The Basic Postulate of Life by Faith
By Fred O. Blakely
That the children of God, while in this evil world, live by faith is an emphatic doctrine of holy Scripture. “The just shall live by faith,” proclaimed Habakkuk six centuries before the Word was made flesh (Hab. 2:4) and three times Paul cited this principle in his ministry of the new covenant (Rom. 1:16-17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38; cf. Jn. 3:36; 20:30-31; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 3:9). It is a fact that is personally experienced by all who are truly risen with Christ and are walking in newness of life with Him. Theoretically, this formula for spiritual life is admitted by all who profess to recognize the sacred writings as divinely authoritative, though far from all of them employ it in their day-to-day lives.
The fundamental postulate of the law of life by faith seems to be not so well known or acknowledged. It is integral to the divine economy, however, and can no more be ignored than the rule itself, if one is to possess and flourish in that life which is from Above. That postulate, rooted in veritable reality, is that the life of kingdom children is essentially a vicarious one. That is, their vitality is a derived quality, coming from without themselves. They receive their life from God through Christ. As it is written, the Father sent the Son into the world, “that we might live through Him” (I Jn. 4:9-10). This principle is distinctly and necessarily implied, even as it is everywhere taught and insisted upon in Scripture, when it is asserted that the holy family lives by faith. Faith must have an object, and in the case of the faith of God that Object is Himself.
Closely associated with this basic circumstance is that respecting the natural life of the believer. Inasmuch as he lives by faith, it is definitely implied (and required by Scripture) that he renounces himself as a source of life and competence before God. If he were, of himself, sufficient for these things, the rule of life by faith would be invalidated. This is because faith, in the scriptural sense, carries one outside of himself. It looks away from self to the Father and the Son, and in that look of complete reliance upon Them, receives “the spirit of life from God” (Rev. 11:1; cf. Rom. 8:2). “They looked unto Him, and were lightened [as well as enlivened]: and their faces were not ashamed” (Ps. 34:5). Thus, Paul’s universal: “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin” (Rom. 8:10). And the testimony of his own experience of its application: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20).
God’s call to all people through Isaiah demonstrates the situation. “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:22). Even the Lord Jesus Himself, during the days of His flesh, was not exempt from the necessity to receive life from Above. “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father,” He declared, “so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me” (Jn. 6:57). So, in completion of his witness in the matter, the Apostle continued, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Let us learn, therefore, to take all the implications of the creed which we acknowledge. It is the Father through the Son that both “giveth life and sustains it (Jn. 5:21, ASV). He alone is our sufficiency. To Him we look for the quickening and the sustenance of our spirits, and for all things during the days of our pilgrimage. In the Savior, we have abdicated our natural selves as competent to take care of our own interests. We have “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27), and are now hidden with Him “in God” (Col. 3:3-4). Henceforth, we are the wards of “the Lord God Almighty” (II Cor. 6:17-18).
This is the fundamental postulate of our scriptural axiom of life by faith, and the basic circumstance of the children of light. May we have grace to walk becomingly of our recognition of the truth in the case, and so realize more and more the blessed amplitude of our Father’s riches and care for us.