This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
We looked at righteousness in another set of devotions. Righteousness and faith are closely tied however. In fact, it is almost impossible to talk about one without the other in regard to salvation.
Righteousness is only obtained through faith. If you ask the average person on the street, they will say that they believe they are going to heaven. If you follow up by asking them why they expect to go to heaven, their faith isn’t likely to be mentioned unless they are a Christian.
Many people believe that they are righteous enough on their own. They compare themselves to others and make the determination that they do less wrong than other people, so they deserve to go to heaven. Of course this standard is relative and each person considers themselves good because there’s always someone worse than them or something worse that they could be doing.
The truth is that we aren’t righteous. We might sin less than some other people, but sin is still sin. It doesn’t matter how little or much, sin separates us from God.
Faith is required for the forgiveness of our sins. It is faith that gives us righteousness from God. This is what is necessary for salvation. Faith is the only thing that will get us into heaven.
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
As we looked at previously, Jesus chastised the disciples for having little faith. In this passage, Jesus instructs the disciples His disciples as to what they can accomplish with just a small amount of faith.
The context of this passage is very similar to what we looked at in the “Power of Faith”. Instead of examining the power this time, we’ll concentrate on how big our faith is.
The point of Jesus’ statements like this is not to encourage us to uproot mulberry trees or move mountains. Instead it is meant as an encouragement as to what a little faith can do when God blesses it.
God can do anything. He can heal hopeless diseases. He can save broken marriages. He can rescue from financial disasters. This doesn’t mean that He always will because He may have a greater purpose in mind or there may be other parties involved that resist His will.
The point is that anything is possible with God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego realized this when they faced the fiery furnace. They also recognized that God may not save them but they still wouldn’t abandon their faith because of it. We need to have faith first and then rely on God for whatever the outcome is. Even if it is not what we want, He will still be with us and see us through it.
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
As we read through the gospels, we find that the disciples are far from perfect people. They make plenty of mistakes and are sometimes overzealous in their desire to bring about Jesus’ kingdom (which they didn’t understand until after being given the Holy Spirit.)
Jesus reserves most of His criticism for His disciples regarding their faith however. On a number of occasions He rebukes them for their lack of faith.
Faith is central to the life of a Christian so it is important whether we have great faith or little faith. Not only is faith required for salvation, it is necessary in the daily aspects of Christian life.
The disciples were scared when a literal storm came upon the boat they were in. Christians are called to have faith through the storms of life. We are to trust that God will see us through no matter what. Jesus rebuked the wind and waves for the disciples and He will calm the storms that we face. We must have faith in this however and trust that it will be done.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”
The centurion understood who Jesus was better than others around him. Not only did he have greater faith in Jesus than other people did, he sought to help Jesus in His ministry. The centurion did not want Jesus to have to come to his house as he knew it was unnecessary to make the trip; all Jesus needed to do was say the word and it would be done. Likewise, the centurion understood that Jesus was a Jew and to enter the house of a gentile meant that He would be considered ceremonially unclean.
The praise for the centurion is also a condemnation of the Israelites. They were the people of God who had the prophets and all of the reasons to understand who Jesus was. Yet they missed Him and rejected Him. A centurion expressed more faith in Jesus than they did.
Christians get caught in the same trap as the Israelites did however. We have seen God work time after time and yet when a crisis arises we quickly forget how God has been with us in the past.
We have modern day centurions in children. Where we have all the evidence and reasons to have faith, children simply believe because they trust. We need to have faith like a child, or a centurion, and trust that God will do exactly what He promised -because He will.
“See, he is puffed up;
his desires are not upright—
but the righteous will live by his faith.”
“The righteous will live by faith” is quoted several times in the Bible. It is one of the key explanations of what it means to be righteous.
Being righteous means that we do what is right. But we are not righteous on our own. We are not able to follow God’s laws to perfection. Faith is required for salvation which grants us God’s righteousness.
Faith and righteousness continue hand in hand after salvation however. Faith is not a onetime expression but rather a lifetime investment. Those who are righteous will continue to express their faith in God.
The closer we grow to God, the more we realize that we are not righteous on our own. Our sins become more and more glaring to us. And because of this, we realize more and more that we need God’s help to live our daily lives.
We obtain God’s help, only by asking and walking in faith. There is no other way to approach God than through faith. So the righteous live by faith because they realize they need God more and more each day.