“7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through in Christ (or the faithfulness of Christ), the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” NRSV
Like Romans 3:22, here, in verse 9, we are given the choice of interpretation. Is our righteousness through “faith in Christ” where he does all the heavy lifting on our behalf? or “through the faithfulness of Christ” that puts the responsibility on us to live lives that reflect the same faith and trust in God that Jesus had? Both are equally correct.
As I have said many times before, for me, “faith in Christ” alone is a box we check, “a righteousness of our own,” like paying the monthly mortgage. Go to church 2 or 3 Sundays a month? Check. Put a ten spot in the offering tray, when I remember? Check. “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God? (Micah 6:8)” That’s Jesus’ job.
Manifesting the “faithfulness of Christ” exchanges the checkboxes for a new, different kind of life, a repentant life (which literally means to turn around and go in a new direction) grounded in biblical justice, kindness, and life lived humbly with God in the way that reflects the life Jesus lived.
The Christian journey requires both faith in Jesus and the faith of Jesus to have the transformational power authentic Christians are called to manifest. Having faith in Jesus alone is a todo list. Having the faith of Jesus alone reduces Jesus to just another good and wise man. Having both faith in and faith of Jesus is what transforms the world.
If we want to expand our community and our witness we have to be “faith in/faith of” transformers of self and community.
Be a blessing to someone today!