Friday, March 01, 2013

“The just shall live by faith”— A Study of the Relationship of Faith to Salvation in its Justifying, Sanctifying, and Glorifying Fulness, part 5

Those who came to believe in Jehovah and His Messiah, and consequently lived by faith in Him, were those who “trusted[i] in the LORD God of Israel”[ii] and in His Word (Psalm 119:42).  Such a trust manifested itself in obedience to His Law in the trials of this life,[iii] and brought both temporal[iv] and eternal deliverance (Psalm 125:1).  Trust also led to an acknowledgment of Jehovah in one’s practical life (Proverbs 3:5-6).  All the nation was called to such a trust (Psalm 115:8-11).  The Lord saves and preserves those who trust in Him (Psalm 86:2), so that true Israel can say:  “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation,”[v] while the ungodly trust in evil deeds or plans,[vi] men,[vii] false gods (Isaiah 42:17), external ritual (Jeremiah 7:4), or their own righteousness (Ezekiel 33:13) instead of in Jehovah only (Zephaniah 3:2).  Those that truly know the Lord trust in Him, and He will not forsake them,[viii] nor allow them to be confounded, but deliver them,[ix] and surround them with mercies (Psalm 32:10), since they trust in His mercy[x] for ever and ever (Psalm 52:8), and they will dwell in the Land (Psalm 37:3, 5).  The Bible contrasts those who trust in Jehovah with those who “believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation . . . a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God . . . [that] kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law . . . [that] sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.”[xi]  In short, trust in the Lord marked the true Israelite,[xii] he who was blessed[xiii] with temporal and eternal salvation.
Other Hebrew forms related to the verb trust[xiv] similarly indicate that temporal and eternal salvation was received by those who trust in Jehovah.  Those would be “saved” who placed their “confidence” in Him.[xv]  Those who “hope” in the Lord rather than placing their “confidence” in any other source are blessed, without any limitation to either this life or that to come.[xvi]  The Old Testament consequently declares:  “Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust” (Psalm 40:4), for He is the only fit object of “confidence” (Psalm 65:5) or “trust” (Psalm 71:5)—all other objects of “trust” are like a “spider’s web.”[xvii]  “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint,”[xviii] while those whose “trust” is “in the LORD” find in Him “strong confidence” and a “place of refuge.”[xix]

Thus, Jehovah is Himself the salvation for the “righteous,” those who take refuge or trust[xx] in Him (Psalm 64:10).  Believers can say:  “God . . . in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour.”[xxi]  To “all them that trust in him” He is a shield and place of safety.[xxii]  “[A]ll those that put their trust in [Him] rejoice . . . because [He] defend[s] them” (Psalm 5:11).  They are blessed, now and forever (Psalm 34:8), receiving of the great goodness He has stored up for them (Psalm 31:19).  The believer, one who forsakes confidence in men to trust in Jehovah only (Psalm 118:8-9),[xxiii] can say: “O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me,”[xxiv] while those who trust in false gods (Deuteronomy 32:37), evil men (Judges 9:15), or pagan nations (Isaiah 30:2) are destroyed.  Because of His “lovingkindness,” believers will “never be ashamed” or “desolate” or “destitute” or “put to confusion” because they “trust in” Him, being rather “deliver[ed]” in His “righteousness” and having their souls “redeemed.”[xxv]  The “LORD . . . knoweth them that trust in him” (Nahum 1:7), so those “afflicted and poor people” who “shall trust in the name of the LORD” (Zephaniah 3:12) receive His promise:  “he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain” (Isaiah 57:13).  They will “abide” in His presence “for ever” (Psalm 61:4), and have a refuge and sure hope in death (Proverbs 14:32).  Those who “come to trust . . . the LORD God of Israel” will receive a “full reward” (Ruth 2:12), for He will “save them, because they put their trust in him” (Psalm 37:40).  Trust in Jehovah is connected with trust in His Son (Proverbs 30:4), the Messiah;  all those who repent and trust in the Son of God receive temporal and eternal blessing, while those who do not will perish under Messianic wrath:  “Kiss[xxvi] the Son,[xxvii] lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12).

B. B. Warfield notes:

“[A]long with an ever more richly expressed corporate hope, there is found also [in the Old Testament] an ever more richly expressed individual trust, which finds natural utterance through an ample body of synonyms bringing out severally the various sides of that perfect commitment to God that constitutes the essence of faith. Thus we read much of trusting in, on, to God, or in His word, His name, His mercy, His salvation (jAf;Db), of seeking and finding refuge in God or in the shadow of His wings (hDsDj), of committing ourselves to God (lAlÎ…g), setting confidence (lRsR;k) in Him, looking to Him (JKAmVsˆ…n) relying upon Him (NAoVvˆ…n), staying upon Him (JKAmVsˆ…n), setting or fixing the heart upon Him (qAvDj), binding our love on Him (qAvDj), cleaving to Him (qAb∂;d). So, on the hopeful side of faith, we read much of hoping in God (hD…wIq), waiting on God (lRjˆy), of longing for Him (hD;kIj), patiently waiting for Him (lElwøjVtIh), and the like.

By the aid of such expressions, it becomes possible to form a somewhat clear notion of the attitude towards Him which was required by Jehovah of His believing people, and which is summed up in the term “faith.” It is a reverential (Exodus 14:31; Numbers 14:11, 20:12) and loving faith, which rests on the strong basis of firm and unshaken conviction of the might and grace of the covenant God and of the trustworthiness of all His words, and exhibits itself in confident trust in Jehovah and unwavering expectation of the fulfilment of, no doubt, all His promises, but more especially of His promise of salvation, and in consequent faithful and exclusive adherence to Him. In one word, it consists in an utter commitment of oneself to Jehovah, with confident trust in Him as guide and saviour, and assured expectation of His promised salvation. It therefore stands in contrast, on the one hand, with trust in self or other human help, and on the other with doubt and unbelief, despondency and unfaithfulness. From Jehovah alone is salvation to be looked for, and it comes from His free grace alone (Deuteronomy 7:7, 8:18; 9:5; Amos 3:2; Hosea 13:5; Ezekiel 20:6; Jeremiah 39:18; Malachi 1:2), and to those only who look solely to Him for it (Isaiah 31:1; 57:13; 28:16; 30:15; Jeremiah 17:5; 39:18; Psalm 118:8; 146:3; 20:7; 1 Samuel 17:45; Job 31:24; Psalm 52:9). The reference of faith is accordingly in the Old Testament always distinctly soteriological; its end the Messianic salvation; and its essence a trusting, or rather an entrusting of oneself to the God of salvation, with full assurance of the fulfilment of His gracious purposes and the ultimate realization of His promise of salvation for the people and the individual. Such an attitude towards the God of salvation is identical with the faith of the New Testament, and is not essentially changed by the fuller revelation of God the Redeemer in the person of the promised Messiah.” (“The Biblical Doctrine of Faith,” Warfield, in Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of Works)

This post is part of the complete study here.


[i] jfb.  The complete list of references in the Old Testament is: Deuteronomy 28:52; Judges 9:26; 18:7, 10, 27; 20:36; 2 Kings 18:5, 19–22, 24, 30; 19:10; 1 Chronicles 5:20; 2 Chronicles 32:10; Job 6:20; 11:18; 39:11; 40:23; Psalm 4:5; 9:10; 13:5; 21:7; 22:4–5, 9; 25:2; 26:1; 27:3; 28:7; 31:6, 14; 32:10; 33:21; 37:3, 5; 40:3; 41:9; 44:6; 49:6; 52:7–8; 55:23; 56:3–4, 11; 62:8, 10; 78:22; 84:12; 86:2; 91:2; 112:7; 115:8–11; 118:8–9; 119:42; 125:1; 135:18; 143:8; 146:3; Proverbs 3:5; 11:15, 28; 14:16; 16:20; 28:1, 25–26; 29:25; 31:11; Isaiah 12:2; 26:3–4; 30:12; 31:1; 32:9–11; 36:4–7, 9, 15; 37:10; 42:17; 47:10; 50:10; 59:4; Jeremiah 5:17; 7:4, 8, 14; 9:4; 12:5; 13:25; 17:5, 7; 28:15; 29:31; 39:18; 46:25; 48:7; 49:4, 11; Ezekiel 16:15; 33:13; Hosea 10:13; Amos 6:1; Micah 7:5; Habakkuk 2:18; Zephaniah 3:2.  Note that in Psalm 78:22 jfb and NImTaRh are in synonymous parallelism;  compare also 2 Kings 17:14; 18:5.

[ii] 2 Kings 18:5, 22, 30; 19:10; 2 Chronicles 32:10; Isaiah 36:7, 15; 37:10.

[iii] Psalm 62:8, 10.

[iv] 1 Chronicles 5:20; Jeremiah 39:18.

[v] Isaiah 12:2; 26:3-4; 50:10.

[vi] Isaiah 30:12; 47:10.

[vii] Psalm 56:3, 4, 11; 118:8-9; Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 17:5-7.

[viii] Psalm 9:10; cf. 4:5.

[ix] Psalm 22:4-5; cf. 25:2; 26:1; 28:7; 31:6, 14; 33:21; 40:3.

[x] dRsRj.

[xi] Psalm 78:22, 8, 10, 32, 37.

[xii] Psalm 112:7; 143:8.

[xiii] Proverbs 16:20; 28:25, 26.

[xiv] That is, the rest of the jfb word group.

[xv] hDjVfI;b in Isaiah 30:15; NwøjDÚfI;b in Isaiah 36:4; 2 Kings 18:19;  also Ecclesiastes 9:4.

[xvi] Jeremiah 17:7; 2:37; 48:17; Ezekiel 29:16.  jDfVbIm, “trust, reliance” (KB), “confidence . . . 1. the act of confiding Pr 21:22, 22:19, 25:19. 2. the object of confidence Jb 8:14, 18:14, 31:24, Psalm 40:5, 65:6, 71:5, Je 2:37, 17:7, 48:13, Ez 29:16. 3. the state of confidence, security Pr 14:26, Is 32:18” (BDB).

[xvii] Job 8:14; 18:14; 31:24.

[xviii] Proverbs 25:19; cf. 21:22.

[xix] Proverbs 22:19; 14:26; contra 25:19; 21:22.

[xx] hsj;  Cf. in English, Psalm 57:1:  “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth [Qal perfect hsj] in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge [Qal imperfect hsj], until these calamities be overpast.”  The complete list of references for the verb is: Deuteronomy 32:37; Judges 9:15; Ruth 2:12; 2 Samuel 22:3, 31; Psalm 2:12; 5:11; 7:1; 11:1; 16:1; 17:7; 18:2, 30; 25:20; 31:1, 19; 34:8, 22; 36:7; 37:40; 57:1; 61:4; 64:10; 71:1; 91:4; 118:8–9; 141:8; 144:2; Proverbs 14:32; 30:5; Isaiah 14:32; 30:2; 57:13; Nahum 1:7; Zephaniah 3:12.
[xxi] 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 144:2.

[xxii] 2 Samuel 22:31; cf. Isaiah 14:32; Psalm 61:4; 94:4.

[xxiii] Psalm 118:8 is the middle verse in the Bible.

[xxiv] Psalm 7:1; 11:1; 16:1; 17:7; 18:2, 30.

[xxv] Psalm 25:20; 31:1; 34:22; 36:7; 71:1; 141:8.

[xxvi] qvn, also translated “be ruled” in Genesis 41:40.

[xxvii] Note the use of the Aramaic form rA;b, elsewhere found in the Hebrew Old Testament only in Proverbs 31:2;  the Son of God is set forth in Psalm 2:12 as the Object of faith for the nations.

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