“Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law,
for ‘The righteous shall live by faith'”

This is found in Galations 3:11 and quotes Habakkuk 2:4. I have been told by HRM followers this proves we are saved by faith in Jesus, but we need to live by obeying the law. See also verses Romans 1:16-17, Romans 3:26-30, Romans 4:13-17, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:24. What does God mean by “the righteous shall live by faith”?

jus•ti•fy \ˈjəs-tə-ˌfī\ verb -fied; -fy•ing [Middle English justifien, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French justifier, from Late Latin justificare, from Latin justus] verb transitive 14th century

  • 1       a : to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable
    b       (1) : to show to have had a sufficient legal reason (2) : to qualify (oneself) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property
  • 2        a archaic : to administer justice to
    b archaic : absolve
    c : to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation
  • 3            a : to space (as lines of text) so that the lines come out even at the margin
    : to make even by justifying 〈justified margins〉
  • verb intransitive 1 a : to show a sufficient lawful reason for an act done b : to qualify as bail or surety
    2      : to justify lines of text
  • synonym see maintain — jus•ti•fi•er \-ˌfī(-ə)r\ noun1

δικαιόω dikaioō to justify
1467 δικαιόω (dikaioō): vb.; ≡ DBLHebr 7405; Str 1344; TDNT 2.211—1. LN 34.46 put right with, justify, vindicate, declare righteous, i.e., cause one to be in a right relation (Ro 3:24); 2. LN 88.16 show to be right, demonstrate to something is morally just (Ro 3:4); 3. LN 56.34 acquit, remove guilt, set free, i.e., clear of a transgression (Ac 13:38); 4. LN 37.138 set free, release from the control of (Ro 6:7); 5. LN 36.22 obey righteous commands (Lk 7:29)
DBL Greek2

#1344 δικαιόω dikaioō; from 1342; to show to be righteous, declare righteous:—acknowledged … justice(1), acquitted(1), freed(3), justified(24), justifier(1), justifies(2), justify(4), vindicated(3).3

To be justified means to be in a right relation with, to be put right with, in the Bible it is used as to be righteous. Also means to be set free (Acts 13:38-39), no more guilt, and to be clear from transgression. We see one who is justified obeys righteous commands (see Law of Christ).

Justified means more than a one time event, in particular the moment of salvation as claimed by HRM. Just on the premise of a logical argument, Paul in Galations 3:11 cannot use two dissimilar comparisons to prove a point. By using the definitions by HRM, this verse is saying the following…

“Now it is evident that no one is justified (one time event/salvation to be made righteous) before God by the law,
for ‘The righteous shall live (daily living until death obeying the law to be righteous) by faith'”

That would be a logical fallacy, or a proclamation using false reasoning. God is not a god of chaos, He is the God of order. God wrote the laws of logic and by His nature, must adhere to them. Since “The righteous shall live by faith” is obviously a continuing action, so must justification. Therefore, we must live by faith to be righteous with God.

Faith in what? How does one live by faith?
– Galatians 2:20-21
– Hebrews 11:1-6
– John 14:21
– Philippians 3:8-10

Need confirmation? Read the very next verses in Galatians. Galatians 3:12-14

12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

The law is not of faith. If one does them, he is living by them and not living by faith. This may be hard for us to grasp. Remember,
1 – the doers of the law are justified (Romans 2:10),
2 – if one breaks one part of the law, he is accountable for all of it (James 2:10)
3 – man cannot keep the complete law (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23, Romans 2:12)
4 – only Jesus kept the complete law, thus only Jesus is righteous (Matthew 3:15, Galatians 2:21, 1 John 2:1, Revelation 5:2-12)
5 – Jesus imparts His righteousness to those who accept His new covenant (Romans 5:17, 1 Corinthians 1:30, Philippians 1:11, 2 Peter 1:1)
6 – we will one day be judged by God by Christ Jesus, not the law (Romans 2:16, John 14:6)

One more thing… the Greek word for justify is the same root word as righteous

#1342. δίκαιος dikaios; from 1349; correct, righteous, by impl. innocent:—innocent(1), just(6), justice(1), right(7), righteous(48), righteous man(8), righteous man’s(1), righteous men(1), righteous one(4), righteous person(1), righteous persons(1).

“Now it is evident that no one is justified (1344 derived from 1342-righteous) before God by the law, for “The righteous (1342) shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:11

I have been justified by faith in Jesus Christ and made right with God through His righteousness. I am being justified by my continuing faith in Jesus Christ as I look forward to His return one day to judge according to His righteousness!

1. MW Collegiate Dict. (11th Ed.)
2. Dictionary with Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament)
3. New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries: Updated Edition