What is righteousness by faith? Why is it important and how can we inherit it in the last days?
All who will dwell in heaven with God will be the inheritors of righteousness by faith. This is how they will have made it in through the coming crisis, “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time…” (Dan. 12:1). As such, God’s people must understand what it is and how they can put it into practice right now.
This is where the Word of God comes in, particularly in its testimony of Noah. The Scriptures tell us plainly that Noah “became the heir of righteousness which is by faith” (Heb. 11:7). This was how he and his family were saved when all the world was lost. So how did Noah inherit righteousness by faith in his last-day generation? How did he express it in his walk with God?
Noah manifested righteousness by faith in being just and in walking with God (Gen. 6:9). As Noah walked with Him, God taught him what was right, how to do it, and in faith, Noah did it. Moreover, he always shared what he learned from God with others. He never kept what he learned to himself. Like Abraham after him, Noah commanded his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord (Gen. 18:19) and in faith, they kept it and spread it, even though the world around them didn’t (Gen. 6:5-13). It was this kind of walk with God that prepared them for their greatest task.
“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” (Gen. 6:13, 14).
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…” (Heb. 11:7).
God gave Noah the last-day message of his time, the command to prepare the ark to save the faithful from the coming judgment. Now such a message would be rejected by the unbelieving and the unfaithful. But Noah walked with God. In faith, he walked in His ways and when he received the end-time message, Noah and all who were with him labored diligently to build the ark. 120 years of preparing this vessel and they never questioned God in the least. They trusted Him and as usual, Noah did not keep the news of the judgment to himself. He warned the world of the coming flood as diligently as he taught his household the way of the Lord.
“…by the which he condemned the world…” (Heb. 11:7).
“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness…” (2 Pet. 2:5).
After 120 years of building the ark and warning the world, Noah received the command.
“And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”(Gen. 7:1) (Emphasis supplied.)
This was a testimony as much as it was a command. Noah was the only righteous servant of God in his generation because when the Lord taught him what was right and how to do it, he did it in faith and shared his understanding with others. This is righteousness, right doing, by faith in action and by doing so, Noah inherited it. This is exactly the kind of faith we will see in God’s people in the last days.
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:36).
This familiar Bible verse tells us more than what the world will be like when Jesus returns. It tells us that there will be a class of believers who will walk with God like Noah. They will do what is right by God even though the world around them is not. It will be these Christians, these heirs of righteousness by faith, who will give the same end-time message to the world that Noah gave in him time and Jesus gave in His. They will not keep it to themselves.
“…Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).
“…the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mk. 1:15).
Jesus was the Noah of His day. Throughout His ministry, He gave His disciples, His people, and all the world the end-time message of a coming judgment. He called for the world to come to Him as Noah called the world to come to the ark and in faith, many did. This was righteousness, right doing, by faith.
Now, in our time, we are called to do what Jesus and our spiritual forefathers did. We have been called to manifest righteousness by faith by 1) keeping His commandments and His testimony (Jn. 14:15; Rev. 12:17, 19:10) and 2) by warning the world to come to Jesus before the final judgment (Matt. 28:18-20). When this last-day message is preached to the world, the end will come just as the Flood came after Noah gave his message (Matt. 24:14).
Will we do this in faith or will we live as those who have none? Will God’s people become the heirs or righteousness or unrighteousness? The times are about to tell, for the crisis is almost here.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”(Jos. 24:15).
“…blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Lk. 11:28).