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EYES FIXED ON CHRIST

EYES FIXED ON CHRIST

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20120724-070046“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth 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.”
Galatians 2:20 (King James Version)

For many years I fretted, worried, often even agonized over my faith. How was my faith doing? Did I have enough? Did it measure up? Did I have enough faith when I first believed? Did I have enough faith now? Then, one night my burden was lifted.

It happened as I was reading my King James Bible, and the light went on! I was reading in Galatians 2 where the apostle Paul talks so joyfully, so happily about Christ living His life in Paul. So that, Paul says the life he lives, he lives “by the faith of the Son of God”. That was not what I was expecting; Paul doesn’t mention his own faith, but rather the faith of Christ. Throughout the whole Scripture passage Paul writes about Christ as the active agent in his life. The life Paul lives, and that every Christian lives, is Christ living in us. So that Paul naturally writes that he lives “by the faith of the Son of God”. Paul was relying not on his own faith, but the faith of His ever-faithful Savior. He was abiding in Christ, living out the wondrous union of the Vine and the Branches (John 15:1-6).

Paul rests in knowing that Christ has done everything for us; He was baptized for us, kept the law for us, was obedient for us, was raised for us, and even has faith for us. And, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). The vicarious faith of Christ is a theme woven throughout the New Testament. The faith of Christ for us is a wondrous theme woven throughout the New Testament. His faith for us is but a part of the reality of “life in Christ” that we explored in last week’s eVotional. Our faith is rooted in Christ’s faith, as He is our Mediator and High Priest before God (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6). We live relying on, trusting in, Christ’s obedient faith. Theologian Thomas Torrance captures the essence of what it means to rely on the faith of Christ:

Faith involves living by the faith of Christ…Faith is the dawning awareness that God in Christ has done it all. He completed it. He lived our life and died our death and risen in triumph, and I was there in him when he lived and died and rose again. (Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ)

Fast forward, years later I discovered that translating Paul’s Greek words, pistis Christou, as “the faith of Christ”, rather than “faith in Christ” was favored by many Greek grammarians and translators. See for instance, Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics. See also, the preferred marginal reading in The New Revised Standard Version.

I think that focusing on Christ’s faith, rather than my own, is one of the reasons I am so drawn to the Book of Psalms. There I find a marked contrast between the God who is always trustworthy and true, and the psalmists who are frail, changeable, and unstable. They take refuge, not in their faith, but in their God, who is always faithful.

Martin Luther defined sinful human nature as, incurvatus in se, “turned in on oneself”. That’s the bondage we’re dealing with when we focus on how our faith is doing, rather than focusing on the faith of Christ for us. Our fallen, default mode is to look to self, rather than look to our Savior, the Son of God, who loved us, and gave Himself for us! “Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

Grace and peace,
Tim

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