Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: We’re saved by faith, but faith doesn’t stop there. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It’s not that God gets me saved and then I have to struggle and strive to live this Christian life. I live this life by faith in Christ and Christ alone.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, October 18.

In a world of plastic smiles, it’s important to be real, to get honest about hurt, disappointment, and questions; but it’s not healthy to grow attached to hurt, disappointment, and questions.

The prophet Habakkuk went through a time of doubts and questions, but he didn’t stay there. Here’s Nancy in the series Habakkuk: Moving from Fear to Faith.

Nancy: Well, we’ve come in our study of Habakkuk to the verse that I believe is the crux of this whole message, the turning point, the cross, if you will, of this message. It’s really the transformational point of Habakkuk’s life.

The concept we’ve been looking at in Habakkuk chapter 2, verse 4, is the concept that takes Habakkuk from wrestling to worshiping. It takes him from sighing to singing. It takes him from fear to faith.

We’re looking at chapter 2 of Habakkuk, verse 4, and we saw there were two kinds of people as we looked at this verse in our last session. The Scripture says, “Behold his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him.”

That’s one kind of person. Now, the immediate context God is talking about is the Babylonians, or the Chaldeans. They’re puffed up. They’re proud. They’re not upright. They are not righteous

But in a broader application of this passage, God is saying, “There’s a whole lot of people in the world who are that way.” They’re self-sufficient; they’re independent; and then they don’t think they need God. They depend on themselves. Their souls are puffed up.

They’re arrogant; they’re proud, and they’re not upright. They’re not righteous. They may have good deeds, they may do good things, but they do not have a righteous heart. They’re not upright within themselves.

Then the second half of that verse tells us about the second kind of people, “But the righteous shall live by his faith.” Righteous people and unrighteous people: people who live by faith and people who are puffed up. They’re proud; they live in dependence upon themselves.

And really, there are only those two kinds of people in the world. Now, in the last session I mentioned that there are two senses in which the righteous live by faith. We focused on the first sense in the last lesson.

“The righteous shall live by his faith,” means we are justified by faith. We are saved by faith. Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling.

There’s nothing we can do to ever merit God’s salvation. There’s nothing we could ever do to become righteous ourselves. It’s all, all, all through faith in Jesus Christ. So, we’re justified by faith.

But there’s a second sense in which the righteous shall live by faith, and that is that we are sanctified by faith. We live by faith. Once we’ve been justified, from here until we get to heaven, we continue to walk by faith.

I was reading this morning in my quiet time in the book of Hebrews and just kind of nosing around in Hebrews chapters 10, 11, and 12. I was following this theme of faith.

In the middle of Hebrews chapter 10, you see this invitation to draw near to the throne, to the holy place of God. We draw near by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.

That’s how we come to know God—through faith. That’s speaking in Hebrews 10 of our justification. But that passage goes on to talk about how we live by faith. It’s not just faith that brings us to salvation.

It’s faith that keeps us saved, and it’s faith that helps us to live as saved people. “The righteous shall live by his faith.” It’s through faith we have the power to live the Christian life.

Paul said it this way in Galatians chapter 2.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by [what’s the next word? faith], I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

It’s not that God gets me saved and then I have to struggle and strive to live this Christian life. I live this life by faith in Christ and Christ alone. I think particularly of those of us who have been taught by the influence of the Protestant Reformation; we have this idea down that we’re justified by faith.

But I think a lot of us try to live a Christian life as if we could manage to get the energy and the effort ourselves to live this life. That’s why we have so many really frustrated Christians trying to live a life we cannot live.

Paul said it this way to the Galatians.

Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:2).

Well, you say, “Of course, Paul. We weren’t saved by works of the Law. We know that.” And he says, “Then, you were saved by faith—faith in Christ.”

Then he goes on to say, "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit,"—having begun by faith, having been justified by faith—do you think you can now be “perfected by the flesh”? (Galatians 3:3).

If you received Christ by faith, then you walk in Him by faith. The righteous shall live and keep on living by his faith. And that applies to every area of the Christian life.

In Habakkuk’s day, God was telling him, “You’re going to face persecution. There’s going to be chastening; there’s going to be suffering, and you’re going to need faith to face the coming invasion by the Babylonians.”

How are you going to live in a day of crisis? By faith. “The righteous shall live by his faith.” Up until this pivot point in the book of Habakkuk, Habakkuk is losing his mind trying to figure out how to understand what God’s doing. He is grappling with the unfathomable issues of God's providence and His sovereignty and His plan.

He can’t get it. God says, “You live by faith.” And from that point on, Habakkuk just begins to rest his arguments, his mind, his heart, his life, his future, in faith—faith that God knows what He’s doing.

God will do all things right, and what God does is good. It’s not just for Habakkuk and people who are facing the Babylonians. They’re not the only ones who have to live by faith. We have to live by faith in a day when we face affliction and adversity and suffering and challenges.

We need faith. I quoted a few sessions ago from Hebrews chapter 10, but let me pick up that passage again as I think it applies here.

The writer to the Hebrews is talking to the New Testament believers who were being persecuted for their faith. They had been justified by faith, and then they were being cast out as they were being persecuted.

The writer says to them in Hebrews chapter 10, verse 34, “You joyfully,” after you came to faith in Christ, “you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property.” Now, think about the plundering of your property by fire or by persecution or by theft or somebody breaking into your house and taking everything you have or a hurricane wiping out everything you have.

He says, “You joyfully . . .” I can accept some things, but joyfully? “You joyfully accepted the plundering of your property.” How did they do that? How did they do that joyfully?

He says, “since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (Hebrews 10:34b). You exercised faith. You looked to the future, and you knew this is not all there is.

God has more for us. God has heaven for us! We have an eternal possession in heaven. We have a city not made with hands; therefore, we can live by faith and enjoy even the plundering of our possessions down here on earth.

He’s making a mansion for us up there, so whatever I lose down here is nothing in comparison to what God has prepared for me. So therefore, the writer says, “Don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35).

Hold onto faith, “for you have need of endurance” (Hebrews 10:36). I was looking in Hebrews 10, 11, and 12 this morning, and that word endurance appears over and over and over again. You need endurance. You need your faith to be tested, so when you’ve done the will of God, you may receive what’s promised.

“For yet a little while,” (We saw in an earlier session this is a quote out of the book of Habakkuk that we find in the book of Hebrews.) “yet a little while, and the coming one,” that’s Christ, “will come and will not delay, but my righteous one shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:37–38).

We live by faith that Christ is coming, that He’s going to right all wrongs, that He’s going to finish the story. We have something better ahead, so we can endure in the here and now because with eyes of faith, we see down the road.

Then he goes on to say, back in Hebrews 10, “My righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back,” and some of your translations will say, if he draws back, “my soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38).

God says there are two kinds of people: those who move forward in confidence in faith, faith in God, not of themselves, faith in God’s promises, faith in Christ; or there are those who shrink back when the time of testing comes. They draw back. They don’t persevere because they don’t have the faith.

The writer says,

We are not of those who shrink back [or draw back] and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls (Hebrews 10:39).

You see, faithfulness and perseverance in times of trouble and testing is the fruit of faith. It’s the fruit of living by faith in the faithfulness and the promises of God.

So those who have been made righteous by faith in Christ, those who have been justified by faith in Christ will not shrink back in times of testing. They won’t fall away from Christ.

And by the way, that’s evidence that you have genuine faith. When times of testing come, you press on in faith. You persevere. The same faith that God placed within you to bring you to the point of salvation is the faith that continues to stay you when you face times of testing and adversity as a Christian. That’s what helps you to endure.

So the writer of Hebrews goes on in chapter 11, let’s keep talking about this faith thing. How does it work out? What does it look like? How does it flesh out? Faith can become this nebulous concept. What is faith? Let’s see what it looks like.

He start out by saying, chapter 11, verse 1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” If you can see it, it’s not faith.

He’s saying there’s something that God gives to us. God gives us that faith to believe that God’s promises are true and Christ is coming back; that God will fulfill His plan and His purposes in the world. Faith gives us that assurance, that conviction of things we can’t see.

We have through chapter 11 of Hebrews a Great Hall of Faith. All these men and women of Scriptural days who by faith, pleased God. Without faith, you can’t please God. Over twenty times in that chapter, we read, “By faith . . . by faith . . . by faith . . . through faith they did this . . . through faith they went here . . . through faith they did this . . . through faith Sarah had a baby when she was ninety years old.”

You say, “I don’t think I want that kind of faith or that much faith.” By faith they did the impossible. By faith they overcame adversity. By faith.

You know what’s true of all those men and women of faith? They lived their lives as if God’s Word was really true. They didn’t just know it in their heads. They banked their lives on it.

They stepped out as if what God said was true, even when everything looked contrary. They were willing to look foolish in the eyes of men. Think about Noah building an ark when there had never been any rain. By faith.

So if God ever asks you to do something that makes absolutely no sense, and everyone around you thinks you’re crazy, do it by faith. By faith they were willing to be rejected; they were willing to step out to do the impossible.

We have kind of put them all on a great pedestal: Noah and Moses and Abraham. “Wow, these were great heroes of the faith!”

I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is these were very ordinary, faltering, feeble, frail men and women just like us. What made them able to do these great, extraordinary feats was faith in a great God.

So what we read there we’re supposed to apply to all of us. We do everything in the Christian life by faith, faith, and faith alone. “The righteous shall live by faith.” Faith in God, faith in God’s promises, faith in God’s presence, His protection, His provision, His power. Every area of your life, if you want it to please God, requires faith.

Whatever is not of faith is sin. Without faith you cannot please God. You cannot live the Christian life. Every area of your life—your finances, you need faith, faith to give God’s way, faith to make sacrifices when God wants you to, faith to have finances taken away.

When the stock market crashes, where’s your faith? Do you get under the pile, do you get overwhelmed when you lose your job? “How am I going to live?” Listen. God fed his servant Elijah by sending ravens to bring him food.

And then when the brook dried up there in a time of famine, God sent Elijah to a really unlikely candidate to meet his provision, a widow who was almost penniless. God used the raven, the brook, and the widow to meet His servant’s needs.

God can meet your needs in any way He chooses. In the area of your finances, your provision, you walk by faith. Faith in relation to your family—how many children does God want you to have?

I hear people say, “We can’t have any more children! We could never afford it!” I’m thinking, “How big is God?” If God wants you to have more children, you think God can provide for those children?

What happens if you want to have children but can’t? It takes faith to embrace God’s plan for your life.

I sent an email this week to a friend. She and her husband have not been able to have children. They’ve wanted them so badly. They’ve had to learn to walk by faith in God’s timing.

Well, they’re now entered into an adoption process. They’re wanting to adopt, and it’s taking so long, and I emailed them this week and said, “How’s it going with the whole adoption process?”

She wrote back and said, “We’re in waiting mode.” I’ve heard about waiting in the book of Habakkuk! She said, “We’ve been on the list for months now, and we just are having to wait until we’re chosen by a birth mother. We’re trusting in God’s perfect timing for our family.”

“The righteous shall live by his faith.” You can be joyful in the waiting process if you’re walking by faith. You need faith for your future. As we get older, we need faith.

We think about not being able to do all the things we were able to at one time. I know women at the mid-season of life who live in fear of what if they’re not provided for. What if their health fails them? What if they’re alone?

How do you face the future with joy and with confidence? You walk by faith. As you face decisions in your life—do I take this job? Do we move to this location? Do I marry this person?

I was talking with someone yesterday, and they said, “When you pray, how does God lead?” And I said, “When I pray about a decision, I don’t expect necessarily that I’m going to open my Bible and it’s going to tell me what session I should teach next time, or should we hire this staff member.”

I pray, and I say, “Lord, direct my steps. Lead me.” And then I trust that God is giving me the wisdom I’ve asked Him to give me. “The righteous shall live by faith.”

  • We need faith to have victory over temptation, to have victory over sinful habits in our lives. It takes faith, not just striving and struggling and saying, “I’m going to be a good Christian if it kills me.” It may!
  • We live by faith in the power of Christ and His Holy Spirit within us.
  • You need faith to love that person in your life, that family member who’s not lovable.
  • You need faith to forgive someone who committed an unpardonable offense against you.
  • You need faith to submit to that human authority in your life when they make a decision that you know is wrong. You need faith.
  • We need faith to obey God.
  • We need faith when we’re facing death.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, as he’s talking about the time coming when we’ll be absent from this body, and we’ll put off this earthly tabernacle, and we’ll go to heaven.

“Well,” you say, “that’s a great thing to look forward to,” but I find a lot of people, when they get to that stage, they start to have fears. Paul says, “No, we are always of good courage, even when facing death, because we walk by faith and not by sight.”

I need faith in every aspect of this ministry, faith for God’s provision financially, faith for the anointing of God’s Spirit on the teaching, faith to know what to teach next. I walk by faith. If I walk by sight, I’m going to be limited to my own resources, my own understanding, and God says, “Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him” (Proverbs 3:5–6). Walk by faith.

I received this past week a touching email from a dear friend who has been in a very, very difficult marriage situation for now a number of years

Her husband had committed a great offense in the marriage. There’s been a lot of forgiveness. There’s been levels of apparent repentance. There’s been a lot of growth and a lot of change.

But he’s still not the same person she knew all those years. Even though he’s not in this sinful lifestyle anymore, she said things are still really hard.

Here’s what she said:

How I pray for my husband to have a passionate heart again. It hurts so badly to still see him in this condition. I’ve had to beg the Lord to give me love and grace over the long haul.

God reminded me of these verses, which He gave me many months ago, and they encouraged me again.

And then she quotes from 2 Corinthians chapter 1 where Paul says, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed in our hearts, we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8–9, paraphrased). Paul says this happened so we could learn to walk by faith, to rely on God. "God has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He [this is faith speaking] He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope (verse 10). That’s faith that He will continue to deliver us. So she quoted those verses, and then she said,

I will continue to set my hope on the Lamb and to believe He will continue to deliver me and give me joy in Him. If my husband never changes, if my circumstances never change, I will hope in God.

“The righteous shall live by his faith.”

What areas of your life require you to walk by faith? Do you resent them? Do you resist them? Do you run from them? Or, do you embrace them? Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.

So from this point on in the book of Habakkuk, after God says, “The righteous shall live by his faith,” you’ll notice Habakkuk doesn’t ask any more questions.

We’ve said earlier it’s not wrong to have honest questions asked from a searching heart, but something clicks in Habakkuk, and he realizes that he doesn’t now and never will fully understand the ways of God, and that’s okay!

See, if we can see the outcome, if we can see and understand all the purposes of God, it’s not faith! “The righteous shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk realizes that whether he can see it and understand or not, God is at work. In His time, the vision will be fulfilled. God’s plan and God’s purpose that God is talking about will be fulfilled.

All will be well, and in the meantime, what does he do? He walks by faith. “The righteous shall live by his faith.”

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will return to pray. She’s been providing important insight into faith. It’s not just for salvation, but it’s necessary every day of our lives.

Grow in your faith by studying the Word of God with Nancy. She’s in a series called Habakkuk: Moving from Fear to Faith. If you’ve been listening along, you know how relevant, moving, and practical the message of this minor prophet is.

Nancy first delivered this series a few years ago. We’re returning to it during our 10th year of broadcast ministry. Throughout the year we’re thanking God for all He’s done during this time and remembering highlights. The first time this series aired, a woman wrote who didn’t fully understand what it meant to be God’s child. She wrote, “I always felt I had to try to be good enough to please God and find His favor.” During this teaching on Habakkuk, she was struck by her need to stop trying to earn favor with God and rest in the work Christ had done on her behalf. She wrote, “I think a little light bulb might have just lit for me” as she began to understant the truth about grace.

We’re thankful to be in our tenth year of speaking to women like her. We can’t do it without the support of our listeners. When you make any size donation to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll say thanks by sending a booklet on the book of Habakkuk called Worry, Woes, and Worship. It’s inspired by Nancy’s teaching, but provides additional content for your daily Bible study. You’ll spend time applying important truths from Habakkuk to your daily choices.

When you call with your donation, ask for, Worry, Woes, and Worship. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or donate at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Most of us are far removed from the farms that produce our food, but all of us are still planting and harvesting all the time. Nancy will explain more tomorrow. I hope you'll  be back, and I hope you'll pray now with Nancy.

Nancy: Father, thank You for placing faith in our hearts by Your grace. We would have never had faith on our own apart from You. You have given us the gift of faith to believe and be saved.

 

Thank You that You now give us the faith to look to You and live. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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