Reading: Galatians 2: 15-21
In the original Greek of today’s text, there was no word between ‘faith’ and ‘Jesus Christ’. The structure of the original sentence would have implied a certain connection. Through the study of this and with an understanding of the whole message of the Bible, the word inserted is almost always ‘of’. As is: the faith of Christ. In using ‘of’ it places the redemptive work of saving grace fully on Jesus, not on us.
While it is true that we often live as if faith ‘in’ Jesus is what matters, wrongly thinking that somehow our own actions will save us. In using ‘faith in Christ’ we are trying to take a role in something that is solely the work of God. It was Jesus’ faith alone that led Him to the cross and it is God alone who offers us grace – that unmerited, undeserved free gift of love. Our role is simply to live into the faith of Jesus Christ in God that allowed Him to go to the cross.
Once we can accept this and begin to understand the faith of Christ in His saving act, then this initiates a response on our part. Once we wrap our heads around this great gift, then we begin to live our life as a grateful response to this gift and to His love. As one of my devotionals put it this morning, we begin to “embrace a cross-shaped faithfulness of our own”. In embracing this we understand and begin to live out God’s desire and plan to make all things new and to restore all of creation, bringing healing to all brokenness.
We understand that we ourselves are made new as children of God. We respond by inviting and bringing others into this right relationship with God. We respond by seeking to bring healing and restoration to the brokenness of our world. The faith OF Jesus Christ dwells in us and shines out into the world through our lives. This is the gift a faithful follower of Jesus Christ offers back to a world in need.