Introduction: We are at the end of our studies on forgiveness. Assume
your personal life has made that same journey this quarter. You have
repented, God has forgiven you, and you stand completely justified
before God. Feels wonderful, doesn’t it? Now tell me, how do live the
next minute, the next day, the next week? What do you do next? Let’s
dive into the Bible and find the clues to living the life of faith!

  1. Faith Life

    1. Read Romans 1:17. How does righteousness come to us?
      (“From first to last” it is by faith.)

      1. Now the practical question: what does it mean to
        “live by faith?”

    2. Let’s explore some texts that repeat this same phrase and
      therefor should help us better understand what is means to
      live by faith. Read Habakkuk 2:4. This text seems to
      define living by faith by what it is not. What is not
      living by faith? (Being “puffed up” and having desires
      that are not upright.)

      1. I’ve heard of “Puff Daddy” (no guarantees on the
        spelling). What is living by “puffed up,” instead of
        faith? (Your life depends on your own (inflated) view
        of yourself instead of depending on your trust in

        1. Would you say that anytime you live by trusting
          yourself you are living on “puffed up?”

      2. Habakkuk 2:4 also speaks of desires that are not
        upright. How about your life: are your desires be
        opposed to your faith? Let’s break this test down by
        gender, even though I realize that generalities are
        just that – only true for some.

        1. Guys, how many of you have a beautiful woman in
          your workplace (or at church, or in the
          neighborhood, etc.) and you spend your idle time
          thinking about how you can convert her to
          becoming a Christian? Or, are your thoughts
          about her of a different nature? (Just a little
          test about your desires versus your faith life.)

        2. Ladies, let’s take that same beautiful woman and
          add that she is intelligent, rich and maybe a
          little arrogant. Are your thoughts about her how
          you can convert her to becoming a Christian? Or,
          are your thoughts more in the nature of
          competing with her? Finding flaws in her?
          Sharing her faults with others?

      3. Are “puffed up” and evil desires related concepts? If
        so, how are they related? (“Puffed up” is pride.
        Pride is the root of sin. If you live to advance your
        pride, as opposed to advancing your relationship with
        Jesus, then your desires are improper.)

    3. Read Hebrews 10:38. Here is another illustration of what
      it means to live by faith. What does living by faith mean
      here? (Trust in God.)

      1. God says He will not be pleased if we “shrink back.”
        Have you ever had a “shrink back” experience in your
        life? (About six months ago I was having a huge
        struggle with the issue of “shrinking back.” I had a
        trial coming up before a judge with a terrible
        reputation. I kept asking God to give me courage, but
        the task kept weighing on my mind. God expects us to
        simply trust Him when we face difficult times.)

      2. Part of the context for Hebrews 10:38 is Hebrews
        10:32. What is the opposite of “shrinking back?”
        (Standing your ground in the face of suffering.)

        1. This suggests that as we progress in our
          Christian life, we may get weaker in our faith
          life. Have you seen this in yourself or in

    4. Read Galatians 3:11&14. What does living by faith mean in
      these texts? (Living in the faith that Jesus saves us from
      our sins. Living in faith means that we live in the power
      of the Holy Spirit.)

      1. Why is the law mentioned as a counterpoint in v. 11?
        (This gets us back to the “puffed up” issue. Pride in
        keeping the law is still pride. We do not save
        ourselves by obeying the law. However, living a life
        in the Spirit is living in accord with the law
        through the power of the Holy Spirit.)

    5. What bigger picture do these texts teach us about living
      by faith? (They paint a picture of the following life: we
      understand and accept the sacrifice of Jesus on our
      behalf. Because of the great debt we owe to God, our aim
      in life is to promote His kingdom through obedience and
      service. Our aim becomes reality through the power of the
      Holy Spirit. Although we may be tempted to take pride in
      our obedience, we recognize that pride is not appropriate
      because we would be nothing without Jesus and the Holy
      Spirit. Promoting the Kingdom of God puts us in the line
      of fire for the Devil and his supporters. A faithful life
      means that we trust God, and do not shrink back, even
      through fearsome times.)

  2. God’s Requirements

    1. Read Micah 6:6-7. This reminds me of school; a multiple
      choice question. What present should you bring to God?

      1. A calf for a burnt offering;

      1. Ten thousand rams and lots of oil;

      2. Your firstborn child; or,

      3. None of the above.

    1. You do not have to be in doubt about the answer because it
      is found in Micah 6:8. Read it. What does this suggest is
      the correct answer to the multiple choice question? (“None
      of the above.”)

      1. What do the multiple choice answers have in common
        that gives you a clue they are all false? (All of the
        multiple choice answers involve trying to make up for
        our sins. We sin and then bring God something to
        “make up” for the sin. Just as we cannot save
        ourselves by obedience, so we cannot earn forgiveness
        by post-sin efforts.)

      2. Does this mean that God does not want us to repent?
        (No. It means that God’s goal is not apologies,
        excuses or penance.)

      3. What does God want instead of apologies and excuses?
        (He wants obedience.)

        1. If you are a parent, do you understand God’s
          desire here? What do you want from your children
          – profuse apologies and excuses or obedience?

    2. Let’s examine in more detail the Micah 6:8 answer to
      living a life of faith. Are justice and mercy the same

      1. Assume you are speeding and the police catch you. Do
        you want justice or mercy?

      2. Assume I am speeding in your neighborhood. Do you
        want justice or mercy?

      3. Are we in the role of the speeder or the speeding
        victim in verse 8? (Both. I think God is telling us
        that when it comes to our actions, we need to be
        just. In our illustration, that means do not violate
        the rights of others. It also requires us to show
        mercy to others when they “speed” in our
        neighborhood. Our lesson has, of course, the perfect
        illustration: Jesus’ life and His death on the cross
        for our sins.)

    3. The final ingredient to living the life of faith is to
      “walk humbly with your God.” How does this compare with
      walking “puffed up?”

      1. I get the picture on humility. But what does adding
        the word “walk” and “with your God” add to your
        understanding? (Our “walk” is the direction of our
        life. Pride is a terrible problem in my life. My bet
        is it is a problem in your life too, since it is the
        root of sin. As we live in faith, we continue to
        progress towards the goal of becoming more like God’s
        ideal for us.)

      1. A few months ago I read an editorial in a church
        paper that stated (without providing a shred of
        evidence) that many church members were racists. I
        was outraged at the blatant name-calling and
        righteously concluded that the writer of the article
        was an obvious racist himself. How does this fit
        into the “walking humble” requirement? (Can you see
        how this is part of the “puffed up” problem? The
        writer of the editorial was puffed up by his self-righteous slander of fellow church members. But I was
        puffed up too, by my self-righteous reaction. The
        truth is that the writer of the editorial is a
        racist, I am a racist and so are you. We are all
        sinners, and hurling insults and accusations at each
        other says something about the state of our
        “humility” in our walk.)

      2. What could be done in your church to promote a humble
        attitude among the members?

        1. What can you do to promote humility in your

        2. Is humility an important part of discussion
          about the Bible? (Humility is important. But,
          humility is not the same as the incorrect notion
          that all ideas are equally valid.)

    1. Friend, living the life of faith is not just talk. Satan
      has faith in God ( James 2:19). Because of Jesus’
      sacrifice, we stand forgiven, we stand justified and we
      stand at the beginning of our walk in living the life of
      faith. Will you commit to forward progress? Will you be
      conscious of whether your life reflects your talk?

  1. Next week we start a new quarter on the book of Hebrews.