Vol.XVI No.V Pg.2
July 1979

The Faith "Of Christ"

Robert F. Turner

The righteousness of God "by faith of Jesus Christ" (Rom. 3:22 KJ) tells man how to be "rightwise" with God; i.e., by trusting in Christ. But some, pushing their "saved by His life" notions, interpret this as faith manifested by Christ, and attach as an explanation, "his obedient life." Historically, that concept comes from those who reject any form of "human implementation" in man's coming to God. (See pp. 4-5, this issue.)

"Of Christ" (KJ) in Rom. 3:22; Gal. 2:16; 3:22) is genitive case, and possession is an over-simplification of its meaning. Under Objective Genitive, the monumental "Grammar of the Greek N.T." by A.T. Robertson tells us: "Here again we must appeal to the root-idea of the genitive as the case of genus or kind. The resultant idea is due to the context and one must not suppose that the Greek genitive means all the different English prepositions used to translate the resultant idea. Thus in Mk. 11:22... we rightly translate 'have faith in God, though the genitive does not mean 'in, but only the God kind of faith. Cf. Rom. 3:22." Thus, in the (literal) "faith of Christ" is the idea of kind or genus, "Christ-faith"; but it is faith we must have, NOT faith Christ had. The same idea is found in "God-righteousness." NOT righteousness as an attribute of God, but the genus or kind of righteousness we must have. Robertson's Word Pictures on Rom. 3: 22 says, "Intermediate agency (dia) is faith and objective genitive, 'in Jesus Christ, not subjective 'of Jesus Christ, in spite of Haussleiter's contention for that idea."

Marshall, in his translation of Nestls text, indicates the objective nature of the genitive in Rom. 3: and gives afoot note on Gal. 2:16 saying: "Objective genitive, as is shown by the intervening sentence-- see also 3:22,26). Cf. 'fear of God'." Vincent's Word Studies says "A common form for faith in Christ." Meyer's says, "The genitive contains the object of faith in accordance with prevailing usage" — and cites nine examples. Wuest's Word Studies, Expositor's, Alford's, Rotherham's, and other Greek word studies agree. McKnight (with apparent reference to genus of kind in the genitive case) says it is "the faith which Christ enjoined."

If you read this far we are happy we gave this condensed study. Perhaps only those who are pushing "imputed life of Christ" would even strain at making this "his obedient life," but our readers need to know they have a formidable task to make that interpretation stick. It's amazing what teachers of error will use for a text.