Faith in Jesus? or
The Faith of Jesus?
In reading different Bible translations, such as KJV and NKJV, I find some differences that change the meaning of the verse. I am not a student of Greek–wish I were. I am guessing that when there is not a clear transfer from one language to the other, the translator may choose to use what he or she is predisposed to believe. For example, Romans 3:22
NKJV: “Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on allwho believe.”
KJV: “Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:”
WOW! There is a big difference in the meaning of these two verses. I’d choose the KJV because my faith in Jesus is very strong some days and weak on other days. Bad news if I died when I had a down mood swing.
One has to be 100% righteous to be in the presence of God. It scares me to think that my eternal destiny depends on my faith.
BTY: To have faith in someone is the same as believing in them.
But, I cannot flip from one translation to the other and pick out what pleases me any more than I can decide to omit verses that seem to contradict or that I don’t agree with.
Since I cannot depend on the strength of my faith, I cannot depend on my judgment in picking the best translation. So, which is the best?
What’s the Answer?
I think—now here is where you should sit up and take notice–I’ve just told you that I cannot depend on myself to make judgment call.
What I think needs to be taken with a grain (shaker-full) of salt.
The truth? What I think or what any person thinks should never be taken as the definitive answer. Instead, check it out for yourself.
OK, now with this said, I will give you my opinion. Any translation is good. Just don’t make conclusions after reading one verse. One verse doesn’t always give you the best understanding anymore than reading one sentence in a mystery book would give you enough clues to solve the mystery.
Let’s look for clues in Romans 3:21-22 NKJV to decide if righteousness depends on our faith or on the faithfulness of Jesus.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
UUM! The Law was the rules God gave to Moses. Since everyone breaks these laws, all of mankind is doomed to hell. This is because one must be righteous to be in the presence of God. thus could not be in the presence of God.
This verse is like a newspaper headline announcing a way to heaven. YEA!!!
Readers should be scanning the news for the answer. We are talking about a way for sinners to go to heaven. Let’s read more……
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
It’s the “faith in Jesus Christ” that we are looking for clues about. For now, notice that the righteousness of God is promised ONLY to those who believe (i.e. have faith in Jesus.)
I immediately thought of the verse about the devil believing.
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19
Actually, this is a relief because I’ve already confessed that my faith (belief) in Jesus seems to rise and fall with my mood swings. It lets me know righteousness isn’t achieved by my faith. But, this is being based on what I think.
Don’t Forget: The only truth is God’s Word, so let’s read on.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
This is a well read verse. By itself it seems to indicate that we are sinners and as such don’t have what it takes to get into heaven. YIKES!
What happened,the headline news is about sinners going to heaven. The lack of a period at the end of vs. 23 gives us a clue that there is more to this. Let’s see if verse 24 provides a solution–
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption
that is in Christ Jesus,
Here it is—God has a plan for our justification. We are justified by GOD’s GRACE, which means we had nothing to do with it. Nothing we did or said or ever will do makes us justified—i.e. qualified to be righteous.
From the beginning of time, God’s rule has been that if you sin you spiritually die. This is a death resulting in you being separated from God for eternity. YIKES! One would think everyone would be more interesting in their eternal location. After all Vs. 23 says we have all sinned, which means we deserve to be on the road to hell.
Because Jesus Christ, God incarnate (in human form) was sinless, He qualified to pay the price for our sins.
My understanding is that at the second in time when Jesus took on our sins, He experienced the agony of being separated from God.
Matthew 27: 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Since a sin is doing anything out of the will of God and God’s will was for Jesus to ransom His children, Jesus’ prayer of having the “cup” removed from Him had to be this “cup” of eternal separation. This request was in God’s will.
Praise the Lord, Jesus redeemed us–Jesus paid the ransom (price) required for sin. Since this was an act of God’s GRACE–we did nothing to earn this gift.
Jesus Did It All.
Yes, Jesus died for our sins. But, we could die for our own sins and be separated from God. This means the glorious part is still to come—
25 (Jesus,) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
Now there is a lot going on in this verse. I added Jesus at the beginning of the verse so we are reminded who is being talked about.
Jesus is our propitiation, meaning that His death was an acceptable sacrifice (payment) for our sins. THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS THAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!! YEA! All is forgiven!
Because Jesus Blood Sacrifice on the cross was acceptable –God was PROPITIATED–appeased–satisfied–etc… and as a result, Jesus was no longer separated from God, and He was raised from the grave.
Symbolically, our sin nature was nailed to the cross with Jesus–it died with Jesus. When Jesus rose from the grave our new nature (spirit nature) rose with Jesus. Unfortunately, we have to drag around the dead rotten sin nature while we live on Earth. This sin nature continues to commit the sins that Jesus died for.
Now the rest of verse 25 tells us that this was all part of God’s original plan –designed before creation to demonstrate His righteousness.
The bottom line is that God didn’t come up with this redemption plan after Adam sinned. God doesn’t wait around for us to make decisions so that He can figure out ways to make it all work out for our good. With our very limited mental abilities, we try to think like God–We can’t. We try to limit God’s abilities. We can’t do that either. God’s ways are not our ways. Asking God WHY? is a waste of energy. More about this another day. Now to the next verse.
26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Again, Jesus’ death and resurrection puts us on the path to glory–not because we have done something to earn this. Instead, it demonstrates God’s righteousness.
Because of God’s plan of redemption, we are justified, thus we are righteous.
Wait a minute—what’s this last part of vs.26 mean? I was ready to close the book and be content with my future in eternity. Now it says that God justifies those with faith IN Jesus.
Hold on–As before mentioned, you have to collect all the clues. I read about faith in
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
OK! God gives me my faith. Until more clues from God’s Word proves me wrong, I conclude that one can only have faith in Jesus because of Jesus’ faithfulness.