Does the Bible say that "the faith OF Christ" lives in a Christian? I can only find references in the Bible that we must have "faith IN Christ."


The Bible teaches both. Unfortunately, many modern English translations–including the New King James Bible–have clouded the meaning by falsely rendering certain Scriptural passages.

It is of course true that we must have faith in Christ–including in His name, identity, role and function, His message, and His Sacrifice (Acts 3:16; 20:21; 24:24; John 3:14-15; 5:24; 11:24; 12:46). Before we receive the Holy Spirit, which God only gives us after repentance, belief, proper adult baptism and the laying on of hands through God’s true ministers–our faith IN Christ is the ONLY kind of faith we can have. But even this is not a “dead” faith, but a “living” faith–it is that kind of faith which manifests itself through works of OBEDIENCE (James 2:14, 17, 22, 26; Romans 1:5; 16:26; Acts 6:7). John 3:36 reads, correctly translated: “He who believes IN the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not OBEY the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (compare Revised Standard Version, “RSV”). In fact, without living, obedient faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ, we cannot even receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32).

Once we receive God’s Holy Spirit, and with it a “measure of faith” (Romans 12:3), Jesus Christ’s living FAITH resides in us. As we allow Christ to lead and direct our lives more and more, we also allow His faith in us to become more and more powerful. Not that Christ’s perfect and boundless faith needs to grow or become more effective, but WE grow to the extent that we allow Him and His faith in us to motivate us and lead us. Remember that Jesus could not do many miracles because of the lack of faith of the people (compare Mark 6:5-6; Matthew 13:58). It is through Christ’s faith in us that we can become more and more obedient and perfect. But if we refuse to take advantage of and use Christ’s faith in us, we will not grow toward perfection.

For proof that Christ’s faith must live in us, notice Galatians 2:16, 20. Please note that the New King James Bible, as well as most other modern translations, including the New International Version, the RSV and the Living Bible, incorrectly use the words “faith IN Christ,” rendering the passage as follows:

“… knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith IN Jesus Christ, even we have believed IN Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith IN Christ and not by the works of the law… I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith IN the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (New King James Bible).

This false rendition is very damaging, as it totally clouds the biblical truth that we must have the faith OF Christ in us, and it is the faith OF Christ which justifies us. It is the living Jesus Christ, dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit, who makes us perfect through HIS faith–OUR faith IN Christ, even though necessary, could NEVER accomplish this.

Notice how the Authorized Version renders the passage of Galatians 2:16:

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ… “

The Englishman’s Greek New Testament, an interlinear literal translation (“Interlinear”), clarifies that the literal Greek renders the phrase in verse 16 as “faith OF Christ,” NOT “faith IN Christ.” The Greek words for “Jesus Christ” or for “Christ,” are in the Genitive, meaning that the translation must be, “faith OF Jesus Christ” and “faith OF Christ.” On the other hand, in the phrase, “we have believed IN Jesus Christ,” the Greek words for “Jesus Christ” are NOT in the Genitive, showing that in that case, the rendering of belief IN Jesus Christ is correct. We first must believe IN Christ, in order to obtain the faith OF Christ.

The Authorized Version renders Verse 20 as follows:

“… and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God…”

In this case, the original Greek is a little bit more complicated. Literally translated, it says, according to “Interlinear”: “.. yet I live, no longer I, but lives in me Christ; but which I now live in flesh, in faith I live, that of the Son of God.” Some say that the rendering should be, “in faith I live, IN that of the Son of God,” adding the word “IN” to imply that we live through OUR faith IN the faith OF Christ. But the word “IN” is not in the original. It is more compelling, from the context and the structure of the sentence, to state that we live in faith WHICH IS the faith of the Son of God. Notice again the literal rendering, word for word: “in faith I live, THAT OF the Son of God.”

Additional passages also show that we must have the faith OF Christ, LIVING in us, in order to inherit eternal life.

Note, for example, Galatians 3:22, which is rendered incorrectly in the New King James Bible and other modern translations, but which has been translated correctly by the Authorized Version:

“But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith OF Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

In the Greek, the words “Jesus Christ” are in the Genitive, mandating the translation, “faith OF Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 3:12 reads, in the Authorized Version (note that many modern translations, including the New King James Bible, again mistranslates this passage): “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith OF HIM.” The Greek word for “HIM” is in the Genitive, so that the translation “OF HIM” is correct.

It is Christ, through His Spirit, who dwells in our hearts through faith (compare Ephesians 3:16-17). He is the author and finisher of faith (compare Hebrews 12:2, but please note that the word “our” in “our faith” was added by the translator and is not in the original).

Another passage, which has been mistranslated in most modern versions, including the New King James Bible, but which has been accurately rendered in the Authorized Version, is Philippians 3:9:

“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is THROUGH THE FAITH OF CHRIST, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

Again, the Greek word for “Christ” is in the Genitive, mandating the translation, “faith OF Christ.”

Notice that the New King James Bible translates James 2:1 correctly, as follows: “My brethren, do not hold the faith OF our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.” This rendering is correct, as the Greek words for “Lord Jesus Christ” are in the Genitive.

Notice also Revelation 2:13. Christ says to the church in Pergamos: “I know your works.. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny MY FAITH…”

Notice, too, Revelation 14:12: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith OF Jesus.” In this instance, the New King James Bible and the RSV render the passage correctly–while other modern renditions mistranslate this passage as well. But as in the passages mentioned above, the Greek word for “Jesus” is in the Genitive, so that “OF Jesus” is the only possible rendering.

Those, then, who KEEP God’s commandments AND the faith OF Jesus Christ, which dwells in them, will be saved. It is absolutely necessary that Christ’s faith dwells in us and motivates us to endure, persevere, and continue in our godly walk to inherit the Kingdom of God and eternal life.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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