In the book of Hosea there’s a verse that reads, Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein (Hosea 14:9). As I was doing my personal Bible reading and study on Friday, there was a phrase that caught my eye, “and the just shall walk in them.” I immediately thought of the verse that the Holy Spirit laid upon the heart of Paul as he wrote, For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).
The Bible speaks of being just and sets the standards
I decided to do a key phrase search of the Bible using “just shall” as a starting point. What amazed me is that there are seven verses with that exact phrase; three of them are found in the New Testament. Of all the verses where this phrase is used really stands out: Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him (Hebrews 10:38). This is one of the first standards we must have when it comes to our faith in Jesus. Even Jesus warns us of splitting our loyalties: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). There have been times in my own life that I’ve tried to serve the Lord while at the same time trying to appease the world. Instead of fully understanding or even attempting to understand what the Lord would have me do, I didn’t realize God had placed a higher standard on me than even my employer had: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Colossians 3:23). When we simply accept, by faith, that everything we do, whether it be for our children, our spouse, or even our employer, we should have the attitude that we are doing it for the Lord. It then becomes clear that “good enough for government work” simply doesn’t measure up to the standard of the just shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38a).
Paul, in explaining the purpose of faith in Jesus, wrote, But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith (Galatians 3:11). Paul is explaining the meaning of a verse written by the prophet Habakkuk: Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4). What the Old Testament prophet is telling us is the very same thing John the Baptist was trying to teach those who listened to him: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36). Our faith comes in believing on the Lord Jesus Christ; this is what the verse in Habakkuk means – our souls are lifted up by nothing that we do of ourselves. It does not come from inside us but comes from the Lord. Because of this, the just – those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior – the Lord lifts up our souls. We are no longer weighted down by the wages of sin.
So, the three standards that seemed to be the most obvious to me are: 1) Once we become a born-again believer, we are to forsake any standard but the ones set by the Lord. 2) We must accept that anything we do we are doing it for the Lord. Anything else would be like having two masters. 3). Realize that our faith and our walk are to be a product of what Jesus has done for us through the gift of salvation. When we adopt these three scripturally based standards, we become liberated from the constraints of the world: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8:36). We become the servant of only one master, performing all of our responsibilities to one set of standards, and are able to keep a clear conscience as we live from day-to-day.
And the just shall walk in them…
The verse I shared at the beginning of this entry, Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein (Hosea 14:9), has another standard that we often miss in our day. Hosea essentially asks the reader questions about who is wise and will understand – and then provides the answer. He tells us that those who are just will not only understand the teachings of the Lord, but will also understand they are right and will do what has been taught. Jesus taught this very concept during His earthly ministry: And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46). It doesn’t do any good to call ourselves Christians if we are unwilling to live by the principles and standards that Jesus sets before us. What I take from this verse is that if I am going to call myself a follower and disciple of Jesus then I must be willing to live according to His plan.
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