Pistews Ihsou Cristou
John Telgren

"Pisteos Iesou Christou" This phrase and others like it have been heavily influenced by Lutheran theology. The phrase and others like it are often translated into English as "faith in Christ." It appears in several passages: Rom 3:22; Gal 2:16, 3:22; Eph 3:12; Phil 3:9.

However, this translation leans more toward interpretation than translation. In Greek, the "ou" added at the end of a word normally means "of." So Christou would be "of Christ." In some cases, the meaning can be ambiguous. Does "faith of Christ" mean his own faith, or the faith that we have in him? There is a good case in the above verses for the former, referring to Christ's own faith. There are places in Paul's writings where he clearly refers to our faith in Christ, but when he does, he usually phrases it with a preposition, "en" which means "in," as in Gal. 3:26. However, he does not do so in the above verses.

This makes a huge difference. For instance, Eph 3:12 speaks of Christ Jesus our Lord, "in whom we have the freedom and access in confidence through the faith of him (his faith). Our freedom, access, and confidence are due to the faith of Christ. Without his faith, our faith does nothing. We would still be lost in our sins.

Think of the implications of this. He was God and became human (Jn 1:14). He poured himself out and emptied himself (Phil 2:7). He lived fully as a human and could therefore only minister effectively in the power of the Holy Spirit, who came upon him when he was baptized (Lk 3:21; 4:1). Since he was fully human, he had all the weaknesses inherent to humans yet did not sin (Heb 4:15). He had to learn faith and obedience through human suffering (Heb 5:8). In other words, Jesus the human had to live by faith. Indeed, scripture reminds us that the righteous by faith shall live (Rom 1:17). The faith of Christ brought him to the cross and became the source of our salvation. When Jesus died and was buried, it was through faith in the working of God that raised him from the dead (Col 2:12). Without the faith of Christ, there would be no justification, salvation, or hope. Truly, it is by the faith of Christ that we are justified.

Imagine! Jesus, who used to live by sight, being one with the Father in a Trinitarian union, had to live by faith. His humanity demanded it. Our justification required it. Because of his faith, God raised him from the dead. This became the source of life and power for us.

Think of the implications of this for us. Since Jesus was truly human, there was the possibility that he could sin. However, he did not. He was a faithful human who felt the pull of temptation. This means that Jesus is truly a human example of faith for us. He was faithful even in the face of death. Following his example, we are also to be faithful in the face of death (Rev 2:10). As we follow his example of faith, dying, being buried, and being raised with him, God will also raise up our mortal bodies with him.