“The just shall live by faith,” says the prophet Habbakuk (2: 4). It is a very important passage quoted by Paul the apostle and made famous by Martin Luther. But who are the just? And which faith was the prophet talking about?
The Hebrew word translated “just” is rendered “righteous” in scores of passages. So how “righteous” and “just” are we talking about here? Godlike righteous. We see this same word used to describe God Himself. He “is a God of truth…just and right is He” (Deut. 32: 4). We are talking about a godlike righteousness that some will have. Not a self-righteousness, but a godly rightness. The just, the righteous ones will be living their days on earth by faith.
Who are the just? Who are the righteous? They will carry in their hearts that righteous state of God Himself. And they will receive this happy state with the Hebrew God because of their faith, having believed first without seeing.
The “just” in God’s eyes are those who are right with Him because He is right in them. They are the righteous and in good standing with their Maker.
They, like their spiritual father Abraham, walk by faith and not by the sight of their eyes (II Cor. 5: 7). Faith is the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11: 1).
So the just are the righteous humans like God is righteous here on the earth, who believe having not seen nor received the promises of the kingdom of God. They shall live their days on earth by faith. Believing God’s word and plan is the way they will live. And because God can only be pleased by this walk of faith, they become just in His sight. He imputes righteousness to them, which is being in a right state with God. And that is all we really need.
So the true faith is extremely important. And this faith spoken of in the scriptures of truth is not the same “faith” spoken of in news casts on TV, when the news-reading talking head says about someone who displays some religious activity: “He is a person of faith.” Meaning that he believes in a higher power. They acknowledge that somebody up there is bigger that they are. No, this is not the faith that Paul, Peter, and John spoke of.
Think about it. The Hindus believe in thousands of somebodies up there swimming in a mystical nirvanic goo. That is indeed a belief and a faith. And many Hindus are very spiritual and religious, and TV personalities may say that they are people of faith, but that is not the faith of the Hebrew God of the Holy Bible.
Not picking on Hindus here, for the same can be said of most of the denominations and sects of Churchianity. 2,200 and counting, and they disagree with each other. That is why there are so many of them. But the Spirit says there is only one body (church) and one Spirit (one God) and one faith (Eph. 4: 4-6). So all of these denominations cannot be exactly what the apostles practiced and wrote about.
Depart from Me…
Moreover, Christ speaks disparagingly of some very sincere Christians in these last days. He says to them, “Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. [We sincerely called You Lord] But he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven [You mean confessing that Christ is our Lord won’t do the trick?] Many will say to Me in that day [Which day? The time of the end?] Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? [Come on, now, we preached in your name!] and in thy name have cast out devils? [Lord, I saw many slain in the Spirit in your name. It had to be You!] and in thy name done many wonderful works? [We set up food kitchens and sent out missionaries and gave away bibles in far away lands, and You were with us, weren’t You?] And then I will profess to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7: 21-23). Since there is no idle words of God, these words will be spoken to some well-meaning people in that day.
That last paragraph was tough to write, but there it is in black in white. Of course, some will say that His words are harsh treatment. But why will these sincere Christians, who are “people of faith,” why will they be rejected? Because their faith was based on a vision of Christ and His plan that was in error.
Because denominations have hundreds of different interpretations of what the Bible is saying, and because they all cannot be right and just, then somebody has to be wrong. Sincere, maybe, but wrong as to what the faith of Christ and its vision is about.
So, yes, “the just shall live by faith.” Those who God sees as His offspring walking with Him in His truth at the time of the end–they “shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12: 3). Righteousness—there’s that word we started out with again. The just, the righteous, those upon whom God has imputed righteousness because of their faith toward Him—they will shine.
In fact those “just” ones, they will rule over men during the kingdom age. They will sit with Christ on His throne, full of His righteousness, and they will sit as princes ruling the world. Nothing less. “He that rules over men, he must be just, ruling in the fear of God, and he shall be as the light of the morning sun after the rain, after the rain” (II Sam. 23: 3; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiJlJgd9x1s ).
And because God has chosen “not many mighty and not many noble,” His true elect will appear as no one very special. They are the “filth and off-scouring of the world…For God has chosen the weak things of this world to confound the mighty (I Cor. 1: 26).
So the question comes full circle to each of us who is a “person of faith.” Which faith is it, for there are many faiths in Christendom that will be rejected by Christ upon His return? Which vision of the Bible do we believe? For many followers will come up short and they will weep and gnash their teeth at Him when they realize that the version taught in their churches was the wrong one. For “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” And few will find the narrow way that leads to life (Matt. 7: 13-14).
We must then believe on Him the actual way that the scriptures have said. Those who do are the just and righteous, and they will rule and reign with Him in His kingdom. Kenneth Wayne Hancock