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Living By Faith
by C.H. Mackintosh
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"The just shall live by his faith."

The weighty statement occurs in the second chapter of the prophet Habakkuk;
and it is quoted by an inspired apostle in three of his Epistles, namely, Romans,
Galatians, and Hebrews, with a distinct application in each. In Rom. 1:17 it is
applied to the
great question of righteousness. The blessed apostle declares
himself not ashamed of the gospel
"for it is the power of God unto salvation to
everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is
the righteousness of God revealed, on the principle of faith, to faith: as it is
written, The just shall live by faith."

Then, in the third of Galatians, where the apostle is seeking to recall those
erring assemblies to the foundations of Christianity, he says,
"but that no man
is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live
by faith."

Finally, in the tenth of Hebrews, where the object is to exhort believers to hold
fast their confidence, we read,
"Cast not away therefore your confidence,
which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that,
after ye have done the will of God, he might receive the promise. For yet a
little while, He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall
live by faith."

Here we have faith presented not only as the ground of righteousness, but as
vital principle by which we are to live, day by day, from the starting-post
to the goal of the Christian course. There is no other way of righteousness, no
other way of living, but by faith.

It is by faith we are justified, and by faith we live.
By faith we stand, and by faith we walk.

Now this is true of all Christians, and all should seek to enter into it fully.
Every child of God is called to live by faith. It is a very grave mistake indeed to
single out certain individuals who happen to have no visible source of temporal
supplies, and speak of them as though they alone lived by faith. According to
this view of the question, ninety-nine out of every hundred Christians would be
deprived of the precious privilege of living by faith. If a man has a settled
income, if he has a certain salary, if he has what is termed a secular calling, by
which he earns bread for himself and his family, is he not privileged to live by
faith? Do none live by faith save those who have no visible means of support?
Is the life of faith to be confined to the matter of trusting God for food and

What lowering of the life of faith it is to confine it to the question of temporal
supplies! No doubt
it is a very blessed and a very real thing to trust God
for everything; but the life of faith has a far higher and wider range than
mere bodily wants.
It embraces all that in any wise concerns us, in body, soul,
and spirit.

To live by faith is to walk with God: to cling to Him; to lean on Him; to
draw from His exhaustless springs; to find all our resources in Him; and
to have Him as a perfect covering for our eyes and a satisfying object for
our hearts--to know Him as our only resource in all difficulties, and in
our trials.
It is to be absolutely, complete, and continually shut up to Him; to
be undividedly
dependent upon Him, apart from and above every creature
confidence, every human hope, and every earthly expectation.

Such is the life of faith. Let us see that we understand it. It must be a reality or
nothing at all. It will not do to talk about the life of faith; we must live it; and in
order to live it we must know God practically--know Him intimately, in the
deep secret of our own souls.
It is utterly vain and delusive to profess to
be living by faith and looking to the Lord, while in reality our hearts are
looking to some creature resource.
How often do people speak and write
about their dependence upon God to meet certain wants, and by the very fact
of their making it known to a fellow-mortal they are, in principle, departing
from the life of faith!

If I write to a friend, or publish to the church, the fact that I am looking to the
Lord to meet a certain need, I am virtually off the ground of faith in that
matter. The language of faith is this:
"My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation is from Him."
To make known my wants, directly or
indirectly, to a human being, is departure from the life of faith, and a positive
dishonor to God. It is actually betraying Him. It is tantamount to saying that
God has failed me, and I must look to my fellow for help. It is forsaking the
living fountain
and turning to a broken cistern. It is placing the creature between my soul and
god, thus robbing my soul of rich blessing, and God of
the glory due to him.

This is serious work, and it demands our most solemn attention. God deals in
realities. He can never fail a trusting heart. But then, He must be trusted. It is
of no possible use to talk about trusting Him when our hearts are really looking
to creature streams.
"What doth it profit, my brethren though a man say
he hath faith?"
Empty profession is but a delusion to the soul and a dishonor
to God. The true life of faith is a grand reality. God delights in it, and He is
glorified by it. There is nothing in all this world that so gratifies and glorifies
God as the life of faith.
"Oh how great is thy goodness, which Thou has
wrought for them that
trust in thee before the sons of men! (Psa. 31:19)

How is it with you in reference to this great question? Are you living by faith?
Can you say,
"the life that I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of
God, who loved me and gave Himself for me"
? Do you know what it is to
have the living God filling the whole range of your soul's vision? Is He enough
for you? Can you trust Him for everything--for body, soul and spirit--for time
and eternity? Or are you in the habit of making known your wants to man in
any one way?
Is it a habit of your heart to turn to the creature for
sympathy, succor, or counsel?

These are searching questions; but we entreat you not to turn away from them.
Be assured it is morally healthful for our souls to be tested faithfully, as in the
very presence of God. Our hearts are so terribly treacherous, that when we
imagine we are leaning upon God, we are really leaning upon some human
prop. Thus God is shut out, and we are left in barrenness and desolation.
And yet it is not that God does not use the creature to help and bless us. He
does so constantly; and the man of faith will be deeply conscious of this fact,
and truly grateful to every human agent that God uses to help him. God
comforted Paul by the coming of Titus; but had Paul been looking to Titus, he
would have had but little comfort. [Paul looked to the Lord for help.]

God used the poor widow to feed Elijah; but Elijah's dependence was not upon
the widow,
but upon God. Thus it is in every case.

Modified  by Cobblestone Road Ministries
Copyright © 2006 Cobblestone Road Ministries


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