Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Musings on faith and prepositions

I realized that one of the reasons why I haven't been blogging lately is because it's so much easier to come up with a one-sentence status update on Facebook than an entire essay for a blog. Right now I'm going through a brief "fast" from Facebook because I have other things I need to get done, namely practicing violin (what a thought! A professional violinist needing to practice violin?). Also, I heard a great sermon this past weekend based on Hebrews 12:1, and realized that I needed to go on a diet. So, now I have more time (So much for practicing. Well, I got 2 hours in this morning!)

However...what will the philosopher write about today? I've had a lot of things on my mind recently, some from personal experiences, and some ideas from sermons I've heard. (In case you're wondering about all the links, yes, I'm promoting Audioverse. No, they don't pay-per-click.) We've been studying the first half of Romans at prayer meeting lately (there I go again), and I've been blessed by the light that Dr. McNulty has shed on justification by faith. The study on Romans 4 especially struck me. The summary is that Abraham was justified before God through his belief (Rom. 4:3)--which was evidenced in his works (James 2:21-24). What was that faith? He believed that what God had promised, He could fulfill. In Abraham's case, God had promised him that a child would be born to him, even in his very old age, and that child would become a great nation. Twice Abraham was tested in that, first, just being able to have the child at all at his and Sarah's age, and secondly, after this miraculous child was actually born and raised, God told him to sacrifice him. But Abraham trusted God at His word--that whatever He said would happen, would happen. 

So that's the first important lesson of justification by faith: our actions testify to whether we believe God's word is good or not. The second involves where that faith comes from. Dr. McNulty brought out an interesting point regarding Galations 2:20 and Revelation 14:12. The King James Version is the only version that has this in common with those texts: the little phrase "faith of Jesus." Most of the other versions say "faith in Jesus" or something to that effect--remaining faithful to Jesus, etc. In the original language, there is no preposition at all, so I'm not sure what the translations are based on. But it's an interesting thought that a world of difference exists in those prepositions. Having "faith in Jesus" is certainly important, and I believe our faith in Jesus is what I've described above. But having "faith of Jesus"--what does that mean? It means that we take hold of the faith that Jesus had when He was on earth--and certainly, there was never a person who has ever lived who had as much faith as He! His connection with His Father was unbreakable, unimaginably deep. If we have the faith "of" Jesus, we can share in that connection through Christ Himself, whose life on earth made it possible that we can be saved through His merits and His faith, instead of relying solely on whatever faith that our own feeble minds can come up with.

"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."

No comments: