This past Sunday at Freedom Bible Church, we continued our series on the Book of Habakkuk by looking at arguably one of the most important passages in the Bible. Habakkuk 2:4 is the central verse of the entire book and it defines the theme of the book – FAITH.
Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.”
This passage of Scripture is so important that it requires three New Testament verses to explain it. This phrase in the often-forgotten Book of Habakkuk is quoted three times in the New Testament: Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38.
In Romans, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 to show us that we cannot rely on our own good works and righteousness to save us. In Galatians, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 to show us that we cannot rely on keeping the law to save us. In Hebrews, this verse is quoted to remind us to never shrink back from the confidence we have in Jesus’ sacrifice for us and His righteousness given to us by faith for our salvation.
This ONE verse lays the foundation for not only our Old & New Testament theology & the Apostle Paul’s teaching…but also for Martin Luther & the Reformation. You see, 600 years after Habakkuk wrote these words, Paul quotes this verse and uses it as the foundation of the Gospel. 1500 years after Paul quotes this verse, Martin Luther read Romans 1:17 and saw that the righteousness referred to is God’s righteousness given to believers freely as a gift. Luther now understood that righteousness didn’t come from him and what he could do. Martin Luther said at that moment he became born again. With this new understanding of salvation, Martin Luther challenged the church to teach what Scripture teaches. Because you are a part of a protestant church like Freedom, your life has been affected by Martin Luther’s salvation brought about in that moment by Romans 1:17 which includes a quote from Habakkuk 2:4.
This verse literally changed the world!