Rom 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Hab 2:4 “… but the righteous shall live by his faith.”
It seems that a lot of teaching on faith centers on trusting God. Of course, I don’t have a problem with that but I do have a problem with separating faith from obedience to the Word of God as if you can trust the Lord even if you aren’t following the Word. The first two passages above specifically link faith to obedience and the Word of God. I think a lot of times we just think of it as the Habakkuk passage refers to it. We speak of living by faith but not by obeying the Word but by simply trusting the Lord. While biblically they should be seen as the same thing, I think often they are seen as different things entirely. Let me explain.
Often when some one speaks of living by faith they mean that they are trusting the Lord to take care of them, to lead them, to provide for them, etc. I am afraid that often that is all they mean. What we sometimes find is that they make little effort to study God’s Word and so understand God’s will for them. In other words they are not growing in faith but assume they can live by faith. They assume that they can trust the Lord to take care of them while they are to some degree ignoring him. My point is that if this is the case, you aren’t trusting in him to begin with. At best you are presuming upon him to take care of you while you are busy doing what you want to do.
We see from Romans 10 that faith comes by hearing, or learning, the Word of God; this is growing in the faith of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I think a more complete way to think of living by faith is to believe God’s revelation and his wisdom and to live accordingly even when this world tells us something differently. How can I trust in a God I know little about? How can I obey commands I don’t know? How can I do all things for the glory of One I know so little about that I cannot love as I ought?
Our faith is proven by living in the eternal truth of God’s revelation to us. It is to see the wisdom of God and realize that he knows better than we do. The more we know of God, the bigger he is in our estimation and the more we will trust him and not ourselves. We trust what he says because of who he is.
Those that mostly see life as something they are to do and then expect God to take care of any messes they make, who take “leaps of faith” that are really foolish decisions based on their desires and will but not on the principles of God’s Word are not living by faith, they are presuming upon the Lord.
I know that there are many times in my life where that better describes my life rather than living by faith in a biblical sense and I suspect I am not alone. I want to trust God fully to use me and protect me and strengthen me as I am doing his will; not running behind me cleaning up after me like a parent would a small child who is only doing what he wants to do. So living by faith is not simply trusting the Lord for help but actively living by his Word regardless of the consequences because we know the Lord will make all things right to them that love him.