"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:21-28, NASB)."

Devotion 26 of 30

The Righteous Live By Faith

How is spiritual life sustained? Many imagine it is by routine, discipline, and solid habits. Whole religious systems have been placed into effect that teach this. Some individual's maintain a very successful lifestyle purveying such disciplines in regular and popular seminars. These approaches are not only wrong, they are in sharp conflict with the nature of spiritual life.

Life with God is not sustained by habit! It is not maintained by a disciplined routine. This does not mean we disdain routine. It does mean routine is not equal to the requirements and challenges of spiritual life. Those who suppose fellowship with God, the resistance of the wicked one, and being changed from glory unto glory can be accomplished by routine reveal, in that very attitude, how distant they are from the Lord, and how unfamiliar they are with His ways.

And, what does it mean to "live"--for the righteous to "live?" It means more than to merely exist. It is not the mere maintenance of external piety. This is being "alive to God" (Rom 6:11). It is being joyfully sensitive to Him, and desirous to be in His presence. It means we are hearing Him who is "speaking from heaven" (Heb 12:25). Such "life" enables us to be "led by the Spirit" (Rom 8:14). Those who are spiritually alive are more conscious of heaven than earth, and of God than men. They live "by every Word of God" (Matt 4:4), and are noted for drawing near to God (Heb 10:22). They are walking in the light, and have fixed their attention on the "things that are unseen" (2 Cor 4:17-18).

How is this life sustained? Do we live by what we do? By the routines we follow? God has spoken on this matter, so there is no need for conjecture. "For in it [the Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH" (Rom 1:17, NASB). How frequently this truth is affirmed! " . . . the life which I now live in the flesh I LIVE BY FAITH in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me" (Gal 2:20, NASB). "Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "the righteous man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH" (Gal 3:11, NASB). "But my righteous one shall LIVE BY FAITH; and if any one shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him" (Heb 10:38, NASB).

Faith moves us within the perimeter of hearing, where "he that hath ears to hear" CAN hear ( Matt 11:15). It sensitizes the soul to the leading of the Spirit (Rom 8:13), enabling the saved one to know he "has eternal life" (1 John 5:13). The word is thus loved, and iniquity is hated. Heaven is longed for, and earth is seen as a temporary realm, fraught with war and danger.

Faith is what keeps the saints alive and sensitive to God! This is what puts heaven in their eye, and confidence in their heart! In spite of this obvious truth, faith is rarely the emphasis of the contemporary church. Much of what is done in the name of Christ does not require faith. You can do such things without trusting in the Lord with all of your heart. You really do not have to depend upon the Lord to fulfill sectarian requirements. But if you want to live toward God--to be nourished and strengthened by His Presence--faith, and faith alone, can achieve that objective! The one with faith, or the trusting one, is a prodigious worker. But his faith is the source of his life, and the catalyst for godly deeds.

PRAYER POINT: Father, thank You in Jesus' name for granting me the means to stay alive to You. Like the Psalmist, I have learned that "none can keep alive his own soul."

-- Tomorrow: THE EFFECTIVENESS OF FAITH #4, It Justifies the Individual --