Jesus Christ's Faith introducted in ActsVolume 4, Number 15
Created Date: November 6, 2016
Posted Date: November 6, 2016
The Gift of Jesus Christ’s Faith Introduced in Acts:
When the word “faith” is found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John it normally is used in reference to the faith of an individual or a group of people and so the phrases “thy faith,” “little faith,” “no faith,” “their faith,” “great faith,” etc., are found frequently. However, I’ve not been able to find in the King James Version (KJV) of those books the phrase “the faith,” whereas it is found in Acts and the books following it. “The faith” first appears in Acts quoting the Apostle Peter who was addressing Jews in the Pentecostal church in Jerusalem: “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”. As observed in Faith study Vol 4, # 1 & 10, “the faith which is by him” refers to “the faith,” which was accomplished by Jesus Christ when He was raised from the dead. This study addresses God’s gift of “the faith” to mankind and how it is received.
The gift of faith is proclaimed in our text today in the Apostle Paul’s address to Greek Philosophers on Mar’s Hill in Athens: “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”. The word assurance in the KJV is translated from the Greek word “pistis,” which is translated “faith” 239 out of the 244 occurrences it appears in the New Testament (NT). (The NIV translates it “proof.”) This is the only place in the KJV where it is translated “assurance.” No comment at this time as to why I think the translators did this in this passage but “pistis” should be translated “faith” in this case, as it is 239 out of 244 in the NT.
The Bible itself defines “faith” for us: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”. The Greek word translated “substance” is “hupostasis” (G5187), found 5 times in the NT. It means “a foundation, a setting under (support), that is, (figuratively) concretely essence, or abstractly assurance (objectively or subjectively): - etc.” Thus, faith is the foundation, support, or substance of things hoped for; it is the bedrock upon which our hope stands and our “hope” is not just a “I hope it happens” type thing, it is that which we are eagerly awaiting while knowing it most assuredly will happen. The Greek word translated “evidence” is the Greek word “elengchos” (G1650) found only twice in the NT, and it means “proof, conviction; - evidence.” So, faith is also the evidence or proof of what we cannot see at this time.
After defining faith in Hebrews 11:1, that chapter goes on to identify sixteen people and a number of un-named who bore witness to things that faith in God’s Word accomplished through them. Then, after considering the testimony of those witnesses we are told to run with patience the race set before us - “looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of faith (the word “our” is not in the original), Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”. The word “Author” is translated from the Greek word “archegos,” found four (4) times in the New Testament (translated “Prince” in Acts 3:15 & 5:31, “Captain” in and “Author” in Hebrews 12:2). The thought or meaning is clear; Jesus was “the originator or author; the first in order; the One responsible” of faith. The word “Finisher” is the Greek “teleiotes,” found only here in the NT. It means something “absolutely perfect; to do something perfect; something that cannot be done any better.” (See Faith Study Vol 3, No’s 1 & 2.)
Considering the fact that Jesus Christ was the leader, originator or author of faith, and He perfected, completed or finished it, we consider our text: “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given faith unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts 17:31. The statement that Jesus Christ will judge the world in righteousness bodes ill for all mankind because: “... all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,”” so we stand condemned and there is nothing we can do about our sinful condition, in and of ourselves. However, God has given us a way out of this dilemma through the faith that Jesus finished, which is proven by the fact He raised Him from the dead. Paul informs us in a number of passages that the only way to receive or appropriate the faith Jesus completed is to believe the Gospel. In the Pauline epistles “the faith” usually, but not always, refers to the faith of (that which resides in) Jesus Christ. Please substitute “the foundation of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” for the word “faith” in the following passages:
“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:”. “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” . “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.” . As you can see, these verses clearly state “the foundation of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” is that of Jesus who authored and completed faith for all who believe. It is our responsibility to believe the Gospel that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and arose from the dead, -4 in order for us to rest on the faith of Jesus Christ. Again, please read “the foundation of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” for the word faith in the following passages in Acts:
•“But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.”,
•”Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”,
•And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.”,
•“And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”(The word “by” is not in the manuscript, so the phrase should be “The Faith purifying their hearts”)
•“And so were the churches established (made strong) in the faith, and increased in number daily.”. (The Greek word translated “established” (G4632) a medical term to make strong, used only 3 times, translated “received strength” in ; “make strong” in Acts 3:16 and here in Acts 16:5 where it is translated establish)
•“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”, (toward is 104 vi, eis, i.e., into)
•“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.”, (the preposition “in” here is the Greek “eis” meaning into, toward)
After Paul told the Philosophers in Acts 17:31 that Jesus Christ gave “faith” to all men, he reminds us that “the foundation of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” is a gift: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”. All this explains how we can say with Paul: “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.” .
“The foundation of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” was accomplished by Jesus Christ and it is God’s gift to us even though we didn’t deserve it - and the lives we live now here on earth are lived by Jesus Christ’s faith, our old sinful flesh having been crucified with Him on the cross of Calvary. Finally, we who believe are exhorted to emulate the Apostle Paul who said: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”.