Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.
—Habakkuk 2:4 (NLT)
For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith.
—Hebrews 10:37-38a (NLT)
The way this Scripture reads in the Old and New Testament reveals the difference between the Old Covenant of Law and the New Covenant of Grace. “The righteous will live by their faithfulness to God,” this reads in Habakkuk. “My righteous ones will live by faith,” this reads in Hebrews.
The Old Covenant of Law made it the responsibility of the Hebrews to live righteously by being faithful to God in what they do. God judged each one’s moral ability to keep the law as being righteous or unrighteous. God ruled each man’s work as being faithful to Him or not.
The New Covenant of Grace doesn’t place the responsibility for righteousness on the Christian and what he does. The Christian’s righteousness is a gift from Jesus, and it inspires him to live by faith. The Christian is not judged on How faithful He is or not. Jesus Christ was faithful on the Cross to take man’s judgment for him. God no longer judges what a man does. He is now Abba Father. He knows His child better than that child could ever know himself.
Look at the proud. Look at the self-righteousness of the Old Testament and the self-righteousness of the New Testament. The self-righteous under the Old Covenant of Law deliberately trusted in their own ability instead of trusting in God. Their lives were deceitful and perverse. The self-righteous, who claim to know Jesus, give power to the law, work for approval, and judge others' performance.
“My righteous ones shall live by faith,” the writer to the Hebrews declared! Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law. Living by faith inspires faithfulness to God, but we are no longer judged by what we do. We are loved and accepted by the precious grace of Jesus. The love of Jesus is all about who we are in Him—what He has done for us and not what we do for Him.
What does this mean for us? We no longer have to earn God's acceptance. Jesus changed everything. He accepted us in our sin and took our sin to the Cross. On Calvary, payment for our sin was complete. The requirements of the law which had exposed and given power to sin were finally fulfilled. We don’t have to prove to God that we love Him. We don’t have to worry that what we do for Him is enough. He yearns for us to know who He has made us. God has given us new life in Christ. He has given us His identity.
Jesus, who knew no sin, became our sin so that we might be the righteousness of God. We no longer have to do righteous acts to win God's approval. Jesus gave us His righteousness when He died for us. If you believe you have to strive to win God's love, you will always wonder if what you do is good enough. You will not feel His love and compassion. But when you know who you are in Jesus, you are filled with wonder at the love He unselfishly gave to you on Calvary. You are blown away by just being His child.
Am I Martha or Mary? Am I working or basking in His presence? To do or to be? I want to be who He has made me be—not who I try to make myself be. In just a little while, He will come. I will live by faith in what He has given me on Calvary.
©2020 Lynn Lacher