"The just shall live by faith." What a statement made by a disconcerted prophet with a limited understanding of his world and with an unexplainable God! Habakkuk could not understand why Israel was not being punished for its flagrant disavowal and disobedience to Jehovah God. His second problem was theological: How could God use the vicious and idolatrous Chaldeans to discipline His own people? Are these questions relevant today to us who view the Church and our world as they are and our God as He is?!
To Paul and to each of us, the "just" are not only "justified by faith," but their life is to be led, sustained, and invigorated by a vibrant living faith. Hebrews 11 speaks of faith being the title deed and the conviction of those who possess it. It is a faith that gives understanding to the mystery of the universe, provides impetus for holy living, gives joy in death, and is needed for the "translation" Rapture. It is this kind of biblical faith that brings us to the obedience of faith, the substance for live births from dead wombs, the offering of material sacrifices, and a heavenly perspective and viewpoint concerning time and eternity, sacrifice and seeing, and rejection and rewards! It is a faith that will not give up, not sell out, not shut up, not stay put, not sit down, not wash out, and not cave in. It is a faith, impregnated by the living Word and Spirit, that grasps as present, future realities. Faith sings, shouts, saves, shows, sees, suffers, and serves. It transcends age, gender, time, space, or matter. No mountain is too big, no river too wide, no task too great, no obstacle too formidable, no valley too deep, no cave too dark, no tunnel too long, no demons too strong, and no army too many. Faith's divine Source and incarnational reality transcends, travails, testifies, tarries, and triumphs! Through faith, our spiritual ancestors were persuaded by the promises of God, and through faith they embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims.
Our struggles are not with flesh and blood.
The Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness are in mortal combat. The devices of Satan can either be subtle in manifestations (reason, common sense, deception, majority opinion, doubt, etc.) foisted upon us by, at times, well-meaning leaders, family, friends, or church members (See Matt. 16:13-28). Hell's impious imps force the attacks which may be physical, mental, or spiritual. His attacks may be more an aggressive expression of hostility, persecution, rejection, slander, divisiveness, malignant backbiting, or a well placed Judas, etc. (James 3:13-18).
Look up and away unto the Captain ("file-leader") of our Salvation. Put away the besetting sin and be spiritually fortified in your minds with a renewed vision of Him. Do not despair. Only realize that you have not yet resisted unto blood! You are being honored to suffer for His name. Only do not look back (Luke 17:32). You are His chosen (John 15:16)! Keep looking down (See Ephesians 2:6)!
Hear heaven's response to what may be your crisis of faith in II Cor. 9:8. The Lord reiterates five times on the positive side that His grace is sufficient--"all, always, abound." A literal translation could read, "God is able to make all grace abound toward you that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every (all) good work." On the negative side, Hebrews 13:5 states emphatically five times, "Not will I fail thee--nevermore! No! Never by no means will I forsake thee." So, from God's perspective, circumstances are for our profit. All earthly things serve heavenly ends to those whose heart is right with God (Rom. 8:28; II Cor. 4:17,18; James 1:2-8; Romans 5:1-11; I Peter 1:2-9; II Peter 2:2-11).
Fight the good fight of faith--weary, but not forsaken, soldier. Cease from your own works, as God did from His. Let us labor to enter into His rest and hear His voice. Harden not your hearts. Let us fear lest we fail to enter into God's promises. Let us come boldly into His presence. Let us go on perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Let us lay aside the sin. Let us hold fast our profession. Let us have grace. Let us go forth unto Him without the camp. Let us sacrifice the sacrifice of praise. Lift up the weary hands and straighten out the paralyzed knees that hang down with weariness! He who has begun a good work in us will perform it unto the revelation of Jesus Christ, for He is the author and the finisher of our faith!