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SAM K. WILLIAMS
The Colorado College Colorado Springs, C O 80903
FOR A LONG WHILE THE PAULINE EXPRESSION pistis Christou was discussed very little by NT scholars, who usually rendered it "faith in Christ." In the past two decades, however, this phrase has begun to receive more attention. Two of the most recent contributors to the discussion are Arland J. Hultgren1 and Luke Timothy Johnson.2 Hultgren comes at the problem of the meaning of pistis Christou from the standpoint of syntactical observations and concludes: "It is not the (subjective) faith of Jesus of which Paul speaks, but the faith of the believer, which is in and of Christ."3 Johnson's essay is a response to Hultgren, but in that response he gives only passing attention to Hultgren's arguments from syntax. The purpose of this article is to examine Hultgren's syntactical arguments more closely and then to explore fürther the meaning of pistis Christou in Paul.
HULTGREN NOTES THAT PAUL never uses the expression he pistis tou Christou, and he observes that "elsewhere . . . when Paul uses the term πίστις followed by a genitive which is clearly to be understood as subjective,
1 2 3
"The Pistis Christou Formulation in Paul," NovT 22 (1980) 248-63. "Romans 3:21-26 and the Faith of Jesus," CBQ 44 (1982) 77-90. Hultgren, "Formulation," 258. 431
but in the same letter (10:3) Paul writes hë tou theou dikaiosynë and hë dikaiosynë tou theou. the standard way of saying "our father" in Greek is not patër hëmôn but ho pater 4 Ibid . if an attributive precedes the substantive. Matt 6:9. "The 'Righteousness of God' in Romans. In light of these various phrases.e. . In response to this argument I contend that the phrase hë pistis hymön (and pistis with other genitive pronouns) cannot be used to support Hultgren's case because in the NT we typically do not find the anarthrous noun with hymön. "Formulation. hëmôn. 1 Cor 14:39). but on the basis of the texts he cites. he pistis with other genitive pronouns. .. In the first place. or finally. 1 assume he means hë pistis hymön 5 One kind of exception reflects Semitic influence.. par 284 7 S Κ Williams. . i." JBL 99 (1980) 268 8 Hultgren. after the former." 253 .8 In fact. par 259 6 BDF. Hultgren has. The example from Rom 4:12 is more complicated.5 The genitive pronoun is normally placed "either after an arthrous substantive without repetition of the article or before the article . as we have just seen. .432 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49. On the basis of this Pauline usage he suggests that we should be able to expect Paul to write hë pistis tou Christou if he meant Christ's own faith. Since the Apostle does not do this. etc. only Rom 3:3 and 4:12 as supporting evidence for his point that Paul always has the article before pistis when an accompanying genitive is subjective. he could not quite easily have written pistis theou instead of hë pistis tou theou. hë pistis tou theou (v 3) and hë alëtheia tou theou (v 7) (both governed and governing nouns articular) are clearly the equivalents of theou dikaiosynë (ν 5) (both nouns anarthrous). the article which Hultgren contends is "invariably present" before pistis plus subjective genitive pronoun is beginning to look like no evidence at all. 7 Dikaiosynë theou (again anarthrous) occurs also at Rom 1:16 and 3:20. autou. Except in the vocative (e. in fact. one can hardly be convinced that. Hultgren misleads his readers by suggesting that here we find the exact phrase tes písteos tou Abraam. a noun with a genitive pronoun is usually articular. 1987 the article is invariably present before πίστις. ."6 Already. had Paul spoken elsewhere of the faithfulness of God. Both of these texts need closer scrutiny." 4 His examples are ten pis tin tou theou at Rom 3:3. he must not be thinking of Christ's faith. Now. and he pistis hymön and equivalents. that righteousness might be reckoned also] wis stoichousin Wis ichnesin tes en akrobystia písteos tou pairos hëmôn Abraam. .g. then. see BDF. . we do not. In Romans 3. Verse 12 reads: [. Since the fact that we normally find phrases like hë pistis hymön rather than phrases like pistis hymön has no evidential value. tes písteos tou Abraam at Rom 4:12. 253 Hultgren writes hë pistis hëmôn. .
but the Pauline authorship of Colossians is widely questioned Hultgren. the governed noun." and "the wrath of God" at Rom 1 16-18.'"9 It also seems to be the case.12 Commenting on the absence of the usage in Paul." 254 . it is 'both or neither. "the grace of Christ" (Gal 1. once again. it would be quite unusual if pistis were not articular as well. it is not possible to argue that Paul's πίστις Χρίστου formula tion makes use of the subjective genitive on the grounds that if he intended to speak of "faith in Christ" he would have used πίστις εν Χριστώ. he writes: First. "the power of God" (1 Cor 2 5). There are.29 tou Abraam sperma 11 As examples.6)." 254 η 28). If one decides on other grounds 9 10 Ibid. So hëmôn is "responsible" for the article before patros. it is not a Pauline idiom. pater. apparently. Hultgren observes that Paul does not.10 In the present case. Thus.. "Formulation. Hultgren's argument does not hold. of course.) Consequently.13 Regarding Hultgren's first sentence.AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 433 hëmôn. see the following phrases in the Greek "the power of God. but Hultgren is quite right in holding that Paul is not speaking of faith in Christ there ("Formulation. If Paul had wanted to say "the faith of Abraham" (as Hultgren wrongly asserts that Paul does say) instead of "the faith of our father Abraham.7). such an affirmation is of course possible. "the seed of David" and "the Spirit of holiness" in the formula at Rom 1 3-4 12 Actually. it is possible to affirm that Paul uses the πίστις Χρίστου formulation in seven instances where other New Testament writers might well use πίστις εν Χριστοί. "children of the slave woman" (Gal 4:31). rather. Second. (Abraam." "the righteous ness of God. because a noun modified by a genitive pronoun normally takes the article. is among those scholars who consider it deutero-Pauline 13 Hultgren. of course. however. 253 η 25. "sons of Abraham" (Gal 3." several geniti val expressions in his letters in which both nouns are anarthrous suggest that he could quite naturally have written pistis Abraam instead of hë pistis tou Abraam. is in apposition to patros. an article must appear before the genitive (governed noun) if it appears before the governing noun. While the latter is found elsewhere in the New Testament. we do find the expression dia tes písteos en Christç lësou at Gal 3. But a possibility does not constitute evidence. exceptions One that I have noticed is at Gal 3. "sons of God" (Gal 3. "the face of Christ" (2 Cor 2:10 and 4:6). use the expression pistis en or eis with Christ as the object of the preposition. that among NT authors the governing noun is usually articular when the governed noun is articular. Further pertinent to an examination of Rom 4:12 is Hultgren's note that "according to the canon of Apollonius.11 Although other NT writings.26. "through faith" and "in Christ Jesus" are separate expressions which parallel each other The phrases "your faith in (en) Christ Jesus" and "your faith in (eis) Christ" occur in Colossians.26). is articular because of the presence of the genitive pronoun hëmôn. including the deutero-Pauline letters and the Pastorals.
It rather undermines his interpretation. Commentary on Romans [Grand Rapids Eerdmans. does Paul write that believers are to obey Christ. There is. but several times does speak of pistis Christou. 1971) 193 and nn 12-16. an explanation for the absence of the phrase pistis en Christg in Paul's letters. the parallel is obeying unrighteousness) In 2 Thessalonians. in fact. My contention is that we do not find the expression pistis en Christg in Paul's letters because Paul was not accustomed to thinking of Christ as the "object" of faith.15 See Johnson." 84 Note that in two of the three instances in which Paul does use pistis with a preposition. To be convincing at this point. Colossians and Philemon (Hermeneia." it is striking that Paul does not use hypakouein (or peithesthai) or hypakoë to suggest that it is Christ whom the believer obeys He speaks of Christ's own obedience (Rom 5 19. for it is God who gives life to the dead and justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5. Believers trust God. 1980] 180) Whether that statement is a gloss or not. believers confess what God has done by raising Christ from the dead and making him Lord (Rom 10:9. 14 . the object of the preposition is God or God's power "your faith toward (pros) God" (1 Thess 1 8). "dead to sin but living to God" (v 11). 1987 that pistis Christou means "faith in Christ. the verb hypakouein takes the object "the gospel" (1 8) and "what we say" (3 14) In Romans 6 Paul mentions the possibility of obeying sin's passions and asserts that you are the slaves of what you obey either sin or obedience (6 16) This pair.17. Phil 2 12) and of "your obedience" (Rom 16 19. "your faith in (en) the power of God" (1 Cor 2 5) The third instance is Phlm 5 Here the Greek (akouön sou tën agapën kai tën pistin hën echéis pros ton kyrion Iësoun kai eispantas tous hagious) should probably be rendered "having heard of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus " See E Lohse. 2 Cor 7 15." then it follows that Paul's expression might be equivalent to other writers' pistis en Christg or eis Christon. sin or obedience. par 477 15 Especially in light of his emphasis that Christ is Lord and that believers are "of Christ. Philadelphia Fortress. for the expected contrast would be sin or Christ Also pertinent in Romans 6 are these expressions "You became enslaved to righteousness" (v 18). Nor. Hultgren needs to be able to explain why. to say in the third sentence that pistis en Christg is not a Pauline idiom is hardly proof that Paul means "faith in Christ" when he writes pistis Christou. BDF. "Romans 3 21-26. "yield yourselves to God and your members to God as weapons of righteousness" (v 13) The statement about obeying the transmitted typos of teaching (6 17) is unusual and is thought by some to be a non-Pauline gloss (see the scholars cited by E Kasemann. but that explanation does not support Hultgren's reading of pistis Christou. 10 6. surprisingly.5). Phlm 2) and the obedience of the Gentiles (Rom 15 18) He can write about obeying the gospel (Rom 10 16) and disobeying the truth (Rom 2 8. considered deuteroPauline by many scholars.14 In committing themselves to the truth of the gospel. faith as trust (Romans 4). the person of Christ is not faith's object. but that is in itself no evidence that Paul does mean "faith in Christ." Similarly. "having become enslaved to God" (v 22). or faith as obedience (see hypakoëpísteos at Rom 1:5). Phil 2:9-10). if Paul means "faith in Christ. should be surprising for one who thinks of Christ as the object of faith. Whether one stresses faith as a response to the gospel (see akoëpísteos at Gal 3:3. 4:24). God is. faith as confession (Rom 10:9-10). cf.434 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49." he consistently avoids that expression.
. Hultgren's tautological explana tion that Paul does not use the expression pistis en Christg because that is not a Pauline idiom lacks persuasive power. . 16 To summarize the point being stressed here: Chris tians confess what God has done through the death and resurrection of Christ. the ambiguity of the phrase hë hypakoë tou Christou. by Paul's desire to create an effective rhetorical pattern (the slave when called in the Lord is a freedman of the Lord. the freed man-when-called is a slave of Christ) 16 The one Pauline text that might appear to undermine my argument that it is not Christ who commands the believer's obedience is itself intriguingly elusive At 2 Cor 10 5. "Formulation.17 Hultgren believes that Gal 2:16 further confirms his view that pistis Christou means "faith in Christ. God. according to the RSV. is the "object" of the Christian's faith. for it is actually the main clause of the sen tence whose principal components are "we . I suggest instead that Paul does not use the expression because he thinks of God rather than Christ as the "object" of faith. ..e. Christ. since we realize . of taking every thought captive "to obey Christ " But the Greek is subject to quite a different interpretation Aichalotizontespan noëma eis tën hypakoën tou Christou can as well be rendered "taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ " I think it likely that Paul is here setting forth Christ's own obedience. not Christ. and. because. at Rom 1 1 and Gal 1 10 Paul calls himself a slave of Christ.. At any rate. disqualifies it as certain evidence that Paul spoke of the Christian's obedience to Christ 17 Let me anticipate a complaint It would seem that I am overlooking the fact that Paul does use the expression "to believe in Christ " I will discuss that usage later in this essay 18 Hultgren. not a slave of Christ To be sure. apparently." If at Gal 2:16 Paul intended to speak of faith in Christ. they obey unstintingly Him whom they can trust unwaveringly. the faith just referred to by "we have believed in Christ Jesus") rather than hina dikaiöthömen ek písteos it seems clear that in Romans 6 the opposite of being a slave of sin is being a slave of God. is the Christian." He writes: "The parenthetical clause (con taining πιστεύειν εις Χριστόν) provides a means of interpreting the πίστις Χρίστου formulation preceding and following it. and at Phil 1 1 he and Timothy are slaves of Christ Jesus. It is hard to see how Hultgren can call "even we have believed in Christ" a parenthetical clause. . later emphasized in Romans 5. which of course parallels the phrase being explored in this essay.." 1 8 This is a puzzling sen tence. . of course. .AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 435 Christ himself was obedient to GW(Philippians 2. . as the standard against which the Corinthian Christians should judge their own. al though. . he would more likely have written hina dikaiöthömen ek písteos (i. it is through Christ that God has made himself known and has taken the initiative for human salvation." 255 . like Christ. in order that we might be justified . even we have believed . but these appellations seem tied specifically to the calling of missionary preachers Only at 1 Cor 7 22 does Paul use the phrase doulos Christou more generally as a designation for any Christian. like. Romans 5). Paul speaks. . . and so. and there it can largely be accounted for by the particular context (remaining in one's present state) and. .
which is here 'the person who shares the faith of Abraham. and he characterizes Christians as persons whose faith is like Abraham's. in Paul's usage.22 That emphasis is 19 This interpretation is supported by Gal 3 22. "Romans 3 21-26. Chico. 1974) 142-52. Grand Rapids Eerdmans. to identify a person with a particular sect or persuasion. 1987 Christou. "Formulation. but Hultgren argues that the anarthrous nouns do not really constitute an exception to the rule that. Rom 4:16b is completely in accord with this. MT Scholars. . as he does elsewhere. 1983) . CA Scholars. He contends that at Rom 4:16b "Paul is using the article prior to εκ. Here we find the phrase to ek písteos Abraam. Missoula. where he takes "father" and "Abraham" to be subjective genitives. persons who trust God as absolutely as he did.436 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49.. So far I have tried to show that Hultgren's syntactical observations turn out. to lack evidential value. how or why it follows from this that Paul is not referring here to Abraham's own faith. the parallelism of thought between Rom 4:11-12 and 4:1621 suggests that the two phrases are indistinguishable in meaning. At Rom 4:12 Christian believers are described as "those who walk in the footprints of the faith of our father Abraham. Indeed. the article always precedes pistis when the noun is followed by a subjective genitive. rather than undermining the view that by pistis Christou Paul means Christ's own faith. the notion of Christ's own faith/obedience. I do find persuasive the evidence that Paul is familiar with. pistis Abraam at Rom 4:16 actually strengthens it. though. The Faith of Jesus Christ (SBLDS 56. upon closer examination." 87-90 The most thorough defense of this view is now R Β Hays. where tois pisteuousin seems superfluous if ek písteos Iësou Christou be understood to mean "by faith m Christ " 20 Hultgren." Thus. the faith he had when he was uncircumcised. Jesus ' Death as Saving Event The Background and Origin of a Concept (HDR 2.2 ° It is by no means clear to me. in fact. demonstrate his claim that písteos Abraam at Rom 4:16 means something different from "the faith of our father Abraham" at Rom 4:12.19 Another text that Hultgren marshals in support of his contention that in the phrase pistis Christou the genitive is merely a way of qualifying the faith of the believer (a faith whose object is Christ) is Rom 4:16b. 1975) 49-50. By contrast." Paul here refers to Abraham's own personal faith. "The Obedience of Christ in the Theology of the Early Church." Reconciliation and Hope New Testament Essays on Atone ment and Eschatology (L Morris Festschrift. and incorporates into his own theology. ed Robert Banks. A contrast between pistis Abraam and "the faith of our father Abraham" is totally unwarranted. Hultgren does not. Apparently the Apostle wants to distinguish in some way between believing eis Christon dina pistis Christou. R Ν Longenecker. ν 16 that the promise might be assured not only to those who live according to the Law but also to those who live by faith 22 See my study.. Johnson." 256 21 Verses 11-12 that Abraham might be the father not only of the circumcised but also of those who walk by faith. By ho ek písteos Abraam Paul means "the person who has faith like Abraham's.
And in Galatians 3 we find these statements: ". . Turner's statement that in Semitic usage the genitive "often provides an attribute which would normally be supplied by an adjective. that is. 257." and I think that Paul's phrase bears a sense different from what Hultgren proposes. See also BDF. Gal 3:22-25. Paul speaks of the coming of faith (pro tou elthein tënpistin. that several times pistis Christou seems to function in Paul's letters exactly as does pistis when pistis is used absolutely to designate the believer's faith. having realized that a man is not justified on the basis of works of the Law but rather dia pisteös Christou lësou" (Gal 2:16). the "genitive of quality" in the NT. viz. but the second gives it particularity. in which the interest is on the first word. reflecting Hebrew usage." but he nevertheless insists that Paul's emphasis is on the faith of the believer which has Christ as its object."23 He quotes N. These two Statements about the means of justification are likewise similar: ". "for in it [the gospel] God's righteousness is being revealed ek pisteös eis pistin (Rom 1:17). .AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 437 especially clear in Philippians 2 and Romans 5. Nevertheless. . The definite 23 Hultgren. ν 23). who note that in Hebrew the adjective is "nearly non-existent. . the view that Paul's phrase pistis Christou means simply and exclusively Christ's own faith has its own weakness. . "provides in many combinations an attributive which would ordinarily be provided by an adjective " 24 . ". . ." 256-57 Ibid.. reflecting Semitic usage. He writes: "The two words together form a unit. God's righteousness [manifested] dia písteos [lësou] Christou" (Rom 3:21-22). may well function adjectivally."24 Hultgren suggests the translation "Christie faith.. Note how these two affirmations about God's righteousness echo each other: "Now apart from the Law God's righteousness has been manifested . Immediately after asserting that what was promised is given ek pisteös lësou Christou (ν 22). that we might receive the promise of the Spirit dia tes písteos (ν 14). I would prefer to translate "Christ-faith. Thus the question presents itself: How can Paul use pistis and pistis Christou in such similar ways if pistis Christou designates specifically and exclusively Christ's own personal faith? In light of this question. "for we reckon that a man is justified/?¿s7ei apart from works of the Law" (Rom 3:28). or compound idea." Thus. I find attractive Hultgren's suggestion that in the phrase pistis Christou the genitive. . that the promise might be given ek písteos lësou Christou to those who believe" (v 22). par 165. and he characterizes that coming faith as something which can be revealed (eis tën mellousan pistin apokalyphthënai). "Formulation. II IN DETERMINING THE NUANCE of Paul's phrase one must recognize the significance of a text which both Hultgren and Johnson seem to overlook.
27 The author of Hebrews depicts Jesus as the model of endurance in suffering upon whom the believer should fix his gaze. but usually overlooked. In places the phrase appears to have an instrumental meaning and to be interchangeable with ek Christou or dia Christou. can call Jesus the archëgos of faith 28 E g . 1987 articles before pistin and mellousan pistin have here the force of a demonstrative pronoun ("this faith") and point back specifically to pistis lësou Christou in ν 22.438 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49. confident that it can yield important insights into the meaning of pistis Christou in Paul. having not yet been coined. Paul describes the believer's relationship to Christ in different language. so too the author of Hebrews. But how is it that faith comes? How is it that faith is revealed? Verse 24 provides an important clue: "The Law became our paidagögos until Christ. The Pauline conception finds expression. even though Abraham too had lived in faith. faith has now become a genuine possibility for human life as it was not before. God sent forth his son "when the fullness of time came " Even here erchesthai is directly connected with the advent of Christ 26 See R Bultmann. Heb 12:2). neither "Christian" nor "through Christ" does Paul's phrase justice. Reveal does not mean to make available as a datum to be grasped by the intellect. however. apparently. it is obvious that just as Paul can say that faith "comes" with Christ. his complete reliance upon God as trustworthy and true. 1 Thess 4 16. once it is the sperma to whom the promise had been made. 2 Cor 3 14. . of course." Faith "comes" with Christ. In his trusting obedience. Christ.26 I think that Faul would easily have agreed with the author of Hebrews that Jesus is the "originator and completer of faith" (ton tes pisteös archëgon kai teleiôtën Iësoun. in the phrase en Christg.2* Sometimes en Christg appears to be equivalent to the designation "Christian"—that word. who comes (v 19) At Gal 4 4. however. the single sperma of Abraham (3:16). Rom 16 7 Hoi koimëthentes en Christç at 1 Cor 15 18 can be translated "the people who have fallen asleep as Christians" or "the Christians who have fallen asleep " 25 . New York Scnbners.25 How so? Faith comes in that Christ.29 In other places. above all. Theology of the New Testament (2 vols . while nevertheless depicting Abraham as faith's great exemplar. Christ reveals faith. actualizes and exemplifies faith. I turn now to a brief examination of that much discussed phrase. "If someone [is] Noteworthy. . 1951) 1 275 The eschatological role of faith in God's design for his creation must be kept constantly in mind—and especially the role that faith plays in the "inclusion of the Gentiles. speaking eschatologically rather than historically. where en Christç parallels dia Christou in ν 18 29 Ε g . always bear the same theological weight in Paul's letters. The coming of faith is the event that puts an end to the confining and restraining authority of the Law. is Paul's use of the verb erchesthai in the argument of Galatians 3 Twice it is faith that comes (vv 23 and 25). Verse 25 again speaks of faith as something which comes (elthousës tes pisteös: "now that faith has come"). . En Christg does not. Rather. also 2 Cor 5 19." which event fulfills God's promise to Abraham 27 In light of the champions of faith enumerated in Hebrews 11.
Karsten Harnes. We can hardly appreciate what Paul is trying to express in these weightier uses of en Christg until we recognize that the Apostle's thought. Remaining "in sin" or living "according to the flesh" is now excluded. At Phil 3:9. To be "in Christ. or events viewed as containers. new boundaries." the Apostle writes at 2 Cor 5:17." "m a trance. is at least to trust and obey God. Cliffs of Fall (New York Seabury." then. In Greek as in English. "in" often suggests place. his obedience unto death) and God's saving response of raising him from the dead and exalting him beyond all beings—these eschatological events create the conditions for new possibilities of life. And at Rom 8:1. to be liberated from sin's power.33 30 J D Crossan.31 Interpreting Paul's phrase from this perspective. . e. gaining Christ is allied with being found en autg." These three texts alone indicate that en Christg can indeed bear significant meaning as a designation of the Christian life." "in debt. 29-32 32 Note. At the same time. and thus for His creation. Metaphors We Live By. The same sentence cannot be "in English" and "in Greek. This remembering. the righteous deed of the Last Adam (i.32 "In" also implies boundaries or restrictions of some sort. Paul declares that there is now "no condemnation wis en Christg lësou. although the old has passed away and the new has come for any person who is in Christ (2 Cor 5:17)." "in verse " For the range of expressions possible with en in Greek. It is excluded by remembering Christ's exemplary obedience and by yielding oneself in total obedience to God. Johnson. 1980) 5-11. trusting absolutely Him "who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist" (Rom 4:17). they provide defining boundaries. s ν 33 The ecclesiological thrust of "in Christ" has long been recognized See Bultmann. and to live in the new social reality of the Christian community." One cannot be "in a coma" and "in a race. Crossan quotes from Paul Ricoeur." "in good health. conditions. Metaphors We Live By (Chicago and London University of Chicago. a number of them relevant to my present point. as Christ did.e. and W V Quine See also G Lakoff and M.30 One of the basic metaphors that structure our thought and speech is that of states. like our own. a strong argument can be made that human thought and speech are fundamentally metaphorical. see LSJ. the English expressions "in love. a person cannot live "in Christ" and "in the Law. life's options have nevertheless been narrowed by what Christ has done and by what God has done to and for him." "in a bad mood. Indeed. 1980) 31 Lakoff and Johnson." For Paul.g . is shaped by metaphor. For. one should not overlook the local nuance of the preposition en." Thus. trusting." "in trouble. conditions..AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 439 en Christg [for him there is] a new creation. and obeying does not take place in private isolation but within a community of fellow believers whose existence is likewise determined by Christ and whose life together is empowered by the risen Lord. for personal existence. or circumstances that shape or affect life by circumscribing decisions and actions in some way.
1987 We can come closer to appreciating the force of en Christg in Paul's letters by exploring more fully two other Pauline phrases employing the preposition en which I used in the preceding paragraph—"in sin" and "in the Law.34 "In sin. the same is true of Christos. Sin is here conceived as an authoritative master. Christ rules as sovereign (kyrieuein) over both the dead and the living (Rom 14:9). for contrasting with "in the Law" is anomös. would be to miss the force of Paul's expression 34 Compare hyph' hamartian einai at Rom 3 9. Paul and His Letters (Philadelphia Fortress. 1 311 To read "in Christ" as being exactly synonymous with "Christian. a state characterized by ignorance of or refusal to acknowledge the Law's claims. in the phrase "in sin" the term hamartia names as well the realm or domain in which this power rules. like sin.20). Gal 4:21). This is Christ's "field of force. If hamartia and nomos can each name both a power which controls human life and a "domain" in which persons exist.20). to live in sin (v 2) means to serve sin as its slave (v 6). At Rom 3:19. Dying. describes a personal state of being. as a sovereign power. which can control persons and rob them of all autonomy. en nomg seems to describe a state of being determined by torah obedience. and synekleisen hë graphe ta pania hypo hamartian at Gal 3 22 Note that the language of sovereignty and slavery dominates the rest of Romans 6 "Do not let sin rule in your mortal body (6 12). 87 "εν νόμω denotes the sphere of the law's validity as a factor in salvation history " 38 L Keck. 1979) 58 fannehill. Berlin Topelmann. a power. Christ lives in him (Gal 2:20). see R C Tannehill. "slaves of sin" (6. At Gal 3:22-23 "under the custody of the Law" is found in close conjunction with "locked up under sin. hoi en to nomg are those for whom the Law is their sphere of life36 and who therefore recognize its validity and authority. that state in which one's existence is determined by sin. suggests that the law is a controlling power." In Romans 6. 1967) 15-17 36 See H A W Meyer." Gal 5:18.35 Much the same can be said about the phrase en nomg as about en hamartia. 19 .440 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49. pepramenos hypo ten hamartian at Rom 7 14. Dying and Rising with Christ (BZNW 32. rather. Paul writes that he no longer lives.17. for to be led by the Spirit is set over against being under the Law. At the same time." however.37 But for Paul nomos is also conceived.38 To live in this power Theology. because the local nuance of en cannot be ignored. too. Commentary on Romans. 1889) 125 37 Kasemann. "liberated from sin" (6 18) 35 For a more detailed discussion of sin as ruling power. At Rom 2:12. One can be "under the Law" (Rom 6:14." then. Paul makes the same point by asserting that sin can also indwell a person (Rom 7:17. But Christos also names a domain of personal existence created by his historical deed and God's saving response." the sphere in which he is sovereign. law-lessly. Critical and Exegetical Hand-Book to the Epistle to the Romans (New York Funk & Wagnalls. and the power of the living Christ is determinative for every believer.
syn does not mean "alongside. rather. that in ν 3 Paul does not write: "We have been baptized into death". Again." just as at Gal 3:9 "blessed with believing Abraham" means "blessed in the same way that Abraham was blessed. ν 8). death can no longer "rule" him (v 9). so also we" (v 4)." Christ's death was a death to sin (v 10).39 Again. such as those with idols (1 Cor 10:14-21) or prostitutes (1 Cor 6:15-17). 1977) 454-56. They have not died on a cross as Christ died. however. Having now been raised. become united "in the likeness (tö homoiömati) of his death" (v 5). According to Rom 6:4. Christ's death was the necessary prelude to his resurrec tion.AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 441 field and have one's life determined by its Lord is to be "in Christ. to be bound to him in a personal union which excludes other unions. Our old man has been crucified-with (synestaurôthë) Christ (v 6)." for there the Apostle speaks of baptism as the means by which one comes to be in this new state. accompanying. 40 Christ's death was the death that marked the end of death's power. we can turn to Romans 6 for additional insight into what Paul means by being "in Christ. But what does that mean? What is the point of correspondence. 462 40 G Bornkamm. Paul can speak of the "likeness "It is the powers operative in the dominion which determine its nature. which mark it off from another dominion where other powers are operative Such a dominion is a power field It is the sphere in which a power is at work " 39 Ε Ρ Sanders. And as Christ lives. so too does the believer's death mean that he is no longer in sin's power (v 6). They have not been raised by the glory of the Father as Christ was." but "like. he writes: "We have been baptized into his death. even as their present newness of life testifies already to the power of the resurrection (ν 4). rather. . they have. 1969) 74 " the future resurrection is already to become apparent in the conduct of the one freed from sin " ." And to be in Christ is to belong to him." This is clear in Romans 6 from other expressions of likeness: "the likeness of his death" (v 5) and "just as Christ ." Early Christian Experience (New York Harper & Row. of likeness." then. . is a death to sin. Christ will never die again. I think. "Baptism and New Life in Paul. "His death. Now neither these expressions nor the synterms which they illuminate can be taken to suggest that Christ's experience is identical with that of believers. Paul and Palestinian Judaism ( Philadelphia Fortress. their new life corresponds to Jesus' resurrec tion (v 4).8). which believers will some day fully share (vv 5. In these various sy/?-expressions. to be baptized into Christ means to be buried with him (synetaphëmen autg) by means of baptism into death. so will every believer live with him (v 8). a death that means the end of death's power. a death that was overcome by the victory of resurrection. we have died with Christ (syn Christg) and we believe that we shall live with him (syzësomen autg. in the same way. between the "death" of believers and Christ's death? It is significant.
the expression "to be baptized into Christ" (Gal 3 27. then. Paul quotes Scripture which includes pisteuein plus ep'autç. e g . God is the object oí pisteuein epi 44 R Bultmann. Rom 6 3) allows talk of Christ as a corporate or inclusive person. for the relationship between Christ's death and the death of believers is not reversible. Ill THE PHRASE "BE BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST" is reminiscent of another that brings us back to the subject of this inquiry: pisteuein eis Christon."44 This interpretation of pisteuein eis 41 More than any other. and (3) Christon as the object of the preposition Those two expressions are haptizesthai eis Christon and pisteuein eis Christon The phrase eis Christon hamartanete at 1 Cor 8 12 is hardly an exception since eis there means "against ") 43 At Rom 9 33 and 10 11. but scholarly discussions are often not very helpful m describing more exactly what this means I have trouble.442 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49. I have given instead what might be called a "minimal reading" of his intention 42 So far as 1 can tell. to be a reference to Christ At Rom 4 5 and 4 24. This likeness is not to be understood in terms of identity. I have argued that a crucial idea here is that of likeness.42 "How shall they call upon him in whom they have not believed?" Paul asks at Rom 10:14. sin and death—a defeat announced by the resurrection of Christ." And at Gal 2:16 he declares. "We have believed in Christ. 20) I have left to one side the difficult question of how "realistically" or "metaphysically" Paul intends the language of being baptized into Christ and being in Christ. "pisteuôr TDNT6 (1968) 203.41 Romans 6 affirms. that one comes to be "in Christ" by "dying" in a way that corresponds to Christ's death and by walking in a "newness of life" that portends the final defeat of those powers arrayed against God. 1987 of his death" because believers too experience the end of sin's reign and live in the confidence that their own future is assured by the resurrection-power of God. "Romans 3 21-26. there are only two expressions in Paul's letters in which wefind( 1) a verb which designates a personal act or decision. "and how shall they believe [in him] of whom they have not heard?" At Phil 1:29 he asserts: "It has been granted to you for Christ's sake not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him. (2) the preposition eis. For "to believe in Christ" can better be understood as a Pauline way of saying "to believe the gospel of God's redemptive work in and through Christ. however." 82 . Believers' death to sin is like Christ's death. their newness of life is like Christ's resurrection. Theirs is dependent on his as antecedent and enabling. though. for both testify to the overcoming of the enemies of God and his creatures. m both cases. he takes the pronoun." 43 Do these texts not contradict the view presented earlier that Paul is not accustomed to thinking of Christ as the object of faith? I do not think so. understanding Tannehiirs statement that " the inclusive unity which Christians enter is Christ himself" (Dying. Johnson.
the transfer from one order of existence to another. Phil 3 9. the life-stance of which he is the eschatological exemplar. rather. which marked Christ's own relationship to God. in addition to ek (or dia) pisteös [lësou] Christou. a connotation that becomes clear from the parallel expression just considered. something which is the basis of God's redemptive act." Just as Paul can say that one comes to be "in Christ" by being baptized into Christ. complicate the picture considerably. to believe like Christ. But how can pistis Christou be understood so as to make sense as the equivalent of pistis while in some texts it is to be distinguished from pistis? An attempt to answer requires a closer examination of the pistis Christou passages in Paul's letters. created through his death and resurrection. Phil 3 9 epi ίξ pistei 45 . this is equivalent to being justified (by God) on the basis of Christ-faith at Gal 2 16 At Gal 3 22. eis bears another connotation. these observations suggest that pistis Christou names something that Paul does not identify absolutely and without remainder with the faith of believers. the righteousness of God is manifested (by God) through Christ-faith 47 Rom 3 22 eis pantas tous pisteuontas. each of these prepositional phrases expresses the means by which God effects salvation. eis implies movement." That means is adopting the life-stance. Christ inauguThe phrases día písteos (lësou) Christou (Rom 3 22. in these four texts (Rom 3:22. Four of Paul's pistis Christou passages. however. Gal 2 16) or ek písteos (lësou) Christou (Gal 2 16. Thus. he declares that what was promised is given (by God) on the basis of Jesus-Chnstfaith At Rom 3 22.pistis. As we saw earlier. each instance oí pistis Christou occurs in a prepositional phrase indicating means or basis. and thereby to stand with Christ in that domain. too.45 Second.47 Taken together. that power field. so he can say that one believes into Christ. where to believe in Christ seems equivalent to believing that God raised him from the dead. another word or phrase which refers explicitly to the believer's faith. Paul speaks of having a righteousness (which is from God) by means of Christ-faith. In this second expression. Phil 3:9). At Rom 3:22. Gal 3 22 tois pisteuousin.22) 46 At Phil 3. To adopt this stance is to trust and obey Him who raised Jesus from the dead. to "believe into Christ" is the means by which one comes to be "in Christ. I want to suggest. change. Paul affirms that now the righteousness of God has been manifested through Christ-faith to (or for) all who believe. however. Paul sometimes uses pistis ana pistis Christou in ways that suggest no discernible difference between the two expressions. Gal 2:16. it seems to designate something prior to and (at least conceptually) distinguishable from the believer's faith. Gal 2 16 episteusamen. 3.46 Third. it is striking that in each case we find.9. particularly because of three notable features which they share. 3:22. that in Paul's expression pisteuein eis Christon.AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 443 Christon can appeal for support to Rom 10:9-14. To do so is to become the beneficiary of Christ-faith. First. "be baptized into Christ Jesus.
The basis of being justified that is thereby rejected is works of the Law (Gal 2:16).e. Christ-faith. Works of the Law entail two elements: (1) a divine given. faith. what was promised. Here the preposition en can be read simultaneously in a local and an instrumental sense." on the basis of. At Gal 3:22. that faith which was first his and has now become theirs. Thus in Gal 2:16 does Paul make a subtle but important distinction between pistis /pisteuein and pistis Christou. then. to live before God in the last days. It is Christ's own faith as prototype. the very purpose of believing into Christ Jesus is to be justified "out of. a self-contained event. By standing where Christ stood—before God in total trust and obedience—and by assuming his mode of personal existence. of that faith to which Law and prophets bear witness. When he speaks of Christ-faith. but which elicits its own response—that way which corresponds to Christ's way. With the phrase pistis Christou Paul spotlights the source. God's commands in torah. It is rather Christ's faith as it releases the possibility for all peoples and all persons. With the phrase eispantas tous pisteuontas he points to those who benefit from Christ's faith as they move into the new way of life before God which Christ has opened up. they are beneficiaries of Christ-faith.444 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49. the personal commitment to obey God's commands as the basis of right relationship with Him. noble. Paul writes that the Scripture imprisoned all things under sin "in order that the promise [i. 1987 rates eschatological faith. viz. and to be justified ek pisteös Christou seems equivalent of being justified en Christg (2:17). Christ-faith. Why then pistis lësou Christou rather than the simple pistis? Once again it is because the apostle wishes to . Christ's faith as it now determines the personal existence of every believer. Christ is both domain and means. In a corresponding way. and notable for its own sake." Paul could have written that what was promised is given on the basis of faith to those who believe. he points to eschatological faith as introduced into the world by Christ as a new possibility of human existence.. pistis Christou names a given. With the phrase pistis Christou. and (2) a human response. the actualizer. the Spirit—see 3:14] might be given on the basis of Christ-faith to those who believe. for when persons live in the power field created by the death and resurrection of Christ. By pisteuein he points to the personal act of taking up that mode of personal existence which Christ pioneered. which is prior to the personal commitment of the believer. Jew and Greek. and that faith is the means through Which God can and does manifest his righteousness to all persons who make Christ's stance their own and thus participate in the consummation of God's historical purpose.. Christians are justified by that faith which derives its very character from his self-giving obedience. Christ's own openness to God. In Gal 2:16. Paul is not interested in Christ's faith as a closed phenomenon. those who do indeed have faith.
here "Son of God") is followed by an appositional phrase or clause. . . which Christ created as a way of being in the world—to those who make his way their own. He thereby implies once again that pistis Christou is in some sense a given which is available as the means by which righteousness is effected. he is no longer the "I" produced and held together by Law-obedience. now through the gospel made available to all. In Phil 3:9. a fact which strongly indicates that the reference is to Jesus' . righteousness from God on the basis of faith. Paul contrasts "my own righteousness—that is. we might say. At Gal 2:19-20. the clause in apposition stresses not only the act of Christ ("gave himself up for me") but his motivation as well ("loved me"). That faith which Jesus thus revealed now provides the integrating energy of Paul's own life." This is the only pistis Christou passage in which the word Christ (or its equivalent. I live in faith—that of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me. Into the void left by the death of his self the living Christ has moved. but that faith created by the Son of God as he loved and gave himself up. nothing continues to be which Paul can identify with the ego that he was. Furthermore. not faith as a general religious attitude." a way of living before God which lies within my control and is dependent on my willing and performing. Righteousness is from God. Now what I live in the flesh. but it is epi tç pistei." Over against "my own righteousness. Without the faith of Christ there would be no new possibility of life in which we might participate. Here. we find the expression ton ek pisteös lësou. God gives what was promised on the basis of Christ-faith—that faith. Noteworthy is the fact the Jesus rather than Christ is the name employed. I myself no longer live. rather. The life he now knows as a human being is solely the consequence of faith. Christ lives in me. tqtou huiou tou theou. on the basis of faith—which is nothing other than Jesus' own mode of being. The sixth and final text to be considered is Rom 3:26. Paul declares with equal emphasis that Christ's faith has now become his own. Both act and motivation are consonant with Jesus' own faith. Having died to the Law. Nevertheless. A fifth pistis Christou passage differs in important details from the four texts just examined. righteousness from the Law" with righteousness "by means of Christ-faith—that is. Paul sets Christ-faith. where Paul may well be drawing upon a pre-Pauline formula.AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 445 emphasize the eschatological inauguration of faith. Apart from Christ's faith there would be no giving of the Spirit. Paul's egö has been decisively transformed. and that is indeed where the stress lies in the phrase pistei. Paul writes: "I have been crucified with Christ. Because he has been crucified with Christ. Yet one avails oneself of this means by adopting Christ's stance as one's own.
the faith of believers is indistinguishable from Jesus' faith. even a unique. in the last days. Christ is not the "object" of such faith. that relationship to God which Christ exemplified. just as clearly does ho ek pisteös lësou refer to any person who enters upon the way that Jesus has opened up. In its fundamental character. role in the fulfillment of God's purpose for the world.48 But if pistis lësou refers to Jesus' own faith. then. as it were.446 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49. available as a real human possibility in the last days. he has in mind that faith which is given its distinctive character by the absolute trust and unwavering obedience of Jesus. this life-pervading trust and obedience. Christ-faith. its creator. 1987 own faith. because Christ is the single seed of Abraham to whom the promises were given. and out of death both are created anew by the life-giving power of God. Moreover. For those who live "in Christ. who created. his faith plays a decisive. Christians are those persons who exploit this possibility by living "in Christ. however. because he lived and died. it is the same faith as regards its character and its consequences. denotes faith as faith has now been given its content and character by Christ himself. the time between his resurrection and his parousia. For both Christ and the believer faith leads to death. IV WHEN PAUL SPEAKS OF pistis Christou.49 . Christian faith is Christ-faith. Christ makes this orientation. but rather its supreme exemplar—indeed. and adopting his life-stance as their own—their lives now marked by Christ's own faith. this openness to God. Yet. As the eschatological actualizer and exemplar of such faith. this mode of being human in the world." his faith has become their own. faith is total obedience grounded in absolute reliance upon God. now characterizes the personal existence of everyone who lives in him. although Christian faith is different from Christ's faith in the sense that other persons (and not Christ) now believe. that life-stance which he actualized and which. For both Christ and the believers." joining him.
he later modifies so considerably as virtually to abandon it [pp 230-32]) In light of such disagreements. When he wishes to emphasize the commitment of persons who have shared Christ's death and now live "in Christ. for Paul. of this faith. he avers that "Paul's thought is rendered wholly intelligible only if all three of these interpretations are held together and affirmed as correct " As Hays understands Paul.5 as "the message of faith" or "the message that evokes faith" (pp 147-48). to Christ (pp 151-54) and." ι e . the RSV translation ("him who has faith in Jesus") has nothing to commend it The reference is rather to one who has faith like the faith of Jesus. by which phrase Hays means that in Galatians 3 "participation in Christ" is the controlling sotenological motif (p 234) Two statements of his understanding must suffice " righteousness and life are gifts of grace m which Christians participate because of Christ's πίστις. it seems to me. It is from this perspective. initially the faith of Jesus himself. the Apostle articulates a "participatory sotenology" (p 235). and Death and thus discharged us from all responsibility. In my opinion. The Faith of Jesus Christ (see η 22 above) At a number of points I am not able to agree with Hays—e g . his translation of akoëpísteos at Gal 3 2. Paul's phrase focuses attention on the pioneering faith of Christ. his view that at Gal 3 23-25 the faith that "comes" is "the historical phenomenon of 4the faith' (= Christianity)" (p 149. as well as our different approaches. I am the more struck by the remarkable convergence of our conclusions The conclusion most pertinent to the present essay Hays already points to in a statement on ρ 156 Having noted three possible interpretations of Gal 3 11 (the Messiah will live by his own faith. that ek písteos is a "catchword" phrase that means "on the basis of Christ's faith" (see ρ 150). his contention that in the Habakkuk quotation at Gal 3 11. When Paul wishes to direct focal attention to the source. that we can see how Paul sometimes distinguishes between pistis and pistis Christou while at other times he uses the two as virtual equivalents. just as pistis Christou. just as at Rom 4 16 Paul speaks of "the one of Abraham's faith." he can use the noun pistis absolutely. and πίστις is consequently the distinguishing mark of the life given to those who live 'in' him" (p 235) "The gospel story is not just the story of a super-hero who once upon a time defeated the cosmic villains of Law. is always nothing else than that way which Christ created. ho dikaios refers. Yet the pistis of believers. but his faith now marks the life of every person who lives in him. accordingly. I think.AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 447 For the Apostle Paul. he uses the phrase pistis Christou. the righteous person will live as a result of the Messiah's faith. pistis Christou is identical with pistis. in its fundamental character. that person whose faith is like the faith of Abraham 49 This essay was completed before I read R Β Hays's important study. by its very nature. the actualizer. In other words. it is also the enactment of a life-pattern into which we are drawn" (p 250) The similarity of Hays's position and the one developed m this essay is obvious 48 . Thus. Sin. the righteous person will live by his faith in the Messiah). faith is that way of responding to God which is now a reality because at a particular moment in the fullness of time Jesus trusted and obeyed. this view. is always that way which believers have taken as their own.
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