know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
Galatians 2:16 (NIV)
In – It’s such a small little preposition, isn’t it? But it carries a huge impact on how we interpret this verse. By reading the NIV verse above, we’d assume that justification comes by believing in Jesus. This is the same for the NASB, the Russian Synodal, NRSV, and others. Unfortunately, it’s not what the Greek text actually writes.
In the Greek, the words Iesous and Christos are in the genitive case. For you linguistic folks out there, is the preposition ‘in’ a genitive preposition? NO, it’s not. So quite frankly, the word ‘in’ is the wrong preposition to be used here. Instead, we should use the preposition ‘of’ which denotes the genitive case. It is the faith of Jesus Christ which produces justification, not faith in Jesus.
How many times have we just read right through this and imposed our paradigm onto the text instead of allowing it to work within us? It’s the faith of Yeshua that justifies us. So what’s His faith?
Faith in the Biblical worldview is a process, something you do. Faith is not a state of being or something that is solely cognitive. Faith is a verb, not a noun. So we can look at this a couple of ways. We’re justified by having the faith of Yeshua – practicing the same faith he did. Or maybe we’re justified by His faith – meaning that it was His works, or His life that justifies us. But one thing is for certain… we’re not justified by believing that Yeshua is real. Even satan believes Yeshua is real. But being justified by the faith of Yeshua, is quite different.
Which of the two options seems more accurate: 1. Being justified by practicing the faith of Yeshua, or 2. Being justified by Yeshua’s faith (works)?
Ultimately we put our faith in Him, but we’re justified by the faith of Him (or by His faith).