The Righteous Shall Live By Faith: God's Cross-Centered Answer to the Questions Our Suffering Surfaces

Brian Mahon - 4/7/2024


Call to worship: Job 19:23-27

Text: Habakkuk 1:1-2:4


Habakkuk despairs over the spiritual condition of Judah. If he's pained by it, why doesn't God seem to be? And when God answers, why is the answer not revival? On the farthest end, why is it judgment by means of a wicked enemy? In revealing His knowledge of the Chaldeans, God reveals His control over the situation. His purpose will not be thwarted. Still, acknowledging this, how can the everlasting Holy One ordain the evil as instrumental in the judgment of His people? It seems out of character that the righteous should perish at the hands of the wicked. Habakkuk takes to his post and waits for the Word. God's answer is intended to fuel the faith of His people. It's for running under the weight of a cross. What God says will come to pass, so best not to be prideful. Instead, 'the righteous shall live by his faith.' By faith, the sinner is justified, and the justified is stabilized, and the stabilized is enabled to view present sufferings in light of the life won for them in that great reversal: Christ and Him crucified. This world is meant to give way to a never ending one.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The righteous surrounded: Habakkuk's perplexity over the state of God's people. (1:1-4)
  2. The righteous exiled: the Lord's unexpected answer to the plight of the righteous. (1:5-11)
  3. The righteous stationed: Habakkuk's perplexity over the content of God's answer. (1:12-2:1)
  4. The righteous quickened: the Lord's sure Word for the waiting of His suffering saints. (2:2-4)


Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Habakkuk 1:1-2:4.
  2. In 1:1-4, what causes does Habakkuk identify for his painstaking perplexity?
  3. What solutions do you think the prophet might've proposed for the plight of the righteous? In 1:5-11, what does the Lord propose, and how is His proposal quite different from what Habakkuk could've understood? If told the righteous will be swept away with the wicked by means of those famous for evil, how might you, as a righteous person, respond?
  4. In 1:12-2:1, how does Habakkuk respond? What does he affirm? What can't he understand? Having expressed his mind, what does the prophet do? How is this a good model for what we ought to do when God's will doesn't meet our expectation?
  5. How does the Lord respond to the prophet on the lookout? What's the goal of the sure Word God now begins (and only begins) to give? How is 2:4b a catch-all for the suffering saints of God? How does it address the sinner's justification, the justified's sanctification and/or stabilization, and also their final endurance and glorification? How does it establish us when the world seems to be ending? Consider its use in the NT: Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38; also, Matt 5:11-16, Rom 8:16ff, 2 Cor 4:7-5:10, James 1:2ff, 1 Pet 1:3ff, 2:19ff, 3:13-5:11, Heb 13:12-16. How do these words in 2:4b bring the cross of Christ into view for the righteous-sufferer, and how does that alight our perception of reality, while strengthening faith for all endurance?
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