by Shawn Brasseaux
*Based on a sermon by Pastor Mark Rumfello
(Grace Believers Bible Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Every Christian has had days when he or she did not “feel” like having faith. Sometimes, we do not feel like opening God’s Word and studying it. On occasion, we stop and ask ourselves, “Is God really going to keep His promises to me? Am I wasting my time living for God?” When given the opportunity to do a good deed or not do it and sin, we debate, and contemplate more on sinning. These are all examples of our sin nature actively opposed to God’s Word. Christians are sometimes guilty of unbelief. We have trusted in Christ for salvation, but we sometimes doubt the Bible. We are not always faithful.
Recall that Christians have two natures: the Adamic sin nature, and the new nature we have in Christ. Whichever nature we allow will guide our day-to-day living. If we want to live fleshly, carnal, worldly lives, we let our “old man” rule us. On the other hand, giving room for the new nature in Christ to live will cause us to walk in the Spirit of God. In other words, in the strength imparted to us by the Holy Spirit, we can resist sin and walk in the Spirit. But remember, sometimes we fall into the trap of unbelief, and we lose faith in God’s promises to us. This is when we sin.
When we do not believe what God’s Word says, then we do not act in accordance with it—unbelief will cause disobedience, and both are sins. Our faith is not always reliable, but there is one faith that is far, far greater than our faith. This is the faith of Jesus Christ: it never waivers and fails.
Recently, when I was explaining this to someone, the person grew very upset. He had never heard such a thing before. Certainly, very few people are hearing God’s Word in church these days, but they are hearing God’s Word rightly divided even less. This information will contradict what your NIV and NASB says, and perhaps it may contradict what your pastor or church says. Whatever the case, it does not erase the fact that the King James Bible is God’s preserved Word in the English language. God’s Word is the final authority—Romans 3:4 KJV: “…let God be true, but every man a liar….”
Have you ever heard of “the faith of Christ?” Did you know such a thing existed? Let me show you the five references in which this term is found (only in Paul’s epistles in the King James Bible), and then we can discuss its significance.
First, turn to the book of Galatians. The Apostle Paul is writing to grace believers in the region of Galatia, present-day north-central and south-central Turkey. False teachers and legalism (Mosaic Law-keeping) are infiltrating Galatia. Paul tells them that they have forgotten their identity in Christ. They have abandoned grace, and preferred works-religion, so Paul admonishes them that they need to stop the circumcision, the Sabbath Day-keeping, and all the other facets of Law-keeping. After all, in the Body of Christ, we are free from the Law of Moses (it was crucified with Christ on the cross; Colossians 2:13-15; and we are under grace, not law; Romans 6:14,15).
Okay, so let us read Galatians 2:16-21 as it is found in the King James Bible:
“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, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 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.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
How are we justified? Verse 16 says that we are not justified by Law-keeping, which is what false teachers were telling the Galatians. By the way, false teachers today are still placing emphasize on Law-keeping for salvation! The Bible tells us, three times in this passage, that we are justified “by the faith of Jesus Christ.” I want you to notice how this verse reads in the King James Bible. Modern versions incorrectly read “by the faith IN Jesus Christ”—this is exalting man’s faith above Christ’s faith! There is most definitely a difference between Christ’s faith and our faith, just like there is a difference between Christ’s obedience to the Father and our obedience (or should I say, our disobedience). Christ was always faithful. We are not faithful, even as Christians.
Never can we brag about our working for salvation, for no good deeds of any sort can provide forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Now that we are saved, we are not living godly lives in our strength. It is Jesus Christ living His life in us, and His faith working in us. We are living by “the faith of God the Son,” verse 20 says. How do we have access to God? We can pray to God because of “the faith of Him [Jesus Christ]” (Ephesians 3:12 KJV). Read what Paul writes to the believers in Philippi, a city in present-day Greece. Consider Philippians 3:8-11 KJV:
“8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
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:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
Again, whose faith? The faith OF Christ! Our faith is weak, and sometimes we doubt. Sometimes, we do not believe God’s Word, but the Lord Jesus Christ had faith in God’s Word. Let me explain. We understand that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. As God, He came to shed His perfect blood. As a man, He came to do the will of God the Father. The will of His Father was the Old Testament prophecies regarding Him. It is God the Son’s faith—His obedience to go through all the sufferings, to die the death of the cross, and His resurrection—that saves us! Observe what the Bible says in Philippians 2:5-8 KJV:
“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Calvary was Christ’s faith. He went through all of that horrific pain because this is what God the Father demanded. It was the only way mankind could be redeemed. God the Son did not disappoint God the Father—everything the Father demanded, the Son was obedient. Christ was faithful. It was His faith that brought about Calvary!
For nearly 1,000 years, the Old Testament prophets wrote statements they never fully understood. Only God knew that they were being written in reference to the cross and suffering of Christ. Everything that Christ did His entire life was in complete agreement with the Old Testament. His death, His burial, and His resurrection were prophecy, and Jesus Christ was obedient: “I have come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7 KJV; compare Psalm 40:7-8). “I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (Matthew 26:39; John 5:30).
When we place our faith in the Gospel of Grace (Christ’s death, bloodshed, burial, and resurrection), Christ’s righteousness is imputed (applied) to us. Romans 3:22 KJV: “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: [between Jew and Gentile.]” This is why sinful Christians are “blameless” in God’s sight, and God will never hold them accountable for their sin (1 Corinthians 1:8). Their sin was dealt with at the cross of Christ when He took their punishment. [This is not license to sin all you want, remember!] The moment we believe Paul’s Gospel, something else happens: the faith of Jesus Christ is imputed to the believer. Look at Galatians 3:22 KJV: “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” God applies Christ’s righteousness to our account, thus making reconciliation between the newly saved Christian and God. There are no works added to believing.
Your believing that God exists is not enough to save you, for the devils believe God exists (James 2:19). The Old Testament prophetic Scriptures were looking toward Christ’s work on Calvary: the minor prophet Habakkuk wrote 600 B.C., “the just shall live by his faith” (2:4). In this Dispensation of Grace, on this side of the cross, Paul quotes Habakkuk, but changes the verse for a very special reason: “the just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11). Today, this is one faith that counts, and it is the faith of Christ (Ephesians 4:5). Christ’s faith never wavered, and He never doubted. Place your faith in Christ’s faith, and let Christ’s faith save you!