Faith of God or Faith in God

John Wen
2/28/2014
http://www.missionharmony.com
The term of “faith of God” is first mentioned in Mark 11:22, but some think it should be “faith in God”. From Bible scholars, on Greek phase alone it means the later, but from the following context, it shows the former. Both views have their merits in meaning these two kinds of different faith to be understood.

But this term, faith of God, is not clearly defined in the Bible; I guess, it’s one of these God’s mysteries. There are some additional verses in Rom 4:17 about making from nothing to existence, psalm 33:1-9, and the creation in Genesis 1 . But they are used to display these acts, not to call out the term of the “faith of God”, though it sounds like being from God’s Faith by the same rationale we use on the human’s faith. By using the “ faith of God”, it may raise the question of if God has faith, it seems to limit God in human term. However, the use of ways and thoughts of God is without problem.

In Mark 11:22, “faith of God” or “faith in God” is used in different Bible versions, to mention a few: the former is in MKJV 1960 and Geneva 1560, while the later is in KJV and most other versions. Chinese Bible versions use “faith in God”.

From some selected comments on this verse:
• Calvinists in Geneva Bible: To have the assured faith to trust in God. Also, in its later version of 1599, this verse is changed to “faith in God”.
• Dr. Thomas Constable of DTS: If it’s God’s will, believe in it. Even though it seemed impossible to do like moving the mountain which were just as the tribulations Christians faced to stand firm in faith in those days.
So it’s about disciples having faith in God when doing His will. Hence the “faith of God” is thus viewed as “faith in God” and better stated in this regard. But it still maybe better understood as the faith from God which is beyond men’s understandings. It’s so great that they can just trust and depend on it in doing unbelievable difficult things like overcoming persecutions, and performing signs and wonders.

When Jesus proclaimed “ the kingdom has come to you” *to those miracles unbelieving religious people, he demonstrated the power of His kingdom presence to overcome the world bondage supernaturally by God’s power, then its faith behind can be understood as the faith of the kingdom of God. That in essence is God’s faith coming through His kingdom.

In later epistles by Paul, the term “faith of Jesus” or “faith of Christ”** is used in several more versions like KJV and UKJV other than MKJV and Geneva 1650, while NET and ISV use “faithfulness of Jesus” in its place. In Chinese versions, “faith in Jesus” or “faith toward Jesus” is used.

According to Bible scholars’ comments, when its Greek subjective genitive in use, “Christ’s faith” or the “faith of Jesus” is chosen; “faith in Jesus” is selected when its objective genitive is in. The former is to point out Jesus’ faithfulness enabling his disciples to have faith in him, while the later says Jesus is faithful so their faith in him is assured. Either way, it’s from Jesus faithfulness, his disciples can grow their faith toward him and become stronger when experiencing him more.

By trying to tell the different understanding on the faith “in” or “of” God and Jesus, it seems the idea of God’s faith ( or bettered said Faith from God) is more for doing supernatural things to witness His sending Jesus to the world and to glorify Him, and for His people to believe in the eternal life He gives through Jesus, while Jesus’ faith is more for knowing of his salvation, and growing their new life to be more like him for the soon coming kingdom of God. On the kingdom of God, Jesus has said that the faith from God enables people to perceive it having come upon them (Luke 17:21), there is no clear division between these two kids of faith from human’s perspective.

Still, some perspectives of believers’ faith can be in the mysteries of God, there are always not enough sayings about the Faith “in” or “of” God. But what the disciples has understood to receive into their heart is enough to assure their righteousness in God(Rom 4:5). Furthermore, if Jesus has not been raised from death, disciples’ faith is worthless and they are still in their sins (1Cor 15:17). And for that matter their faith is dead when not working out its worth (James 2:17), thank God for his doing on the calling of His people out of His faithfulness(1 Th 5:8-24).

This writing does not mean to present a topical theological study which is far from it. It does help me to believe more in what Jesus said on Mark 11:24: “ Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” , and to focus on its application for my prayer life and on doing God’s will.

* Mat 12:28
** Rom 3:22, Gal 2:16, 22, Eph 3:12 and Rev 14:12

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