What does it mean that the righteous will live by faith?


Habakkuk 2:4

ESV - 4 Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Habakkuk 2:4 includes the well-known statement "the righteous will live by faith." What does this mean? The context helps us to understand God's intent in this passage. The whole verse reads, "Beho...

July 01 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

9aa51e4b447252291b959c696fb96539 400x400 Jeremiah Kaaya Pastor at Springs of Power Church, Teacher by professional
Let us first understand who a righteous person is. A righteous person is one with a mind like the mind of God. A righteous person is one who obeys God. A righteous person is one who is in agreement with God despite finding themselves in very hard tempting situations. But we should also understand that righteousness is exclusively of God and He extends it to whoever comes to Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

The following scriptures will help us understand this topic better; (Hebrews 10:38), (Habakkuk 2:4), (Romans 1:17), (Galatians 3:11). When we read these scriptures, we realize that righteous people are never influenced by whatever surrounds them or whatever condition that may be.

For the Bible to say that the righteous shall live by faith, the first thing we understand from this is that righteousness creates faith in God. Take a lesson from three of these men of God; Abraham, Isaiah, and Jonah.

Abraham's relationship with God could only grow from strength to strength because he (Abraham) continuously went on to believe God despite the harsh conditions of having to leave his father's house to a country never known to him and the fact of continued childlessness. Because he carried on believing, in Genesis 15:1-6, for when God promised him a child, despite his age and that of his wife, he believed God's promise and it was counted of him for righteousness. Abraham didn't doubt nor did he dispute God's word and this is one of the ways we conclude one is righteous. By being righteous, Abraham had faith in God.

The Prophet Isaiah
In Isaiah 20:2, we learn how the Prophet Isaiah walked naked and barefooted! I wonder how many of us would if we had been instructed? Isaiah obeyed God, he never asked questions despite having been asked to do such a shameful thing to any observers, but because he was well aware it was an instruction from God, he went on to do just that. By doing such, Isaiah is counted a righteous person and he had faith in God

In Jonah 1, Jonah was instructed by God to go to Nineveh so that he could preach there. But Jonah was biased against Nineveh and he chose not to obey God. He believed that he could run away from God to another place called Tarshish. Jonah ended up in the belly of a fish and when he came out of it, that is when he came to believe that indeed God is. By disobeying God, Jonah was being unrighteous. His mind had not been in agreement with the mind of God. He wanted to disapprove and challenge God. Unrighteousness stems from such very situations.

Now we know that righteousness creates confidence, and confidence in God. Isaiah 54:14 says “…in righteousness thou shall be established…” The only point where we connect with God is righteousness through His provision in Jesus Christ, and that is where we derive our spiritual strength from. Now to have faith, faith in what? Faith in God. For the Bible to say the righteous shall live by faith is to say the righteous are exclusively of and to God. The righteous obey God and agree with Him. They aren’t bothered by what surrounds them, for they are accountable to the one whose power stretches everywhere. We could thus reliably say of them, they possess confidence in God. This confidence leads to faith in God. Faith only connects in righteousness. That is; you can’t have faith in God if you are unrighteous, for you can’t trust someone whom you do not obey and agree with. You will have already judged which side you are.

Do you love this scripture to apply to you just as it did to Abraham and Isaiah, and many others of their type, obey God. Stop reasoning with Him. Stop doubting and challenging Him, for He is God the creator of all. By doing just that, it will be counted of you for righteousness. Jesus our elder brother obeyed His Father even to point of the shameful death on the cross! Obey God and be well!

August 20 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

1340060171 Carl Mason
Consider the example of faith and righteousness in the life of Noah. Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” Noah built an ark after hearing, believing, trusting and obeying God without ever experiencing a catastrophic flood. He acted in faith. The flood came and washed away a world of depravity while he and his family safely floated above the water. The righteousness of Noah came after his obedient faith in God. 

The example of Noah tells us faith in action results in righteousness. James 2:24 “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. Real faith and righteousness go together hand in glove. You hear the Word of God, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” Rom. 10:17 and obey, like Noah, what God says. “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,” Heb. 5:9. Tragically, many people profess faith in God, but their actions do not demonstrate righteousness. The righteous live by faith by hearing and doing the will of God.

September 12 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jacob Gingerich
The word translated here as "just" (KJV) can be interchanged with "righteous" and seems to reflect back to Abrahams being considered righteous by Faith. This is a truth that carries through the whole of the Bible and continuously points us to the ultimate sacrificial blood of Jesus. Jesus by faith, "is" our righteousness and Justification. So you could translate the verse today as...The life lived in Christ will be lived by Faith.

September 10 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Ari Ariel HaNaviy Messianic Jew and Torah Teacher with Messianic Congregation 'The Harvest'
In Hab. 2:4, the last half of the verse is usually translated: “…the righteous shall live by his faith.” But based on one Hebrew word in the verse, it could just as easily be translated: “…the righteous shall live by his faithfulness.” The Hebrew word emunah is both faith and faithfulness, which is why NIV, NLT, NET, and GWT all have faithfulness for this word. Interestingly, Young’s Literal Translation has “steadfastness.”

The origin words for faith and faithfulness share a noun and verb relationship in both Hebrew and Greek. Tim Hegg of TorahResource.com explains the Hebrew and Greek noun and verb cognates this way: One of the major difficulties we encounter in our discussion of “trust,” “believe,” and “faith/faithful,” is that there is no corresponding verbal form of “faith” in the English language. We have no way of saying that one “faithed” or that someone is “faithing” in God. Yet in both the Hebrew and the Greek the word group expressing the concept of faith also contains a verb cognate. For example, the Hebrew verb (‘aman), “to be supported” from which we derive the verb “to believe,” has the corresponding noun (‘emunah), which means “faith” or “faithful.” Likewise, the Greek verb (pisteuo), “to believe,” has the corresponding noun, (pistis), which means “faith” or “faithful.” Unfortunately, many English readers do not realize that “believing,” “having faith,” and “being faithful” all derive from the same word group whether in the Hebrew or the Greek.

The way I see it, faith and faithfulness function as two sides of the same coin, in that they are both precious in God’s eyes. Don't misunderstand me. I am NOT saying we are saved by works. Perish the thought! I am saying genuine faith will lead to genuine faithfulness. Righteousness can be defined in two ways: "behavioral righteousness,” actually doing what is right, and "forensic righteousness,” being regarded as righteous in the sense (a) that God has cleared him of guilt for past sins, and (b) that God has given him a new human nature inclined to obey God rather than rebel against him as before. Millard Erickson stated, "Sanctification is a process by which one's moral condition is brought into conformity with one's legal status before God.”

Thus, our verse in Habakkuk is a fitting one for our study on faith and faithfulness. For indeed, this passage is a decisive verse for the Apostle Paul. Here, the famous phrase “the just shall live by faith” must be understood from the original context of Habakkuk to mean that the righteous person lives on the basis of his faithfulness. In the time of Habakkuk, the nation was being torn in her loyalties, whether to trust God and the covenant He had given, or to ally herself with the nations for protection. Habakkuk’s statement is made with this in mind: the righteous (those who have faith in God) will live (be protected and sustained) by faith (by demonstrating a faithful trust in God and His promises). It is this understanding of faith that Paul carries into the argument of Romans and is sustained throughout the book.

Thus, “the righteous shall live by his faith” does not simply mean he will claim to have faith then but do nothing about it. On the contrary, if he has genuine faith then he will demonstrate genuine faithfulness to the God that he claims to have faith in. And in this faith and faithfulness, he shall indeed live!

September 04 2015 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

1355970312 Ron Ray
The Christian faith is not an empty faith or a blind faith like that required of every other man made religion on earth. Our Heavenly Father provided believers with a faith full of substance that one can hold onto both spiritually and intellectually. Regarding the intellectual realm, there is a multitude of evidence for the inerrant authority of the Bible, the real and literal existence of Jesus of Nazareth, the miracles that Jesus performed, the irrefutable account of Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection and the prophecies of the Bible that were given thousands of years ago that have come to pass with a 100% degree of accuracy in every detail.

Archaeological discoveries along with detailed writings of enemies and antagonists have verified the historical recounts of Old Testament scriptures. The major messianic prophecies alone prove that no other person on earth in history can be the Christ, only Jesus of Nazareth. The 25,000 partial or full manuscripts and writings of the early church fathers verify the accuracy of the New Testament scriptures so that you can believe that what you are reading is the Inspired, Inerrant and Authoritative Word of God.

We as believers who were baptized in the Holy Spirit also have our spiritual evidence that we can turn to for evidence. What were you before the power and love of God entered and changed your life? Are you the same person? Have people that knew you before told you that you are a different person? The miraculous changes that God mysteriously worked in our lives is what we hold onto as a personal evidence that God is real and that Jesus Christ has provided us with forgiveness through His blood and eternity in heaven through His resurrection.

There literally are volumes written on this subject by various authors. One of my favorites is Josh McDowell. Read 'More than a Carpenter' and then move on from there.

The main point here is that Christianity is not true because you believe it or because you have faith. To the contrary, we as Christians believe and we have faith because it is true. Ours is a faith and belief rich and full of substance that we can share with others. The more we realize how strong our faith and belief is, the more we learn about our faith, the more effective we are as witnesses for the kingdom.

Learn about your Christian faith and become strong in the knowledge that separates Christianity apart from all of the false beliefs so that you can separate Christ apart as Lord of your life and be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks regarding the hope that is in you, giving them the answer with an attitude of gentleness and patience.

May 04 2016 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

84924d6f 9be5 4261 9e07 ab5f6a8c5842 Lena Wms Student @Christ Gospel Church, S.S.Teacher, Observer
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Prayfully consider the following:

In the New Testament there is a scripture that reads: I am crucified with Christ: (the old things Mark 7: 20-23 in my heart are daily 1Co 15:31 Put on the cross) nevertheless I live; (Christ raises me up in newness of life! 2Co 5:17 Rev 21: 5) yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; (I could not do this work in me, it was Christ! John 14:20 Phil 2:13) and the life which I now live in the flesh (I am still here on Earth, in a fleshly body but I am no longer chained to flesh because daily I am crucifying this!) I live by the FAITH of the SON OF GOD, (It’s not my faith? I don’t need faith! I live by HIS FAITH! How great is the Faith of the Son of GOD?) who loved me, (so much that He left His Glorious home in Heaven by His Father’s side, came to Earth as a little baby, grew to a man, tried to teach people about His Father, was betrayed and was crucified. He arose! This is how much He loves me!) and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20.

As Christians, we can talk about our faith all day long. However, until we come to this scripture and realize where real faith comes from, we have lost our way. Thank God, He gives us a Lamp to guide us on the Right Path. Psalm 119:105. 

Be Blessed,

May 05 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
First, see the big picture:

The Just shall live by his Faith Hab. 2:4
1 The Place of Trust—the Watchtower Hab. 2:1

2 The Pledge of Trust—‘it will surely come’ Hab. 2:3

3 The Power of Trust—‘live by his faith’ Heb. 2:4

Verse 4 is quoted three times in the New. Testament, with the emphasis as follows:

1 Who shall live by his faith?—the Justified Rom. 1:17
2 By what shall the just live?—by his Faith Gal. 3:11
(not by the works of the law but by faith)
3 What shall the just do by faith?—live for God Heb. 10:38
(as did those whose faith God honored in Heb.11)

Habakkuk 2:4 states, “The just shall live by his faith.” This verse is quoted in Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38; these three epistles make it very clear that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ and faith alone. (Wiersbe)

September 21 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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