“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” Romans 1:17
What is faith? Have you ever stopped to ponder that question? For many of us, it is a word we have grown up hearing in Sunday school classes, church services, or children’s songs. A biblical understanding of faith is essential for the Christian life. Without it, Hebrews 11:6 tells us, it is impossible to please God. As children, we are taught to “believe” in many things…Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy just to name a few. If we are also taught to believe in God, it may be difficult to separate an innocent childhood belief from a biblical faith rooted in truth. The latter is a belief so strong it changes the way you live. Faith carries a cost, and it requires action.
There is only one way to live a Christ-honoring life, and that is by faith. Romans 1:17 says, “The righteous will live by faith.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 also says we live by faith and not by sight. And Paul said in Galatians 2:20 that the life he lived in his mortal body was by faith in Jesus Christ. So what does it mean to live by faith? Is God talking about a one-time decision to place your faith in His Son Jesus for salvation, or is it more? Living by faith applies to the past, present, and future of a Christian’s life. It means believing in what Christ did on the cross, what He is doing in you now, and what He will do in the future.
Christ’s death and resurrection is the foundation for a life of faith. It is the beginning of a journey of trusting the Lord Jesus for everything we need. God’s grace, through faith in the finished work of Jesus, brings eternal life. But faith does not end there. While Christ’s death saves us from the penalty of sin, we must continue to have faith that He is saving us from the power of sin. This belief affects our everyday lives. It stretches us and deepens our dependence on God as we learn that we cannot live the Christian life perfectly. We still sin. We stumble and fall and mess up. But by faith we can repent and keep going, trusting that He is molding and changing us each day into the image of His Son.
And finally, living by faith means looking forward with hope and assurance that one day, we will be free from the presence of sin. Christ will return for His bride. This belief brings a joyful and abundant life despite suffering. It reminds us that this earth is not our home. It causes us to long for heaven, and to live on behalf of Christ and those who do not yet know Him. Faith in what is to come gives our lives a sense of peace and urgency. Because we know He will not tarry forever, we are compelled to persevere in the work He has given us to do.
Are you living by faith? Is your life driven by full confidence in Christ’s past, present, and future work? Faith permeates every part of our lives as it deepens and grows. This is what it means to live by faith.
Dear God, my prayer today is that You would deepen my faith! I pray that my lifestyle would reflect my belief in You so that others see Your goodness and power through me. Help me to remember that I live by faith not only in what Jesus did on the cross but also in His work today and tomorrow. In Jesus’ name, amen.