by Oscar M. Baker
The just shall live by his faith. The note in the Companion Bible on this reads, Live: i.e. live forever in resurrection life. See notes on Lev. 18:5. The wicked go on living without faith, if it refers to this life; therefore ‘live’ must refer to a future life. The Hebrew accents place the emphasis on ‘shall live’; not ‘the just by his faith’, but ‘a just one, by his faith will live’ and make the contrast not between faith and unbelief, but between the fate of each—perishing and living forever.”
The just are those who are righteous as to their standing before God. As in the case of Abraham, they believe God and it is imputed unto them for righteousness. However, as to state or practice, this can include both the just and unjust believers (Matt. 5:45; Acts 24:15). The contrast is between the wicked Chaldeans and those of Israel who believe, i.e. who read the prophecy and run (Hab. 2:2).
The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17). The first part of this verse tells us that God has provided the righteousness needed by the unbeliever. This is proclaimed by the gospel of Christ in verse before. The conclusion is that those who receivethis righteousness (justification) will live in resurrection.
Paul was a firm believer in conditional resurrection, and it would be well to make a study of all his epistles, as well as what is quoted in Acts of his teaching, to see what he really has to say on the subject.
The just shall live by faith. (Gal. 3:11). Here the argument is that man is not justified by the works of the law. It says works of the law, not the law. There is a curse on those who do not do all the things contained in the law. Also we are told that man lives by every word which proceedeth from the mouth of God. So a resurrection cannot be obtained by doing the deeds of the law. Resurrection depends on believing what God has said and acting on it, i.e. faith. John 3:16 offers life on the terms of believing, or faith.
The just shall live by faith. (Heb. 10:38). This is in a context of the soon coming of the Lord for His people, Israel (the Hebrews). At this time Paul assures them that the Lord will not delay His coming. And at that coming the just (justified or righteous) will live i.e. have a resurrection, or be changed and live forever. And this resurrection and change includes the unjust as well as the just, for the ones who draw back unto perdition (the destruction of their building, even on the one foundation), are also included.
Then we must conclude that all who are just or righteous in their standing (even tho they may be just and unjust as to their state), will be resurrected. Also Hab. 2:4 is not about justification by faith, as tradition says, but is about life and resurrection by faith. Truth For Today Reprints Bk 4, pg 33
by Oscar M. Baker