Habakkuk’s statement “the just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4) is quoted three times in the New Testament, in Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and in Hebrews 10:37-38.
Romans 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Galatians 3:11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”
Hebrews 10:38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
This statement, that the just shall live by faith, inspired Martin Luther in the 1500s, and is often referred to as the Bible verse that sparked the Reformation.
Unfortunately, this verse in Habakkuk has been mistranslated in most modern Bible translations, where it reads
The just shall live by his faith.
The verse actually states, “the just shall live by my faith”.
There is a big difference between living by the faith of God, and living by my own faith. God’s faith is what HE believes, what HE knows. Having the same faith as God is what the prophet is recommending.
Looking at the context of the verse in Habakkuk chapter two, what is it that God has faith in? Faith in the fall of the proud. Faith in the end of injustice. Faith in the rise of the debtors and the overthrow of Babylon. Faith in the coming knowledge of the glory of the Lord that will fill the earth.
A lot of people have faith in illusions and it doesn’t help them. If I believe I can walk off a cliff and avoid the consequences of gravity, what then? The overlords of the Babylonian banking system have faith in their system of financial looting. It will not save them.