Faith of Jesus

Having demonstrated that all men violate God’s revealed will, Paul concludes that no one is acquitted before Him “from the works of the Law.” Instead, men and women are justified “through the faith” or faithfulness OF Jesus - They are reconciled with their Creator because of the gracious act of Jesus on their behalf. Since all men deserve condemnation and death, all they can do is respond with repentance and faith to what God has done for them.

Jews have the Mosaic Law but fall short of its requirements. Gentiles have the witness of their own conscience yet continue to sin. Man’s sinful proclivities are not only evidence that humanity is under the “Wrath of God,” but the never-ending transgressions of men are manifestations of the “wrath” that is “being revealed [present tense] from heaven against all unrighteousness.”

Sunburst Canada - Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash
[Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash]

Because we persist in ungodliness, God “
gives us over to the lusts of our hearts.” Sin begets more and even worse transgressions as we “treasure up for ourselves wrath in the Day of Wrath” - (Romans 1:18-28).

Israel possessed the Law yet sinned all the same, and Jewish transgressors will be judged by it. Gentiles sin “without the Law” and will “perish without the Law.” Jews and Gentiles alike are “under sin.” There is no one righteous, “no, not even one.” Every man is in the same sorry state.

  • But now, apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been manifested, borne witness to by the Law and the Prophets, a righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ for all who have faith, for there is no distinction. For all have sinned lack the glory of God. Being declared righteous freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God presented as expiation, through faith in his blood, for a showing forth of his righteousness by the passing-over of the previously committed sins in the forbearance of God, with a view to a showing forth of his righteousness in the present season, that he might be righteous even when declaring righteous him that has faith in Jesus” – (Romans 3:21-26).

However, just as “wrath” is “being revealed from heaven,” so the “righteousness of God is being revealed FROM faith and FOR faith.” Paul is deliberate in his choice of prepositions in the Letter’s opening paragraph:

  • For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes… For God’s righteousness is therein being revealed, FROM faith FOR faith, even as it is written, My righteous one [singular] FROM faith will live” – (Romans 1:16-17).

The faithfulness or “righteousness” of God is revealed “FROM” faith. This rendering represents the Greek term ‘ek’ which stresses source, origin. Here, “My Righteous One” is singular and refers to Jesus, not to righteous men in general. He is the one from whose faith or faithfulness the “righteousness of God” is revealed to humanity. It is being unveiled “for” or “unto” faith (Greek preposition ‘eis’).

The grammatical structure is important to Paul’s summary statement in Chapter 3 where he declares that “the Righteous One” (‘ho dikaios’, singular) “will live” (‘zésetai’, singular) “FROM faith” (‘ek pisteôs’). No one is justified “from the works of the Law,” therefore, men are reconciled to God on another basis, namely, “from faith.” But it is not “faith” in general or just any form of “faith,” but something far more specific.

Paul expands on his cryptic statement in Chapter 1 – “righteousness from faith for faith.” God’s faithfulness to save His children is now being revealed FROM the faith of Jesus, His “Righteous One,” and FOR or “unto” the man or woman who responds to him and his faithful deed with faith – “They who believe.”

FAITHFULNESS OF GOD


There is a “righteousness of God” that is being “manifested apart from the Law.” Paul is referring to the righteousness “of God,” to something that God possesses, reveals, and delivers. The language reflects the Old Testament idea of God’s covenant faithfulness to His people, His “lovingkindness.”

Yahweh did not leave his wayward children without hope. He has provided a solution that remedies their awful plight, and in a way that also highlights His faithfulness, one confirmed by the “Law and the Prophets.”

Paul hinted at this in the Letter’s opening declaration. The Gospel was “promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures,” and that promise has come to fruition in Jesus - (Romans 1:1-4, 3:21).

This righteousness is “through the faith OF Jesus Christ.” Here we must note Paul’s use of the Greek genitive case. It signifies something that Jesus possessed or did. It means the faith OF Jesus, NOT faith in Jesus. It refers to his faith, his “faith” or “faithfulness.” The righteousness that results from his “faith” is “FOR [eis] all men who believe.” Placing faith in him is how the penitent man responds to the “faith OF Jesus” - (Romans 3:22).

Waterfall Iceland - photo by Robert Lukeman on Unsplash
[Photo by Robert Lukeman on Unsplash]

Believers who respond with repentance and faith are acquitted before God “
freely by His grace,” and this is “through the redemption that is in Jesus.” The term translated as “redemption” represents a Greek compound noun signifying a release accomplished by ransom. The language is metaphorical, and questions about who paid what to whom do not occur in Paul’s discussion.

Thus, the “Good News.” God acquits Jews and Gentiles alike of their sin and consequent guilt “through the faith of Jesus Christ,” and whether they are under the Mosaic Law or not. Men are set right before and by God when they respond to His gracious offer of salvation with faith in what He has done for them - “Through the faith OF Jesus.”



RELATED POSTS:
  • Salvation for All - (The Gospel of the Kingdom announced by Jesus of Nazareth offers salvation and life to men and women of every nation and people)
  • Paul's Gospel - (In Romans, Paul presents his gospel from humanity's plight due to sin to the resurrection of the dead and the New Creation)
  • Salvation Revealed - (Paul presents his gospel to the assemblies of Rome, a message about God’s righteousness and wrath for all men)

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