters in the history of the world . . . to me, David is just my big brother in Christ.  He is someone who I look forward to meeting, and teasing, one day.

“Dude, you know that you were a total drama queen when you lived back on the old earth.  Right?  I mean, c’mon, you totally were.”

And he’ll reply, “Oh yeah!  Totally.”

(LOL.  . . .Well, who knows?  But I nonetheless entertain myself with such imaginings.)

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Okay, so you know those reading plans that give you daily assignments so that you can read through the Bible chronologically in one year?  Well, so far, it’s been five years and I’m in the book of Jeremiah.  I’m so slow because I often skip a day, or a week, or even a month.  Plus, I typically re-read my daily assignment; sometimes over and over for several weeks.  (Gotta be OCD with the Bible!)

Since I’m new to the “grace message,” to a complete understanding of the New Covenant, it seems like I am reading the Bible for the first time.  Even though I’ve been saved for 26 years.

Anyway, this slow and careful reading style allowed me to really get to know David.  And I fell in love with him while reading through his life story and all of his poetry.  When I came to his death in the book of 1 Kings, I started crying.  I remember exactly where I was sitting in my house when that happened.  I realized how much I would miss him.  I felt so sad that his life came to the end; it was like a good friend had left me.

I hope that one day on the new earth, he will come to regard me also as a good friend.  And I hope he will laugh when I tease him about being a drama queen.  Such mood swings; such melodramatic laments at times.  But maybe that’s what I love best about him, because his emotional outbursts were often channeled toward his praise of God. (Such as Psalm 103). When you read David’s Psalms, you see that David completely trusted in God.  He knew that God is good; that God is trustworthy; that God is kind.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;

Pour out your heart before Him;

God is a refuge for us.

(Psalm 62:8)

Of course, we all know that David was not a perfect person; his adultery with Bathsheba and the way he orchestrated the murder of her husband are notorious stories.  David fully acknowledged his own sinfulness; he was completely acquainted with his own depravity.  He didn’t try to hide it; he was a man who lived in reality.

But he pleased God because he had true faith.  His heart trusted completely in the Lord.  And God honors David’s faith throughout the Bible.  In Jeremiah, it is implied that the Messiah came because of David!  That is was for David that the Messiah is raised up!

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.  (Jeremiah 23:5)

David did not get to live in the days of the New Covenant, in the days following the resurrection of the Righteous Branch.  As a result, there was so much that David did not understand, and perhaps that is what caused his mood swings.

“Take not thy Holy Spirit from me,” was spoken by a man who did not have the opportunity to be born again by the Holy Spirit.  Certainly, the Spirit “came upon” David at times, but not in an abiding, eternal way.

For us today, we know that the Holy Spirit will never leave us or forsake us.  It is because we are “raised up” with Jesus; we are resurrected from the dead, just as Jesus was.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)

David looked forward to the resurrection; we look back to it.  I think it’s at the Second Coming that the dead in Christ will rise first – so does that mean that David will be with us during the Millennial Reign of Christ?  I hope so!  But whatever happens, we know that David has a fantastic future ahead of him:  everlasting life with the God whom he loved and trusted in with all of his heart!