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Living IN the Faith OF Jesus Christ
By David A. DePra
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live IN the faith OF the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
Translators, despite their best efforts, are always going to be subject to what they already believe. Sometimes this affects their translation drastically. Other times it affects only a contextual meaning or perhaps a shade of tense. In Galatians 2:20 there are a couple of prepositions that are not translated as accurately as they could be translated. The more accurate rendering doesnt contradict the KJV translation, but it does bring out the deeper meaning that God intended to convey to us.
The second rendering of Galatians 2:20 given above more accurately represents the Truth that is being revealed therein. Note the slight adjustments: Instead of living BY the faith of the Son of God, it says that we are to live IN the faith of the Son of God. Indeed, it is important to note the phrase, "the faith OF the Son of God." The KJV does get this preposition correct as being the intent of the passage. Some other translations wrongly make it read, "the faith IN the Son of God."
What we have here is a very interesting phrase: The faith OF the Son of God. We might say we understand what it means to live BY our faith IN the Son of God. But this verse suggests something else: We are to live IN the faith OF the Son of God. What is this faith OF the Son of God, and how does one live IN it?
Christ In Us
That phrase, "the faith OF the Son of God," is, in fact, the entire focus of the verse. It is, in fact, said to be the means by which believers are to live.
Paul actually uses three ways in this one verse to describe the means of his life in Christ. Thus, they must all be related, indeed, they are synonymous.
(1) Nevertheless I live .(2) Christ lives in me ..(3) I live in the faith of the Son of God.
First, Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ but despite the fact that I have been crucified with Christ nevertheless I LIVE." So Paul LIVES.
But upon what basis? He says, "Christ LIVES IN ME." So when Paul says, "I live," he means that Christ lives in him. That is the basis by which Paul lives it is Christ living in him. Christ IS our life.
And yet he offers a further clarification: Paul lives IN the faith OF the Son of God. So his position for living is IN the faith OF Christ but the means of living from that position is the faith OF the Christ.
All of these descriptions go together. Paul is here describing what it means to be IN Christ and how that translates into living.
This verse agrees with everything else Paul tells us about the meaning of the new birth, and of Christ within. For example, in Colossians, Paul states in one sentence the definition of Christianity. He says, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27) Later, in the same epistle, he says, "Christ, who is our life." (Col. 3:4) He tells the Corinthian church, "We have this Treasure in earthen vessels ..always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." (see II Cor. 4:7 on) Again and again, it is Christ within, being formed in us, and made manifest THROUGH us.
Now, here it is vital to grasp a big distinction. Paul NEVER teaches that you are I are being made to LOOK LIKE JESUS. He never says we are to somehow acquire the character traits OF Jesus. He never says that God or the Holy Spirit will do stuff TO US and change us into a little version of Jesus. No. Rather, we are to manifest the Christ who is within. In other words, Christianity is NOT us acting or looking like Christ it is Christ living in and THROUGH us.
We will only see this if we grasp the meaning of Christ in us. When we were saved, Christ came and made Himself one with our spirit. That is the core of our salvation it is what it means to be IN CHRIST, which equals, CHRIST IN US. Thus, rather than talk about, "eternal life," as a THING God gives us, or a classification we are given, we need to realize that eternal life is a Person. "I am the life," said Jesus. So rather than give us THINGS, such as eternal life, God gives us Himself through Christ IN WHOM are all things, including eternal life.
We have this Treasure in an earthen vessel. The Treasure brings all the assets. The Treasure completes us not by bringing only some things -- but by being ALL. The Treasure doesnt make us look like a mini-treasure. The Treasure is to be seen IN and through the earthen vessel through the on-going work of the Cross. ALL of this goes back to the reality of Christ IN US and the outworking of God.
Paul said to the Galatians, "I travail until Christ be formed in you." (Gal. 4:19) He was not travailing until they would be saved. No. They WERE saved. But they had come under the deception of another gospel one that had substituted for Christ with good works. Paul was telling them, "You cannot make yourself righteous by good works. Christian growth is not a matter of you looking and acting like Christ. No. It is a matter of Christ be formed in you and then being seen through you. In short, he was echoing what he told them earlier they needed to be crucified WITH Christ, so that they could live and yet it would not be them living apart from Christ, but it would be Christ living in and through them. This would be done IN the faith OF the Son of God.
The Faith OF Jesus Christ
It was necessary to establish that a Christian is one in whom Christ dwells Christianity is Christ in you, i.e., you in Christ. It was also necessary to establish that God wants to FORM Christ in us and that in doing so, Christ will eventually be seen through us. This is all about CHRIST. It is not about us improving ourselves with Christian religion.
Once we see all of that we have a context. We can now hope to grasp what Paul means when he says we are to live IN the faith OF the Son of God. So what exactly is the faith OF the Son of God? We probably have some idea of about faith IN the Son of God. But this is something else and it is mentioned a number of times in the Bible. What is the faith OF the Son of God?
Well, first of all ask: How does faith come to be in an individual? Paul gives us a direct answer in Romans. He says:
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Rom. 10:17)
What we see in the verse are two things. First, faith must COME to be in us. In other words, we are not, in ourselves, equipped with faith. You arent born with faith not the faith that God is talking about. You are born with some capacity for faith that is true but real faith has to COME TO BE in us. Paul tells us how it comes to be faith comes to be in a human being through hearing the Word of God.
Now again, be careful here. Faith comes to be ONLY if we hear what God speaks. But that, in turn, means God MUST speak or there is no possibility of hearing. You have to have SOMETHING to hear! Thus, unless God speaks, you cannot hear, and thus, there can be no faith. So we see that the reality of faith in us is predicated upon God taking the initiative to speak the Truth into our hearts. Without this, there is NOTHING.
God can speak in many ways, and all that He speaks will agree completely with the written Word. And if God speaks, we must hear but some wont. Some refuse to hear. However, make no question about it God has to take the initiative to speak to us if we are to have any possibility of hearing, and thus, any possibility of faith. It all must begin with God.
Now, God can speak many things and many truths. He knows where we are and what we need. But when all is said and done, the Bible tells us that God is speaking to us revealing to us His Son.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Heb. 1:1-2)
It would be a rather fruitless Christian life indeed if all we heard or believed were a bunch of facts, things, and teachings ABOUT Christ. No. God is speaking to us Christ in whom are all things, and IN WHOM are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:3)
But note: If God is speaking to us Christ revealing to us His Son and we are indeed hearing and embracing Him then FAITH will come to be IN US. In other words, to the extent that we are growing to know Christ, faith will grow.
The conclusion is inescapable: The faith OF Jesus Christ emerges from knowing Jesus Christ. God reveals Christ, we hear, and what emerges is a greater faith in us based upon the forming of Christ in us.
This is, in fact, the Truth behind a familiar verse from the epistle of Hebrews. It reads:
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith.......(Heb. 12:2)
WE are not the author, source, or originator of faith. Real faith is NOT OF US. Jesus is the source, and completer of all faith. Thus, faith emerges, or grows out of -- Christ Himself. It is the by-product of His life. It is what comes to be as we hear and see the Christ within -- as we hear the Living Word. If faith come by hearing, then the faith OF Christ comes by the realization of Christ.
Note here a distinction: One the one hand we talk about having faith IN God. We usually think of faith in God as US sort of sending our faith UP TO GOD. We somehow muster up faith out of ourselves yes, based on our trust in God and send it up to God for the purpose of establishing relationship or for the purpose of getting His help. But the faith OF Jesus Christ is something else. Rather than a faith that is from out of ourselves up to God, the faith of Jesus Christ is the faith that is out of HIM it is faith grows as He grows and is formed IN US. In short, as Christ is formed in us, the faith of Christ is formed in us.
Here we can begin to see what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20, enlisting the help of some other passages. Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ an actual death has come to my old man in Adam. Old things are passed away. My old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed. That is finished."
Then Paul said, "Nevertheless I live. Because I was planted into His death, I am planted made one with Him in His resurrection. I am dead and my life is hid with Christ in God."
Paul continues, "Yet not I, but Christ lives in me. God has not given me a thing called life. He has given me Christ Himself Christ IS my life. I am one with Christ in spirit Christ is in me."
And finally, "And the life I now life in the flesh, I live IN the faith OF the Son of God." Paul meant, "Because Christ is IN me, the outworking is that Christ is also being formed in me unto a greater maturity. As Christ is being formed in me, and I am growing to know Him. The result is that a greater faith is being formed in me. But it is not a faith that is from out of myself. It is a faith that is out from the life of Christ it is the faith of the Son of God."
The faith OF the Son of God is the result of the Son of God being formed in us, and consequently, the result of us knowing Him. God is speaking His Son to us. But if we hear Him, the end result of this is not merely a greater theological knowledge. No. Rather, it is the forming of Christ in us a growing of Him in our hearts and consciousness. This will result in FAITH. Faith comes to be by knowing Christ. But this faith is not out of ourselves as the source. It emerges through Christ. He is the author of faith.
The faith OF Jesus Christ is not a matter of Christ taking us over and believing FOR us. No. The faith OF Jesus Christ is the faith that is from out of Christ it is based in our knowing Him. This is why Paul said, "The life that I now live is Christ living in me. And that life is a life that I live IN the faith OF the Son of God."
He is describing a ONENESS of life and purpose. Picture Christ having faith having intent and purpose. Picture the will of God. Paul is saying that as he grows to know Christ, he will know Gods mind and will. He will live IN the faith OF Christ because he knows the Truth. He knows God.
We might say it this way: We can have the faith OF Jesus Christ only for that which Jesus has faith for. The faith OF Jesus lives and moves only in the Truth and in the will of God. Paul knew that this is how Christ lived in him in spirit and Truth in the full will of God. Because Paul had come to know Christ and desire the Truth, the faith OF Jesus Christ could more easily live and move THROUGH him. In short, Paul could live IN the faith OF the Son of God his will and intent was one with that of Jesus Christ.
Christian people keep, "trying to have faith." This is actually impossible. You cannot muster up real faith from out of yourself up to God. Rather than, "try to have faith," we ought to be asking God to show us the Truth. We ought to ask God, "Faith comes by hearing by seeing Your Son. Reveal to me Your Son." If Christ is formed in us, faith will be formed in us. Indeed, it is the only way the faith OF Jesus Christ can come.
Hebrews tells us, "faith is . evidence and substance." Not we have to exercise faith IN evidence and substance. No. Faith IS evidence and substance. In other word, faith IN US is evidence and substance of the Truth of Christ. Gather this all up and what you have is that FAITH real faith emerges from Christ within. Faith IS the evidence and substance OF CHRIST it is the outcome of having Christ formed in us. And thus, we have the faith OF Jesus Christ or we might call it, "the faith that is OUT OF Christ within."
Faith is the result of Truth heard and embraced the result of Christ embraced and realized. Faith will be there. But it will be the faith OF Jesus Christ. It wont be a faith that is out of us this is not human faith.
Notice what that means: It means that the only real faith that exists is the faith OF Jesus Christ. Thus, real faith can only be based in the Truth real faith cannot be for anything except the will of God. A person can try to muster up all the faith imaginable from out of themselves but if what they believe is error -- it is NOT going to come to pass. It cannot come to pass. It is error. God will not honor it. It is not His will. It is not OF Christ.
Here we can turn to John 15. There Jesus said:
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)
You will note that Jesus did NOT say, "If you abide in me you will then have the right to ask." No. He said, "If you abide in me you SHALL ask." It will just happen as a part of life in Christ. If Christ is our life then we ARE living IN the faith OF the Son of God and what will emerge is that we will ask from OUT of His faith, i.e., according to the will of God. God will always answer such prayer.
There is such a need for clarification on these matters today. Christian people are running around asking God for all sorts of nonsense. Do we seriously think, or even want, God to do WHAT WE WANT? What if we are sincere, but in error? Not only that, but if we ask amiss even if we are sincerely ignorant from where do we think the faith will come? If we ask God anything that is NOT His will, how can there be REAL FAITH behind it? It certainly cannot be the faith OF Jesus Christ. It can be only our human faith faith that is from out of ourselves.
As stated, the faith OF Jesus can only be for the will of God. Thus, when Paul said, "The life that I now live I live IN the faith OF the Son of God," we can see more what he meant. To live IN the faith OF Christ means that you are, "abiding in Him, and His words are living in you." Thus, all prayer; all asking, emerges from HIS LIFE and HIS WILL. When you ask, you are asking with HIS WORDS you are asking God to do HIS WILL.
All through the NT we see the same teaching. We are told to, "ask in His name." To ask, "in His name," means, "to ask what He would ask." Nothing more or less. We are also told directly, "if we ask anything according to His will," God will do it. In other words, God wants to do His will that is why it IS His will, He wants to do it. But He has chosen to do much of His will THROUGH His people. Our asking is evidence that we fully embrace His will. We have essentially BECOME His will. We are ready for it.
Many ask as to why we would need to ask God to do what He already wants to do? What doesnt God just do it? These questions would have merit if all God wanted were THINGS, events, circumstances, and material issues resolved. No. God wants to form Christ in us. God wants us to know His will, but He wants us to become His will. God wants us to know truths, but He wants us to be MADE TRUE unto Him. In effect, God wants a people who are in concert with Him. Who are so committed to His mind and His will that we ASK Him to do it. Then we will be safe for His will.
Real ASKING is when I say to God, "Do Your will Lord, no matter what." It is when we are willing to lose all for the will of God, if that were necessary. We tend to think of asking in terms of things. Ok. But how about the relationship behind the asking?
If Christ is in me and I am abiding and living on the basis of His life then that is what it means to be living IN His faith. Or, to put it another way, if Christ IS our life, the His faith ought to be our faith. Thus, not, "my faith in Christ," but, "I live IN the faith OF the Son of God." The faith OF the Son of God will flow, operate, function, and lead in the direction of Truth and the glory and purpose of God. By forming Christ in me, God will slowly make me true in this. I will ask Gods will because I am living IN the faith OF the Son of God and that is what Christ would ask.
To live IN the faith OF the Son of God is nothing more than Christ living in and through me. I live from out of His faith because He is my life. I abide in Him and grow to know Him -- and what emerges is HIS mind and HIS faith realized by me and lived out by me. "The life that I now live, I live IN the faith OF the Son of God." Why? Because I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me.
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