Reading thru Habakkuk this morning I was struck by 2 things. One of them is pretty quick, the other one not so much.
Habakkuk 2:4b is the famous “the righteous shall live by faith.” I’ve always put the accent on “faith” but this morning as I read it I realized that the intended emphasis may be on “live.” This is then picked up in the New Testament in Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11 and Eph 2:8 – and used to explain that we are not actually saved by keeping religion, we are saved by trusting in Jesus Christ as our sin-bearer. But this trust is not a one time thing – it’s a daily continuing thing.
Again, the ESV study note helped me see this, it says – “The kind of faith that Habakkuk describes, and that the NT authors promote, is continuing trust in God and clinging to his promises, even in the darkest days.”
Piper is all over this. Check out When I Don’t Desire God and/or Future Grace. The read Hab 2:4b with emphasis like this – “the righteous shall live by faith” and pray that God will give you the perspective that we need to be trusting in him with our lives constantly.
So, switching gears – I was also struck this AM by God’s sovereignty over sin. Habakkuk is complaining to God about how bad things are, the Lord informs him that he is going to use the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to come in and exile the people of Israel, for their hundreds of years of rebelling against God, despite his hundreds of years of warning that he is going to do this…they persist. Habakkuk complains again to God, but this time seemingly taking issue with this plan. He says in 1:12-13 basically, you have ordained this to happen this way, but you are going to use the Babylonians? Really?
Skip ahead to 2:6-20 – we see the Lord is intending to punish the Babylonians too for their sin. Declaring “woe” on them for their conquering other nations, their murdering, their pride in their nation from unjust means.
Here’s the mind melter: God doesn’t cause sin, but he is sovereign over it and he always is just and true to his holiness – he will always punish sin.
God knows the sin of the Babylonians – he is sovereign over that sin and uses it for his purposes for Israel. Yet, he will indeed punish the sin of Bablyon.
We all make the choice to sin, like Israel and Babylon. God doesn’t cause that sin in our lives, but he is sovereign over it and uses it for his purposes. Yet he will punish our sin as well.
But…thank God there is a but…(Eph 2:1-10)
We will be punished for our sin, by being banished from his presence forever in Hell, or he will apply the punishment given to his Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross and that blood will be payment and payment in full. He is both JUST and the JUSTIFIER of those who have faith in Christ Jesus. (Rom 3:26). He will always treat sin as it deserves, but yet he has provided a way for us to be justified from that sin, in his Son Jesus Christ.
As for those that have been sinned against – whoever sinned against you will be punished – either they will be punished in Hell or they will have the sacrifice of Jesus applied to them as God’s accepted payment by faith in Jesus. Kinda changes the way I’ve been praying for a few situations.
May we all turn (repent) from our sin and turn to Christ so that we may live in faith!
Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. (Is 45:22)