MA Theology Essay – Hermeneutics

Biblical languages are my passion, both the Hebrew and, more recently, the Greek. In fact, after completing this MA in Theology, I’m going to go on and get my degrees in Biblical languages. 

Koine Greek is the Biblical Greek used in the New Testament. Koine means common in Greek; it was the common Greek language of the 1st century. It was the common, non-literary Greek used by Greeks in everyday speech among themselves and with other ethnicities. The type of Greek used by the writers from Homer (8th century BC) and Plato (4th century BC) is called Classical Greek. It existed in many dialects, of which three were primary: Doric, Aeolic, and Ionic (of which Attic was a branch). Athens, Greece, was conquered in the 4th century BC by King Philip of Macedonia. And Alexander the Great, Philip’s son, who was tutored by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, set out to conquer the known world and spread the Greek language and culture. Because Alexander spoke Attic Greek, it was the dialect that was spread in the Hellenistic age. 

As the Greek language spread across the known world and interacted with other languages, it was altered. This alteration resulted in what we call today Koine Greek. It was the ordinary, everyday language of the people. It was not the polished literary form of Greek; it was the simplified version of Classical Greek. And it is the language that was used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew Scriptures. It became the universal language of the known world, so that no matter where you traveled, you could speak the language as well as understand what was being said. God used this universal language to communicate His gospel! I like what Bill Mounce says, “In the fullness of time God sent His Son, and part of that fullness of time was a universal language. No matter where Paul traveled, he could be understood.”

I don’t believe you have to know Greek or Hebrew to understand Scripture. But understanding Greek (and Hebrew), not just word meanings but also the grammar of the language, has helped me get a greater idea of what the writers were saying. Greek language (as well as Hebrew) is so different from English, and sometimes there is no equivalent in English. And because our Bible is translated into English, we tend to read it with an English understanding. Understanding, or rather misunderstanding it, from our English way of thinking. Not realizing that the culture, the people, the language is not ours. 

For example, when Jesus told His disciples to go and make disciples, we read that an interpret it from our culture and language. We hear what we think is the “great commission,” – Go evangelize, go spread the gospel, and get people to repent of their sin and get saved! But if we understand the language and culture of the day, we would realize that Jesus was not commanding them to GO! The Greek word for go is poreuomai and means to pursue one’s journey and to lead or order one’s life. It is a participle meaning going, not go. In other words, in your going make disciples, or in your everyday life, everywhere you go – or whatever you do, when you go to work, when you go to school, or when you go hang out with a friend, when you go to church or when you go for a walk, etcetera. In other words, IN your going (lifestyle) make disciples. And making disciples, when understood from their culture and language, was to teach others what the Kingdom of God looks like. It’s not in what they do or don’t do, but IN them. It is informing them that the kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit – all of which are FINISHED and IN them. That’s going and making disciples! It is bringing them to an awareness of Kingdom life IN them.

I do think that Believers should learn necessary, simple Hermeneutic skills, learning how to interpret Scripture themselves rather than rely on faulty commentaries or bad translations! Learning that what we read in English translations may or may not accurately reflect what was written in the original languages. In English, nouns are an important part of sentences. They tell us what the sentence is about. But in Greek, it’s the verbs that are the essential part of the sentence! And these Greek verbs each have moods, tenses, and voices. 

I love the aorist tense. It often gets mistranslated as past tense, when in reality, it is a COMPLETED tense, DONE! A FINISHED tense that doesn’t need to be done again, and in fact, CAN’T be done again or undone! While English is built primarily on the present tense, in Greek, the aorist tense is the default tense. I love that!! In other words, FINISHED is the default tense of the New Testament Scriptures!!

In Luke 23:34, Jesus said, “Father forgive them.” Forgive is an aorist tense – it is FINISHED. The Father is not forgiving today because it is aorist, it can’t be done again, and it can’t be undone. He has COMPLETELY forgiven… FINISHED! Do we have to receive His forgiveness if it’s already given? Of course! But our repenting and asking Him to forgive us (and then our receiving it) doesn’t result in His forgiving us. He’s already COMPLETELY forgiven us. He can’t forgive us any more than He already has. Our receiving means we are now free (in our thinking!) to experience His forgiveness. The aorist is a completed action that took place at a point in time. When did He forgive? On the cross, it was fleshed out in time. But the cross is eternal, which means He COMPLETELY forgave before time ever began! Before Adam fell, he was COMPLETELY forgiven… FINISHED! Before humanity ever sinned, forgiveness was FINISHED! We have always been eternally forgiven! 

Another essential element of Greek grammar that we need to understand is the genitive possessive case.  It denotes ownership. In the Greek, there are no prepositions, so the English word “of” is usually added to help the verse read easier, showing us that it is a genitive possessive case. Although, at times, a different preposition is used, such as the word “in,” which causes us to read the verse as something we do. For instance, in Romans 3:22, the phrase is consistently rendered in English translations as “faith in Jesus Christ.” The Greek, however, says, “pistis Iesou Christou” which could be either faith of Jesus Christ or Jesus Christ’s faith. The nouns faith and Jesus Christ are genitive possessive.

Romans 3:22 is a vital verse to understand correctly. It tells us what the righteousness of God comes through. Is it by Jesus’ faith or putting our faith in Jesus that we are made righteous? The NLT (New Living Translation) says We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. ESV (English Standard Version) says, the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. And the CEV (Contemporary English Version) says He (God) accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. That’s only three translations, but MOST translations say something similar. There are only a few I found that say faith OF Jesus Christ…. KJV, Douay-Rheims Bible, Darby Bible Translation, and Youngs Literal Translation. Why is an understanding of the words OF or IN critical? Because the faith of Jesus Christ says that it’s a free gift, a FINISHED work! But faith in Jesus Christ makes it sound like it’s something we need to do to become righteous. And just like you can’t understand Romans 7 unless you read it with the understanding of chapters 5 and 6, you also won’t understand chapters 5 and 6 without a correct understanding of chapter 3!

Martin Luther was a German monk and theologian whose impact on the world is felt up to this present day. His German translation in 1534 deeply influenced the tradition of the English translation. Martin Luther said that Romans 3:21-31 is “the chief point, and the very central place of the epistle, and of the whole Bible.” He translated the phrase “pistis Iesou Christou” in Romans 3:22 as an “objective genitive,” meaning Christ is the object of the faith, not the possessor of the faith. Luther’s translation was “den Glauben an Jesus Christus” or faith in Christ. Interestingly, in 1526 (8 years before Martin Luther’s translation), William Tyndale’s English translation chose to translate this verse as fayth (faith) OF Christ. 

I think a correct understanding of Romans 3:22 is kind of like the garden scene in Genesis. In those verses, our perception of God sets the stage for how we see God through the rest of Scripture – either as a loving Father or a demanding God punishing infractions. Here in Romans 3, our perception of the faith OF Christ or (our) faith IN Christ sets the stage for how we read the rest of Romans. Either with the emphasis as a FINISHED work of Christ or conditionally based on our believing, our faith in appropriating justification, salvation, righteousness, etcetera. 

Paul’s opponents to his grace message believed that justification came from obeying the law of Moses. Paul taught that our justification came not from works but from Jesus, who was delivered for our offenses and was raised again by our justification (Romans 4:24-25). And he declared to the Philippians that he is found IN Him, NOT having his own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through THE faith of Christ, THE righteousness, which is of God, on the basis of THE faith (Phil. 3:9).  I love all of the “THE’s” in this verse… THE law (of Moses), THE faith (of Christ), THE righteousness (of God). Paul tells the Galatians that man is NOT justified by works OF the law, but by THE faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we might be justified by THE faith OF Christ and not by the works OF the law; for by the works OF the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal. 2:16, KJV). THE faith… it’s not a general faith; it’s THE faith. Ephesians 4:5 tells us there is ONLY ONE FAITH… HIS. And Paul said this is THE faith he lives by – THE faith (the ONE faith) of the Son of God. 

Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Is He the Author and Finisher of our faith? I mean, that’s how I have always quoted it. But when you look it up in the Greek, it says looking unto THE faith Founder and Finisher. He is the Founder and the Finisher of THE faith (Ephesians 4:5 – the ONE faith). He is THE ONE faith Founder and Finisher!! I love that! That tells me that there is NO OTHER faith that exists… not His faith AND our faith. NO, He is the ONE faith Founder and Finisher! The Mirror Bible says it like this: He is the Fountainhead and Conclusion of faith. No mention of our faith. I LOVE Fountainhead and Conclusion. THE ONE faith flows out from Him (as the Source) and ends or FINISHES in Him. 

Romans 1:17 tells us that the righteousness of God is revealed (in the gospel) from faith to faith: And the righteous shall live by faith. Paul is not telling us that we are to live our lives by our faith. Although, for years that’s what I thought he was saying –  the righteous (or those who have put their faith in Jesus, asking Him into their heart, those who now obey God and serve Him faithfully, going to church, tithing, etc.) THOSE shall live by their faith. But Paul tells us in Galatians 2:20 what this newness of life (this righteousness) looks like. He lives his life now IN THE faith of the Son of God, the One who loved me and gave Himself up for me. He doesn’t live by his faith but IN (a position denoting rest) THE faith OF Jesus. 

Galatians 2:20 reads in most translations, “I live by faith in the Son of God.”  The majority of believers don’t look it up in the Greek to see what it actually says, but instead, just read the way the translators translated it. In Greek, it reads, zo en sarki (I live in flesh), en pistei zo (in faith I live), te tou Huiou tou Theou (that from the Son of God). So what is Paul saying? He is telling us that his life in flesh (or his life in his physical body here on earth) is lived IN faith. But who’s faith? Translations make it sound like it’s his faith in Christ. But the Son is a genitive noun, which means He owns the word (the thing) that comes before it, which in this case is THE faith. The Son owns the faith. IN other words, we live IN the Son’s faith. There is no mention in this verse of our own faith, or of putting our faith IN Jesus.

We simply live our lives here on earth IN His faith (THE ONE faith). The word in (en in Greek) denotes rest. We live our lives resting IN His faith. That’s liberating!! It’s not doing; it’s resting. And when I do that, I don’t have to wonder if I have enough faith. And I don’t have to try and build my faith up. I only need to live life resting IN His faith!! Don’t we need to believe? Of course!! We are to believe that it’s His faith we live in, that we rest in! 

With the exception of Romans 3:26, the KJV favors the faith of Christ in all these verses. It’s His faith, His faithfulness, His trust, His obedience (or His shema)! It’s His heart response to the Father, His YES to the Father’s will. Habakkuk 2:4 says the just (the righteous) shall live by His faith. What if Romans 1:17 is talking about the Righteous One, that is Jesus, living faithfully (FULL of faith – the embodiment of God’s faith), resulting in our justification rather than as Luther translated OUR faith IN Jesus justifying us? “The righteous” was a common Messianic title in the Essene community of Paul’s day – Paul, therefore, interprets Habakkuk’s statement to be that Christ is the Just Person, the Just One. In Christ, God finds an accurate and complete expression of himself in a human body! An exact and full expression of THE ONE faith… God’s faith. Habakkuk says the just live by His faith. Paul said in Galatians 2:20 that he (Paul, the just) lives by THE faith OF the Son of God. Who are the just? Romans 5 says that ALL mankind is just because of Christ’s obedience. So, ALL mankind is to live life by His faith, the faith of the Just One. We are not living life by our faith in Christ to become righteous. NO… we’re living our lives IN the faith OF the Son of God. Trusting in His faith – awakens my faith – faith to faith – to live in the awareness of FINISHED – of who He is IN me, AS me, and THROUGH me. His faith becomes my experience in life. It was by His faith (the ONE faith, God’s faith) that we were justified – not only set free from sin but placed in the same position as the One who has NEVER sinned. But we read verses like Galatians 3:24 (and others) that say it is by faith we might be justified. We see the word “by” and automatically read into it “by our faith” that we might be justified. NO! The Greek says ek meaning out of; it denotes source.

In other words, out of faith (the ONE faith – God’s faith; the faith of Christ), we might be justified. Verse 25 says, the faith having now come, we are no longer under a trainer (the law). The Faith came! Jesus came!! The Faith (He, Himself, as Faith embodied) justified ALL mankind two thousand years ago! Paul then says in verse 26, “you are all sons of God through THE faith (the ONE faith – God’s faith) IN (Greek en) Christ Jesus.” Through THE faith IN Jesus… He was Faith embodied in the incarnation – in His life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seatedness! Paul is NOT saying that we are sons BECAUSE OF our faith in Christ!! I’m not sure why we as believers struggle with that. We realize that it is His strength, His wisdom, His righteousness, so why wouldn’t it also be His faith IN us, AS us, and THROUGH us? 

Paul says that in verse 27, for as many as were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. He’s not talking water baptism; he’s talking immersion into Christ. He’s talking about our identity! How were we immersed into Christ? Romans 6!! Paul talking about baptism in Christ, equates it with those who died with Him, were buried with Him, and were raised with Him so that we could walk in newness of life. Who died with Him, were buried with Him, and raised with Him? ALL mankind!! ALL were baptized into Christ so that we could live in newness of life, resurrection life – His life! Unfortunately, not all are awakened to that truth, not even everyone in the church is awake to that truth!

Paul is saying in Galatians 3:27 that you were baptized, immersed into Christ, you have put on Christ – He IS your identity. His strength is your strength, His wisdom is your wisdom, His righteousness is your righteousness, AND HIS faith is your faith. Then in verse 28, he continues with mankind being IN Christ; this is their identity. They are no longer defined by their OWN personal identity of Jew, Greek, slave, free, male, or female… but ALL are defined by HIM. That’s good news! That’s the gospel, the good, glad, happy news that will make you jump for joy (William Tyndale’s definition of the word gospel). 

Paul is not contrasting two human endeavors – obey the law or have faith in Christ! Instead, the contrast is a human endeavor – works of the law, and the revelation of FINISHED (His faith!!!). Paul is teaching that righteousness came through THE faith that is IN Jesus or THE faith OF Christ! He says in Romans 3:9 that ALL (Jews and Greeks) were under sin. And in verses 10-20, he says, there is none righteous, no not one, no one seeking after God, no one who does good, their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are their ways, they don’t know the way of peace, and there is no fear of God before their eyes! Paul is saying that ALL mankind has wholly lost sight of God! He’s telling these Jews that their law of moral conduct did not free them from the very same sin the rest of the world was also trapped in. 

Thank God for the BUT NOW that interrupted our lost state! Verse 21-22 says, BUT NOW the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and prophets, the righteousness of God through THE faith OF Jesus Christ toward ALL believing, for there is no difference. BUT NOW God’s righteousness has been revealed completely, successfully, 100% (dia – through) (the ONE faith, THE faith of God) THE faith OF Christ! This righteousness was revealed toward ALL believing, for there is no difference. That’s a hard verse for us to understand. Because we still read the words “to all believing” and hear it’s according to my faith, or my believing. I love the Mirror translation of this verse – Jesus is what God believes about you! In Him, the righteousness of God is on display in such a way that everyone may be equally persuaded about what God believes about them, regardless of who they are; there is no distinction. EVERY single person… he’s talking Jew and Greek. IN Christ, the righteousness of God is on display in such a way that EVERY Jew and Greek may be equally persuaded about what God believes about them. Regardless of whether they are a Jew or Greek, insider or outsider. There is no distinction! God has no us and them! 

And the next verse is probably one of the most well-known verses in the Bible. Verse 23, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Paul had just said in Romans 3:9 that ALL (Jews and Greeks) were under sin… so verse 23 shouldn’t be much of a surprise to us. We would have a much easier time with this verse if we read it in the Mirror Bible: Mankind is in the same boat; their distorted behavior is proof of a lost blueprint! Humanity (Jew AND Greek) were living life out of context with the blueprint of their design, behaving out of tune with God’s original design – image and likeness of their Daddy! The problem is that we stopped at verse (v. 23) and constructed the entire Romans Road TO Salvation from it. We should’ve kept reading and saw that Paul’s message in Romans was not a road TO salvation but a message of our FINISHED salvation!!

Verse 24 tells us that we were ALL (Jews and Greeks – which is Jews and EVERYONE else who wasn’t a Jew!) justified freely by His grace completely, successfully, 100% (dia – through) through THE redemption IN Christ Jesus. In the Mirror, it says, “While the law proved mankind’s dilemma, the grace of God announces the same mankind (mankind under sin, in a dilemma) redeemed in Jesus Christ! Their blameless innocence is a free gift…. Mankind condemned in the language of religion is NOW mankind justified in the language of the gospel.” There is no good news, no gospel in verse 23 alone, it is only good, glad, happy news that makes you jump for you when connected to verse 24. ALL fell short because of Adam – AND the same ALL are equally declared righteous because OF Christ. There is NO distinction! 

And verse 26 says that the showing forth of His righteousness is Him being Just and the Justifier of the one (Jews AND Greeks – ALL mankind!) from out of (ek in Greek) (the ONE faith, the faith of God) THE faith OF Jesus. The Mirror says, “All along God refused to let go of mankind. At this very moment, God’s act of righteousness is pointing them to the evidence of their innocence, with Jesus as the Fountainhead OF faith.” And YET KJV translated this verse as God is the Justifier of him who believes IN Jesus… pulling us back into conditional language!

So, Luther translated these verses as faith in Christ, and the majority of English translations, except KJV for most of them, followed his lead. The result has been that our justification is viewed from a conditional perspective rather than a FINISHED one. Emphasizing what man must do to bring about their salvation rather than what Christ has done, what is DONE. Christ’s faith (the ONE faith, the faith of God) saw the end from the beginning. Christ’s faith was His overwhelming YES to the Father’s faith. God’s faith (the ONE faith, the faith OF Christ) saw us IN Christ! In Paul’s understanding, it is THE faith OF Christ, the faith that is IN Christ, the Faith He embodies, that justified us. It is Christ’s faithful YES to the Father’s belief in us that justified us.

The interpretation of Romans 3:22 can be either genitive subjective (faith of Christ) or genitive objective (faith in Christ). Grammatically, either interpretation is possible. So, to interpret it correctly, we would need to look beyond the grammar and look through the lens of Christ – through the lens of FINISHED! Hebrews 1:2 tells us that God’s final word to us is spoken IN His Son. I love the beginning of verse 3 in the Mirror Bible: “Jesus is the crescendo of God’s conversation; He gives context and content to the authentic thought. Everything that God had in mind for mankind is voiced in Him.” Jesus is God’s language. Jesus’ final words were IT IS FINISHED. And so, that has to be the lens through which we read Scripture! Therefore, when you come to Romans 3:22 and see the argument between theologians and scholars regarding whether it is subjective genitive (faith OF Christ), or objective genitive (faith IN Christ -implying putting OUR faith in Jesus to obtain justification) you have to choose subjective genitive (faith OF Christ). Because that choice speaks, IT IS FINISHED!

Luther was on track when he said that human works couldn’t lead to justification. Still, he should’ve gone further by saying that human faith/faithfulness couldn’t lead to justification either!!  It’s by believing that it was His faith alone – our aha of that truth, that we experience justification. It is our awareness of that truth that we walk out the reality of our justification. Having the tools to be able to look up the verse in the Greek is important! We have trusted in the interpretations and translations of the translators, theologians, and Biblical commentators for too long. Men who didn’t have an understanding of FINISHED. And so we read these verses thinking, “If I can just have enough faith or if I can just believe enough!” Not realizing that there is only ONE faith, and it’s His faith we rest in. We are simply reflections of the ONE faith, God’s faith, the faith OF Christ (THE faith that is IN Christ)! 

By translating these verses faith in Christ, the translators allowed for only one interpretation – OUR faith in Christ. They forced upon us THEIR own interpretational decision of what the verse means, ruling out the reading of the passage as saying that it is Christ’s faith and not our own. And these faulty interpretations have been passed down for centuries resulting in believers who believe the FINISHED work of Christ is conditional upon putting our faith in Christ! But what if these verses had been properly translated as THE faith OF Christ, how might this have changed our Western theology? Would we have thought that salvation, justification, etc. was conditional? Or would we have understood that ALL was FINISHED, requiring nothing on our part!

For Paul, our faith is not a condition of our salvation! Ephesians 2:8 says, For by grace you are saved completely, successfully, 100% through (dia) faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift OF God. The Mirror Bible says: “It was a grace thing from start to finish. Even the gift to believe simply reflects His faith!” Grace reveals who we are, and the faith of God persuades us of it (Mirror Bible notes)! Grace completely, successfully, 100% saved us! Putting our faith in Jesus didn’t result in our salvation. We had ZERO contribution to our salvation! 

In the phrase from faith to faith, the subject of the sentence is not the believer or even the believer’s faith. The subject is the righteousness of God and how it is revealed through the Gospel. It is God’s righteousness revealed from out of (ek) THE faith of Jesus unto the faith of the believer. We are a reflection of HIS faith.  The righteousness of God is revealed in the SOURCE of (ek) HIS faith… if we miss that part (the source of faith) we will always strive to have enough of our own faith. His faith is the power of salvation (sozo – healing, prosperity, deliverance, etc., WHOLENESS!). 

We don’t have to believe in our own faith for those things, we simply need to realize that it’s His faith. The power to walk in healing, prosperity, deliverance, and WHOLENESS is by resting in His faith IN us, AS us, and THROUGH us. Faith to faith is His faith lived out as our faith!!. If we believe for those things in our faith, we end up striving. We strive to overcome doubts in our thinking, finding Scriptures to stand on, confessing those Scriptures over and over, louder and longer, and trying to figure out why we aren’t “getting” what we are believing for… healing, financial miracles, family salvation, etcetera. His faith says NOW! His faith says NOW you are WHOLE! NOW you are healed, NOW you are prosperous, NOW your family is saved! NOW is not a time-bound word as in Jesus saying, “Ok NOW you can have it because you were faithful in obeying, faithful in tithing, faithful in the waiting, faithful in applying your faith to these things!” NO! HIS faith says NOW as in, “You have ALWAYS been WHOLE! Your family has ALWAYS been saved! You have ALWAYS been healed!” NOW was fleshed out in time on the cross 2,000 years ago, AND NOW was the Lamb who was slain before time began! NOW is eternal… not bound by time’s limitations. That is what His faith (the ONE faith, God’s faith, the faith OF Christ) speaks!! 

I don’t think Paul meant for us to struggle with faith in Christ or faith of Christ. I’m pretty sure to Paul they both are saying the same thing. It doesn’t seem from his writings that faith in Christ was about a walk to the altar, repenting of our sins, and asking Jesus into our hearts. It wasn’t about putting our faith in Him so that we could be justified, saved, made righteous, etcetera. Because to Paul, there was only ONE faith – HIS! We read his letters forgetting that he isn’t talking TO us! He’s talking to a transitional generation, to those who lived under the law before the cross. Their faith had been in Moses’s law, believing that they would be made righteous by obeying the law. Paul is telling them that they have been made righteous by Jesus’ faith, and all they need to do is simply believe it. Not believe it to attain it, he’s not talking “if and then” language. That would be no different than thinking that if they obeyed the law, they would then be righteous. He’s telling them to believe it, to just rest in Christ’s FINISHED work that MADE them righteous.  

But what about Romans 10:9? Doesn’t it say that if we believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths that we will THEN be saved?? Romans 10 begins with Paul longing for Israel to realize their salvation…. Not to BECOME saved, but to REALIZE their salvation. In our Western understanding, salvation has been reduced to making heaven and missing hell. But that definition isn’t included in either the Greek word sozo or the Hebrew word yeshua. The Hebrew word signifies freedom from what binds or restricts. When the children of Israel were fleeing from the Egyptians and crossing over the Red Sea, Moses told them they would see the salvation of the Lord. He was NOT telling them they would go to heaven and miss hell! He was telling them they were going to be delivered from the Egyptians! They were going to be free from what was binding them!  And the Greek word means WHOLENESS in every area of life! 

Paul’s heart was burning for his fellow Jewish brothers to realize their salvation. To realize their freedom from what was binding them (the law)! And to experience the life of God, their WHOLENESS in every area of their lives! He goes on in verse 3 to say that they (his Jewish brothers) are ignorant of God’s righteousness (which he told them in Romans 3 comes through THE faith OF Christ!) and seeking to establish their own righteousness, and they haven’t submitted to the righteousness of God. The Mirror Bible says: “They are tirelessly busy with their own efforts to justify themselves while blatantly ignoring the fact that God has already justified them IN Christ.”  Christ is the conclusion of the law; this is the context behind Romans 10:9. He’s talking to his Jewish brothers, who were still living life trying to be righteous through the law. 

He tells them that Moses is the voice of the law, but faith righteousness has a different voice! In verses 6-7 he tells them that faith righteousness (the righteousness that came through HIS faith) does NOT say, “who will ascend to heaven? or who will descend into the abyss?” Right here, we see that it is not a heaven or hell issue! That is not the language of THE faith! So what does faith righteousness say? He tells us in verse 8, “The word is IN your mouth and IN your heart. That is the word of faith (THE faith word – or the spoken faith) which we proclaim.” The word of faith (the ONE faith, God’s faith, the faith OF Christ) IN you speaks forth from your mouth and heart! It’s effortless.

We’ve made verse 9 about our doing – confessing and believing. We’ve made it about a “prayer of salvation” so that we can make heaven and miss hell, and YET verses 6-7 specifically say heaven and hell is NOT what faith speaks! The Mirror Bible translation of verse 9 is “Now your salvation is realized! Your own words echo God’s voice. The unveiling of the masterful act of Jesus forms the words in your mouth, inspired by the conviction of your heart that God indeed raised Him from the dead.” As our hearts believe (not through praying a prayer, but by having the AHA moment – the YES moment!), our language will echo His – IT IS FINISHED!! Jesus said in Mark 11:22 that we are to have God’s faith. In Greek, it is echete pistin Theou. Echete is the word formed from adding the personal pronoun “you” to the word echo meaning you have! Jesus told them, “you have God’s faith!” Or you echo God’s faith, the ONE faith, the faith OF Christ… we are an echo of THE faith, His faith. Echo is in the present tense. That means we are to continually echo God’s faith, habitually echo God’s faith. We are to make it our lifestyle to echo God’s faith! In Mark 4 when the storm came, and the disciples in the boat were afraid, Jesus said in verse 40, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” Have is the word echo. Are you not echoing faith? We are to echo His faith when there are mountains that need to be moved or when the storms of life are tossing us about, and we’re afraid. 

If we would begin to read the word faith as the ONE faith, God’s faith, THE faith of Christ, it would remove the struggles, the doubts, the “becoming” mindset that the body of Christ has. The phrase faith in Christ speaks the language of waiting, doing, and becoming (Old Testament language!) the faith OF Christ (THE ONE faith, God’s faith!) speaks the language of FINISHED, DONE, NOW! It speaks of our identity!

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