The Just Shall Live By Faith


We live in a volatile world where no one is immune to challenges. We live in times of uncertainties and danger when many people struggle to find meaning and purpose in their lives and hold on to their beliefs.

Even Christians are not left out. Just like Job, we are often faced with difficult circumstances or painful experiences that can shake our faith to its very foundation and make us doubt our values and beliefs.

But amid all this despair, faith is a powerful antidote that can lessen our pain and give us hope for a better tomorrow. As the Bible says, “the just shall live by faith.” Having faith in something greater than ourselves can help us overcome life’s challenges. “The just shall live by faith” offers a message of hope and positivity that can provide inspiration and guidance for those seeking direction and purpose. This article seeks to explore the meaning of this powerful biblical phrase and consider its relevance to our lives today.

What Bible verse says, ‘The just shall live by faith’? 

The phrase “the just shall live by faith” first appears in the Bible in Habakkuk 2:4.“Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.”

We see God conversing with the prophet Habakkuk about evil, injustice, and punishment. While Habakkuk wonders why God is slow to pronounce judgment on the wicked, God reveals His plan to allow the Babylonians to punish Judah but will ultimately judge the wicked and deliver those who have faith in Him. Habakkuk 2:4 emphasizes the importance of having faith in God for salvation.

Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38 in the New Testament highlight, the righteous shall live by faith.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

In Romans 1:17, the apostle Paul writes to the Christians in Rome, telling them about the salvation power of the Gospel of Jesus. Paul emphasizes that everyone who believes the gospel, whether Jew or Greek will be saved from the power of sin so far they have faith in Jesus Christ.

“But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)

Galatians 3:11 is a portion of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Galatia. Paul emphasizes how having faith in God is vital. He adds that fulfilling the law does not make us righteous before God. Instead, “the just shall live by faith.” We learn from this scripture that works without righteousness are in vain. But faith in God brings salvation.

“Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38)

The apostle Paul used the same quote in Hebrews 10:38. However, here, he admonishes believers on the need to hold on to their faith to the very end without giving up or slacking in their pursuit of righteousness. God is particularly interested in His children living by faith. Those who abandon their faith will lose God’s presence and fellowship.

What does ‘The just shall live by faith’ mean?

The Just shall live by faith is one of the most famous phrases in the Bible used today. It is the topic of many sermons and articles and designs on t-shirts. Other Bible translations read, “the righteous shall live by faith.” Being just and righteous both mean godliness, holiness, or being good.

To fully understand this phrase, we must know what faith and just mean. The Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” According to this Bible verse, to have faith is to believe that something exists or is real, even when they are intangible and invisible. This definition of faith emphasizes the importance of trust and belief in God’s promises and plans, even in the absence of tangible evidence or certainty.

Proverb 20:7 says the just man walks in integrity. A just man is a person who always obeys God and does what His Word says. He might not be perfect, but he strives daily to please God, lives in peace and love with his neighbors, and does good to everyone. 

A sinner cannot become just or made righteous without having faith (Romans 10:9, Romans 5:1-2). The Bible says you must believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from death before you will be saved. Therefore, even though you were not there when Jesus was crucified, died, and came back to life, you have faith that it all happened, so you become just. 

The entire Christian experience is hinged upon faith. Faith is a central factor in the life of a just man or Christian. It’s what keeps hope alive even in hopeless situations, just as when Abraham believed God’s promise even when he and his wife had passed the age of childbearing (Genesis 15:6). 

When we encounter challenges, including life-threatening situations like terminal sicknesses, persecution, and accidents, our faith in God becomes our saving grace, just like the three Hebrew boys who held on to God even they were about to be thrown into the fire by King Nebuchadnezzar because they refused to bow to his image (Daniel 3:8-25).

Therefore, any one who wants to succeed in their Christian journey or have a thriving relationship with God must have faith.

What does it mean to be just? 

To be just means to be righteous. It means to have faith in God and maintain one’s values even in the face of corruption, pressure, and difficulties. To claim to be a just man or woman is easy. However, what makes a person just is their actions. 

The Bible records the story of Noah, who lived in a time when evil and great wickedness spread across the earth like wildfire. Sin became the norm, and every intent and thought of man was evil (Genesis 6:5). Men’s perverted ways grieved God to the point that He regretted creating man (Genesis 6:6).

However, only one man pleased God and did what was right. And that was Noah. The Bible describes him as “a just man, perfect in his generations” (Genesis 6:9). Therefore, to be just is to stand for godliness and righteousness, even if you’re standing alone.  

God is holy and cannot stand sin. That was why he resolved in His mind to destroy the world with water in the days of Noah to rid the earth of wickedness. However, Noah’s just ways made Him find grace in God’s eyes. God told him to build an ark to save himself, his family, and living creatures from the destruction that was about to hit the world. 

Your righteousness can serve as a covering for people around you. It can save you from destruction and cause you to find favor before God always. 

Importance of living by faith

Having faith in God is a difficult virtue to cultivate and maintain. So, God rewards those who diligently and consistently have faith in Him, even in tough situations. 

One of the best benefits of living by faith is that we can please God and do His will. Hebrews 11:6 says it’s impossible to please God without faith. Our main purpose is to please God. With faith, we can achieve that. That is the core essence of ‘the just shall live by faith.’

Another benefit of faith is that we can receive anything from God and achieve the impossible. Jesus says, “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). It sounds simple, but if we think deeply about that statement, we will understand the magnitude of power God has given us if we have faith and utilize it.

Having faith makes us wait on God’s promise. Sometimes, it looks like God is late or has forgotten His Word. But the opposite is the case. He is faithful and always on time. Those who lack faith give up and seek alternatives outside God that always lead to destruction. However, those who, by faith, wait on God like Abraham will obtain God’s promise (Hebrews 11:8).

What can Christians today learn from this?

Believers must understand that faith is critical to our relationship with God. Like never before, we must have faith to live righteously in this world where sin has become the norm, and the church is under intense attack. 

We owe ourselves and our families the duty to build our faith in God to withstand trials and temptation and believe that God is present and loves us even when the world is against us. 

We must boldly hold on to our faith and declare it like Job, whose wife and friends turned against him at the height of his pain and suffering because we fully understand that only “the just shall live by faith.”

Final Thoughts

“The just shall live by faith” must be our watchword as believers living in a chaotic and sinful world today. We must hold on to our faith in Jesus even when it seems unwise to do so. God is a reward for those who diligently seek Him. He will never forsake those who persevere and live righteously, even when it means standing alone. Our actions and attitude should reflect faith and be the reason for others to embrace God and trust in Him.