June 21, 2023

A Call to Live by Faith

R.C. Sproul
A Call to Live by Faith

When we face a world of conflicting values, our feet must be firmly planted on solid ground. Today, R.C. Sproul urges us to place our full trust in God and to cling to His Word as the ultimate guide for living by faith.


“The proud one,” who stands in rebellion and in defiance and in arrogance over against God, “his soul is not right within him; but,” says God, “the just shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4). Where have you heard that before? Did you hear it thundering from the pulpit in Wittenberg? Did you hear it coming from the writer of the book of Hebrews? Do you hear it twice from the pen of the Apostle Paul as he unravels for us the mystery of our own justification in the New Testament? That which is the thematic statement of the entire epistle to Romans is called forth from this seemingly obscure, relatively unimportant, small, minor prophet of the Old Testament. In the midst of the blackest hour of Jewish history, God says to His people, “The just shall live by faith.”

What does He mean? Close your eyes, take a deep breath, take a leap of faith and jump into the dark, and maybe Yahweh will catch you, or Jesus? That’s not what He’s talking about when He says, “The just shall live by faith.” To live by faith means to live by trusting God, and that means, dear friends, by trusting what God says. That is not intellectual suicide; it’s the most intelligent thing you can ever do.

But see, we are so foolish, so stupid as to assume that when there’s a difference of an opinion in our midst, if God says one thing and the whole world says another, because the world is near to us and dear to us and present and seemingly at times effective, we are tempted to put our trust in what man says rather than to trust in the living God, who is patient and whose Word sometimes takes such a laboriously long time to come to pass.

Today, the issue in the church is the infallibility of the Scriptures. It’s not a question of the impeccability of a book; it’s a question of the trustworthiness of God Himself, of God’s Word. Day after day, after day, after day the Christian is brought into conflict between values expressed on the one hand by God’s Word, and those endorsed by social scientists, by teachers in school, by ministers, and all kinds of groups of people in the world. And we are caught in that crushing pressure of two opinions.

It is arrogant to embrace man and deny God. And when you do that, your soul is not right. There are times when we have to tie ourselves to the mast, like Ulysses going through the straits with the sirens, calling him and beckoning him to the left and to the right to bring him into the rocks and to destroy his ship. He tied himself and stuffed cotton in his ears lest he fall into the temptation. But the just man lives by that faith. He trusts God. Sometimes that faith is not just an easy, casual, flippant, “Oh, I believe.” Sometimes Christians, if they’re going to be people of integrity, have to hang on by their fingernails.

“You’re saying You want me to trust You when I see the ravenous wolves of the Chaldeans coming forth here to destroy my people? I’m supposed to trust You that it’s all going to come out in a wash in the end? I’m seeing them destroy everything that we’ve worked for generations to build up, and I see them in the vision taking away my people captive into a strange and foreign land—and You want me to trust You, God? Is there any hope at all that they’ll ever be restored, that they’ll ever come back from captivity? There are no signs of hope whatsoever. Only destruction. I’ll never live to see it.”

God says: “Habakkuk, the just shall live by faith—not a blind faith. Look at my track record. Read the history.” Where do you get faith? My secretary answered that last week. She said, “You can’t push a button?” David Hume understood that: belief is something that’s involuntary. You can’t just take deep breaths and grit your teeth and believe something that your mind doesn’t believe. How can you get faith? How can you grow in your faith? And my secretary asked me that question with eyes wide open: “R.C., you’re a theologian. You’re going to give me a deep, profound answer to that question.” I said: “I’ll tell you the only way I know to get faith. The Bible says, ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ I don’t know any other way to get it but to fill yourself with the Word of God.”