The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Romans 3:21-22 KJV
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Galatians 2:16 KJV
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, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
The modern translations have "faith in Jesus," but that is not the construction in NT Greek, a language barely known among the UOJ clergy. The actual words are "faith of Jesus," which means the faith belonging to Jesus.
The difference is significant. I may have faith in a bridge, to cross it, or faith in a bank, to put money in it. But in both cases the object does not have faith. The bridge has no faith. The bank has no faith.
But Jesus has faith, as these verses clearly teach. This is a devastating blow to the UOJ Stormtroopers, who hate "faith" the way Bernie Sanders hates free enterprise, the way nature abhors a vacuum, the way a vacuous argument abhors the Word.
This phrasing is doubly important because "faith in Jesus" can be interpreted as emphasizing the individual rather than Jesus. Moreover, both instances of "the faith of Jesus" occur in the all-important Pauline discussion of justification by faith.
The accurate translation also clarifies the meaning of "from faith to faith" in Romans.
Romans 1 KJV
I would paraphrase verse 17 as "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed, from the faith of Jesus to our faith, as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The UOJ arguments are cerebral but dumb, clearly violating Luther's admonitions against Enthusiasm - separating the Holy Spirit from the Word. No one can tell me when the imaginary world absolution took place - at the death of Jesus, at His resurrection, or during the angelic blessing "Peace on earth, good will to men."
Can you picture the UOJ Stormtroopers dividing into rival factions - the Angelic UOJists versus the Atonement UOJists versus the Empty Grave UOJists? I can. Sig Becker thought it worthwhile to differentiate various flavors of UOJ, although the interpreters of this Delphic Oracle from Mequon shed no light on the topic, except to reverence his blessed attempt at clarity.
But, struggling to get back to the main point, this phase "the faith of Jesus" has an interesting and worthwhile perspective - teaching the humanity of Christ. In this Age of Apostasy, the mainline denominations teach against the divinity of Christ and the circus clowns of Church Growth add to that impression with their "buddy Jesus" graphics and emphasis on cola and snacks.
So there is some reactionary danger in believers downplaying the human nature in Christ. The entire narrative of the Passion is one where the human nature in Christ is almost all we see - the submission to Roman and Jewish authorities, the beating and spitting and mocking, the scourging and crucifixion, the fainting and crying out "My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?" In Christology we speak of the two natures in Christ, so does it not make sense that Jesus exemplified faith in all His work and Word?