The vast majority of churches will teach that the righteousness of God that you receive when you believe in the finished work of the cross is by your faith IN Jesus Christ. I emphasize that little two letter word, IN. There is a reason why churches teach that. Because it’s in their Bible. However, here at Northwoods Grace we teach from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. This study is just one example of the importance of understanding the difference that you’ll find between the KJV and the modern translations. Look at the three verses below and ask yourself if they say the same thing.
Romans 3:22 (KJV)
22 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:
Romans 3:22 (NIV2011)
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
Romans 3:22 (ESV)
22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
Did you catch the difference? One version of the Bible says that our righteousness is by the faith OF Jesus Christ while the others say it’s your faith IN Jesus Christ. If you had to pick one or the other, whose faith do you have more confidence in: your own, or Jesus’? I’m sticking with Jesus. I know enough about myself to know that I don’t want anything to rely on my faith. Consider the following example:
Galatians 2:16 (KJV)
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.
Galatians 2:16 (NIV2011)
16 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 (ESV)
16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
The KJV example above makes it clear. “We have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.” When you slow down and study the other two examples, the redundancy almost makes them unreadable.
So what exactly is the “faith of Jesus Christ”? It was Jesus’ dedication to following the plan. Despite the awful, cruel death that awaited Him, He didn’t waver. He was faithful to the Scriptures. Now that we’ve defined Jesus’ faith, go back and read Galatians 2:16. You’ll see that the authorized version, the KJV, isn’t redundant at all. It’s talking about two completely different actions. Your belief in the finished work of the cross is the first action, but the second action, the action that actually justifies you and makes you righteous, is due to the act of Jesus’ faith. Now some will say, “well, I think the faith of Christ means the same as faith in Christ.” If you yourself are leaning that way, STOP! The moment you start believing that God didn’t mean what He said you’re heading down a slippery slope that has no end. God’s word is perfect but only if you’re using the perfect translation. Modern translations have tremendous truth in them. However, they also contain differences that completely change the meanings of passages (besides completely omitting verses and watering down others). For something as important as my eternal salvation, I’m trusting Jesus’ faith.
If you want to learn more about the King James Version and why it’s the only version you can place absolute confidence in, send us a message. We’d be glad to share further evidence and provide you with literature that you can share with others. Or better yet, stop by and see us in person at our next Bible study.
Wednesdays - 5:30pm in the Rhinelander Goodwill Community Room