For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).
Habakkuk 2:4 is quoted three times in the New Testament and Paul’s use of it in Romans 1:17 proved to be life transforming for that pesky 16th century German monk, Martin Luther. “I anxiously and busily worked to understand the word of Paul in Rom. 1:17: The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel. I questioned this passage for a long time and labored over it, for the expression ‘righteousness of God’ barred my way. This phrase was customarily explained to mean that the righteousness of God is a virtue by which He is Himself righteous and condemns sinners. In this way all the teachers of the church except Augustine had interpreted the passage. They had said: The righteousness of God, that is, the wrath of God. But as often as I read this passage, I wished that God had never revealed the Gospel; for who could love a God who was angry, who judged and condemned people? This misunderstanding continued until, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, I finally examined more carefully the word of Habakkuk 2:4: ‘The just shall live by his faith.’ From this passage I concluded that life must be derived from faith…. Then the entire Holy Scripture became clear to me, and heaven itself was opened to me. Now we see this brilliant light very clearly, and we are privileged to enjoy it abundantly.” Later he would write, "It was as if the gates of paradise were swung open to me, and I was born again."
This week we will meditate on God’s answer to Habakkuk’s complaints and He will tell Habakkuk that the righteous will live by faith.
Pray: Romans 1:17 is the theme of the Book of Romans and it would be a good place to begin in your meditation. Use it to help shape your prayer for help in understanding God’s answer to Habakkuk.
Read: Read all three chapters of Habakkuk, but we will focus our attention on chapter 2.
Meditate: What is the role of 2:4 in God’s answer to Habakkuk and what else does the Lord say to His prophet? The questions below are designed to help us think through what the Lord has said in response to Habakkuk’s complaints.