Behold, his soul is puffed up, it is not upright in him; but the righteous shall live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4).
Habbakuk lives and proclaims God’s message in foreboding times for Israel. God’s judgment will swiftly come to pass by the hand of Babylon, and many will not survive. Yet those who trust in God and in His message will be delivered.
The Apostle Paul will take Habbakuk’s message and will apply it to the Gospel in Romans 1:16-17. Paul indicates that the Gospel is God’s power for salvation, and that in it, “righteousness” is revealed “from faith to faith,” because “the righteous will live by faith.”
The statement reveals a truth tested by time: those whom God will deem righteous are the ones who live according to their faith. It is they who “walk by faith,” not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). They do not act according to the way they think or feel is right, but are entirely dependent on God for those decisions. They are the ones who are “crucified in Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
It is quite important for us to live by faith, seeking to serve and please God and not to please ourselves (Philippians 2:1-4). Yet Habakkuk’s statement goes beyond just living “by faith.” He shows how the righteous will live by “his faith.”
There are some people who have the opportunity to survive and prosper based on the actions of others. Some children receive an inheritance or a legacy and have no need to do much on their own. There are times when men and women marry someone who is quite wealthy or famous and have no need to do much of anything for themselves.
In our society, the concept of “outsourcing” is even more popular. Many functions people used to do for themselves are now “outsourced” to someone else. We recognize how factory jobs and customer service lines are often outsourced to workers in other countries, yet we ourselves often outsource various mundane tasks to others. We may have someone come to clean our house, watch our children, fix our house or car, or other such things.
This can never be so with religion! God indicates that each of us will give an account of ourselves before the judgment seat of God (Romans 14:12). God will render to each of us according to our works (Romans 2:6).
You may be blessed with righteous parents or grandparents who have left you with a wonderful legacy of faith; perhaps you have children who are also faithful. Their faith, however, cannot save you! You must have your own faith before God. Likewise, you may be blessed to assemble with a congregation with many members who are active in promoting the Gospel in the community. They will stand or fall before God for what they have done; you will not be able to claim their faith for yourself on that day! You cannot outsource your spiritual responsibilities to anyone else: you yourself must be active in your service to God (Romans 12:1-2).
Those who are righteous before God will live by their own faith. They will think and act not according to their own will, but the will of their Father in Heaven. They may have a legacy of faith, but they themselves will also work diligently, full of good works before God, which is their spiritual service (Romans 12:1-2, Titus 3:8). Let us live by our own faith before God!