Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 18

Again Pistis Christou

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 frther 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 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

432 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49, 1987 the article is invariably present before ." 4 His examples are ten pis tin tou theou at Rom 3:3; tes psteos tou Abraam at Rom 4:12; and he pistis hymn and equivalents, i.e., he pistis with other genitive pronouns. On the basis of this Pauline usage he suggests that we should be able to expect Paul to write h pistis tou Christou if he meant Christ's own faith. Since the Apostle does not do this, he must not be thinking of Christ's faith. In response to this argument I contend that the phrase h pistis hymn (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 hymn, hmn, autou, etc. Except in the vocative (e.g., Matt 6:9; 1 Cor 14:39), a noun with a genitive pronoun is usually articular.5 The genitive pronoun is normally placed "either after an arthrous substantive without repetition of the article or before the article . . . ; or finally, if an attributive precedes the substantive, after the former. . . ."6 Already, then, the article which Hultgren contends is "invariably present" before pistis plus subjective genitive pronoun is beginning to look like no evidence at all. Since the fact that we normally find phrases like h pistis hymn rather than phrases like pistis hymn has no evidential value, Hultgren has, in fact, 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. Both of these texts need closer scrutiny. In Romans 3, h pistis tou theou (v 3) and h altheia tou theou (v 7) (both governed and governing nouns articular) are clearly the equivalents of theou dikaiosyn ( 5) (both nouns anarthrous). 7 Dikaiosyn theou (again anarthrous) occurs also at Rom 1:16 and 3:20, but in the same letter (10:3) Paul writes h tou theou dikaiosyn and h dikaiosyn tou theou. In light of these various phrases, one can hardly be convinced that, had Paul spoken elsewhere of the faithfulness of God, he could not quite easily have written pistis theou instead of h pistis tou theou. The example from Rom 4:12 is more complicated. In the first place, Hultgren misleads his readers by suggesting that here we find the exact phrase tes psteos tou Abraam.8 In fact, we do not. Verse 12 reads: [. . . that righteousness might be reckoned also] wis stoichousin Wis ichnesin tes en akrobystia psteos tou pairos hmn Abraam. Now, as we have just seen, the standard way of saying "our father" in Greek is not patr hmn but ho pater
4 Ibid , 253 Hultgren writes h pistis hmn, but on the basis of the texts he cites, 1 assume he means h pistis hymn 5 One kind of exception reflects Semitic influence, see BDF, par 259 6 BDF, par 284 7 S Williams, "The 'Righteousness of God' in Romans," JBL 99 (1980) 268 8 Hultgren, "Formulation," 253

AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 433 hmn, because a noun modified by a genitive pronoun normally takes the article. So hmn is "responsible" for the article before patros. Further pertinent to an examination of Rom 4:12 is Hultgren's note that "according to the canon of Apollonius, an article must appear before the genitive (governed noun) if it appears before the governing noun; it is 'both or neither.'"9 It also seems to be the case, however, that among NT authors the governing noun is usually articular when the governed noun is articular.10 In the present case, pater, the governed noun, is articular because of the presence of the genitive pronoun hmn. (Abraam, of course, is in apposition to patros.) Consequently, it would be quite unusual if pistis were not articular as well. Thus, once again, Hultgren's argument does not hold. 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," 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 h pistis tou Abraam.11 Although other NT writings, including the deutero-Pauline letters and the Pastorals, use the expression pistis en or eis with Christ as the object of the preposition, Hultgren observes that Paul does not.12 Commenting on the absence of the usage in Paul, he writes: First, it is possible to affirm that Paul uses the formulation in seven instances where other New Testament writers might well use . Second, it is not possible to argue that Paul's 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 . While the latter is found elsewhere in the New Testament, it is not a Pauline idiom.13 Regarding Hultgren's first sentence, such an affirmation is of course possible. But a possibility does not constitute evidence. If one decides on other grounds
9 10

Ibid., 253 25. There are, of course, exceptions One that I have noticed is at Gal 3.29 tou Abraam

11 As examples, see the following phrases in the Greek "the power of God," "the righteous ness of God," and "the wrath of God" at Rom 1 16-18; "the grace of Christ" (Gal 1.6); "the power of God" (1 Cor 2 5), "sons of Abraham" (Gal 3.7), "sons of God" (Gal 3.26); "children of the slave woman" (Gal 4:31), "the face of Christ" (2 Cor 2:10 and 4:6); "the seed of David" and "the Spirit of holiness" in the formula at Rom 1 3-4 12 Actually, we do find the expression dia tes psteos en Christ lsou at Gal 3.26, but Hultgren is quite right in holding that Paul is not speaking of faith in Christ there ("Formulation," 254 28), rather, "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, but the Pauline authorship of Colossians is widely questioned Hultgren, apparently, is among those scholars who consider it deutero-Pauline 13 Hultgren, "Formulation," 254

434 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49, 1987 that pistis Christou means "faith in Christ," then it follows that Paul's expression might be equivalent to other writers' pistis en Christg or eis Christon; but that is in itself no evidence that Paul does mean "faith in Christ." Similarly, 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. To be convincing at this point, Hultgren needs to be able to explain why, if Paul means "faith in Christ," he consistently avoids that expression, but several times does speak of pistis Christou. There is, in fact, an explanation for the absence of the phrase pistis en Christg in Paul's letters, but that explanation does not support Hultgren's reading of pistis Christou. It rather undermines his interpretation. 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. Whether one stresses faith as a response to the gospel (see akopsteos at Gal 3:3,5), faith as confession (Rom 10:9-10), faith as trust (Romans 4), or faith as obedience (see hypakopsteos at Rom 1:5), the person of Christ is not faith's object. God is.14 In committing themselves to the truth of the gospel, believers confess what God has done by raising Christ from the dead and making him Lord (Rom 10:9; Phil 2:9-10). Believers trust God, for it is God who gives life to the dead and justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5,17; cf. 4:24). Nor, surprisingly, does Paul write that believers are to obey Christ.15
See Johnson, "Romans 3 21-26," 84 Note that in two of the three instances in which Paul does use pistis with a preposition, the object of the preposition is God or God's power "your faith toward (pros) God" (1 Thess 1 8), "your faith in (en) the power of God" (1 Cor 2 5) The third instance is Phlm 5 Here the Greek (akoun sou tn agapn kai tn pistin hn echis pros ton kyrion Isoun 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, Colossians and Philemon (Hermeneia, Philadelphia Fortress, 1971) 193 and nn 12-16, BDF, par 477 15 Especially in light of his emphasis that Christ is Lord and that believers are "of Christ," it is striking that Paul does not use hypakouein (or peithesthai) or hypako to suggest that it is Christ whom the believer obeys He speaks of Christ's own obedience (Rom 5 19, Phil 2 12) and of "your obedience" (Rom 16 19, 2 Cor 7 15, 10 6, 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, the parallel is obeying unrighteousness) In 2 Thessalonians, considered deuteroPauline by many scholars, 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, sin or obedience, should be surprising for one who thinks of Christ as the object of faith, for the expected contrast would be sin or Christ Also pertinent in Romans 6 are these expressions "You became enslaved to righteousness" (v 18), "having become enslaved to God" (v 22), "dead to sin but living to God" (v 11), "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, Commentary on Romans [Grand Rapids Eerdmans, 1980] 180) Whether that statement is a gloss or not,



Christ himself was obedient to GW(Philippians 2, Romans 5), and so, like, Christ, is the Christian. 16 To summarize the point being stressed here: Chris tians confess what God has done through the death and resurrection of Christ, and, like Christ, they obey unstintingly Him whom they can trust unwaveringly. God, not Christ, is the "object" of the Christian's faith, al though, of course, it is through Christ that God has made himself known and has taken the initiative for human salvation. 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. I suggest instead that Paul does not use the expression because he thinks of God rather than Christ as the "object" of faith.17 Hultgren believes that Gal 2:16 further confirms his view that pistis Christou means "faith in Christ." He writes: "The parenthetical clause (con taining ) provides a means of interpreting the formulation preceding and following it." 1 8 This is a puzzling sen tence. It is hard to see how Hultgren can call "even we have believed in Christ" a parenthetical clause, for it is actually the main clause of the sen tence whose principal components are "we . . ., since we realize . . ., even we have believed . . . in order that we might be justified . . . because. . . ." If at Gal 2:16 Paul intended to speak of faith in Christ, he would more likely have written hina dikaithmen ek psteos (i.e., the faith just referred to by "we have believed in Christ Jesus") rather than hina dikaithmen ek psteos

it seems clear that in Romans 6 the opposite of being a slave of sin is being a slave of God, not a slave of Christ To be sure, at Rom 1 1 and Gal 1 10 Paul calls himself a slave of Christ, and at Phil 1 1 he and Timothy are slaves of Christ Jesus, 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, and there it can largely be accounted for by the particular context (remaining in one's present state) and, apparently, 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, Paul speaks, according to the RSV, of taking every thought captive "to obey Christ " But the Greek is subject to quite a different interpretation Aichalotizontespan noma eis tn hypakon 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, later emphasized in Romans 5, as the standard against which the Corinthian Christians should judge their own. At any rate, the ambiguity of the phrase h hypako tou Christou, which of course parallels the phrase being explored in this essay, 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, "Formulation," 255

436 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49, 1987 Christou. Apparently the Apostle wants to distinguish in some way between believing eis Christon dina pistis Christou.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. Here we find the phrase to ek psteos Abraam, but Hultgren argues that the anarthrous nouns do not really constitute an exception to the rule that, in Paul's usage, the article always precedes pistis when the noun is followed by a subjective genitive. He contends that at Rom 4:16b "Paul is using the article prior to , as he does elsewhere, to identify a person with a particular sect or persuasion, which is here 'the person who shares the faith of Abraham. ,,,2 It is by no means clear to me, though, how or why it follows from this that Paul is not referring here to Abraham's own faith. Hultgren does not, in fact, demonstrate his claim that psteos Abraam at Rom 4:16 means something different from "the faith of our father Abraham" at Rom 4:12, where he takes "father" and "Abraham" to be subjective genitives. A contrast between pistis Abraam and "the faith of our father Abraham" is totally unwarranted. Indeed, 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, the faith he had when he was uncircumcised." Paul here refers to Abraham's own personal faith, and he characterizes Christians as persons whose faith is like Abraham's, persons who trust God as absolutely as he did. Rom 4:16b is completely in accord with this. By ho ek psteos Abraam Paul means "the person who has faith like Abraham's." Thus, rather than undermining the view that by pistis Christou Paul means Christ's own faith, pistis Abraam at Rom 4:16 actually strengthens it. So far I have tried to show that Hultgren's syntactical observations turn out, upon closer examination, to lack evidential value. By contrast, I do find persuasive the evidence that Paul is familiar with, and incorporates into his own theology, the notion of Christ's own faith/obedience.22 That emphasis is
19 This interpretation is supported by Gal 3 22, where tois pisteuousin seems superfluous if ek psteos Isou Christou be understood to mean "by faith m Christ " 20 Hultgren, "Formulation," 256 21 Verses 11-12 that Abraham might be the father not only of the circumcised but also of those who walk by faith, 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, Jesus ' Death as Saving Event The Background and Origin of a Concept (HDR 2, Missoula, MT Scholars, 1975) 49-50, R Longenecker, "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, ed Robert Banks, Grand Rapids Eerdmans, 1974) 142-52, Johnson, "Romans 3 21-26," 87-90 The most thorough defense of this view is now R Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ (SBLDS 56, Chico, CA Scholars, 1983)

AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 437 especially clear in Philippians 2 and Romans 5. Nevertheless, the view that Paul's phrase pistis Christou means simply and exclusively Christ's own faith has its own weakness, viz., 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. Note how these two affirmations about God's righteousness echo each other: "Now apart from the Law God's righteousness has been manifested . . . that is, God's righteousness [manifested] dia psteos [lsou] Christou" (Rom 3:21-22); "for in it [the gospel] God's righteousness is being revealed ek pistes eis pistin (Rom 1:17). These two Statements about the means of justification are likewise similar: ". . . having realized that a man is not justified on the basis of works of the Law but rather dia pistes Christou lsou" (Gal 2:16); "for we reckon that a man is justified/?s7ei apart from works of the Law" (Rom 3:28). And in Galatians 3 we find these statements: ". . . that we might receive the promise of the Spirit dia tes psteos ( 14); ". . . that the promise might be given ek psteos lsou Christou to those who believe" (v 22). 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, I find attractive Hultgren's suggestion that in the phrase pistis Christou the genitive, reflecting Semitic usage, may well function adjectivally. He writes: "The two words together form a unit, or compound idea, in which the interest is on the first word, but the second gives it particularity."23 He quotes N. Turner's statement that in Semitic usage the genitive "often provides an attribute which would normally be supplied by an adjective."24 Hultgren suggests the translation "Christie faith," but he nevertheless insists that Paul's emphasis is on the faith of the believer which has Christ as its object. I would prefer to translate "Christ-faith," and I think that Paul's phrase bears a sense different from what Hultgren proposes. 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, Gal 3:22-25. Immediately after asserting that what was promised is given ek pistes lsou Christou ( 22), Paul speaks of the coming of faith (pro tou elthein tnpistin, 23), and he characterizes that coming faith as something which can be revealed (eis tn mellousan pistin apokalyphthnai). The definite

Hultgren, "Formulation," 256-57 Ibid., 257. See also BDF, par 165, who note that in Hebrew the adjective is "nearly non-existent." Thus, the "genitive of quality" in the NT, reflecting Hebrew usage, "provides in many combinations an attributive which would ordinarily be provided by an adjective "

438 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49, 1987 articles before pistin and mellousan pistin have here the force of a demonstrative pronoun ("this faith") and point back specifically to pistis lsou Christou in 22. Verse 25 again speaks of faith as something which comes (elthouss tes pistes: "now that faith has come"). The coming of faith is the event that puts an end to the confining and restraining authority of the Law. But how is it that faith comes? How is it that faith is revealed? Verse 24 provides an important clue: "The Law became our paidaggos until Christ. . . ." Faith "comes" with Christ.25 How so? Faith comes in that Christ, the single sperma of Abraham (3:16), actualizes and exemplifies faith. In his trusting obedience, his complete reliance upon God as trustworthy and true, Christ reveals faith. Reveal does not mean to make available as a datum to be grasped by the intellect, however. Rather, faith has now become a genuine possibility for human life as it was not before, even though Abraham too had lived in faith.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 pistes archgon kai teleitn Isoun, Heb 12:2).27 The author of Hebrews depicts Jesus as the model of endurance in suffering upon whom the believer should fix his gaze. Paul describes the believer's relationship to Christ in different language. The Pauline conception finds expression, above all, in the phrase en Christg. I turn now to a brief examination of that much discussed phrase, confident that it can yield important insights into the meaning of pistis Christou in Paul. En Christg does not, of course, always bear the same theological weight in Paul's letters. In places the phrase appears to have an instrumental meaning and to be interchangeable with ek Christou or dia Christou.2* Sometimes en Christg appears to be equivalent to the designation "Christian"that word, apparently, having not yet been coined.29 In other places, however, neither "Christian" nor "through Christ" does Paul's phrase justice. "If someone [is]
Noteworthy, but usually overlooked, is Paul's use of the verb erchesthai in the argument of Galatians 3 Twice it is faith that comes (vv 23 and 25), once it is the sperma to whom the promise had been made, Christ, who comes (v 19) At Gal 4 4, 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, Theology of the New Testament (2 vols , New York Scnbners, 1951) 1 275 The eschatological role of faith in God's design for his creation must be kept constantly in mindand especially the role that faith plays in the "inclusion of the Gentiles," which event fulfills God's promise to Abraham 27 In light of the champions of faith enumerated in Hebrews 11, it is obvious that just as Paul can say that faith "comes" with Christ, while nevertheless depicting Abraham as faith's great exemplar, so too the author of Hebrews, speaking eschatologically rather than historically, can call Jesus the archgos of faith 28 E g , 2 Cor 3 14, also 2 Cor 5 19, where en Christ parallels dia Christou in 18 29 g , 1 Thess 4 16, Rom 16 7 Hoi koimthentes en Christ at 1 Cor 15 18 can be translated "the people who have fallen asleep as Christians" or "the Christians who have fallen asleep "

AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 439 en Christg [for him there is] a new creation," the Apostle writes at 2 Cor 5:17. At Phil 3:9, gaining Christ is allied with being found en autg. And at Rom 8:1, Paul declares that there is now "no condemnation wis en Christg lsou." These three texts alone indicate that en Christg can indeed bear significant meaning as a designation of the Christian life. 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, like our own, is shaped by metaphor. Indeed, a strong argument can be made that human thought and speech are fundamentally metaphorical.30 One of the basic metaphors that structure our thought and speech is that of states, conditions, or events viewed as containers.31 Interpreting Paul's phrase from this perspective, one should not overlook the local nuance of the preposition en. In Greek as in English, "in" often suggests place, conditions, or circumstances that shape or affect life by circumscribing decisions and actions in some way.32 "In" also implies boundaries or restrictions of some sort. The same sentence cannot be "in English" and "in Greek." One cannot be "in a coma" and "in a race." For Paul, a person cannot live "in Christ" and "in the Law." Thus, the righteous deed of the Last Adam (i.e., his obedience unto death) and God's saving response of raising him from the dead and exalting him beyond all beingsthese eschatological events create the conditions for new possibilities of life. At the same time, they provide defining boundaries, new boundaries, for personal existence. For, although the old has passed away and the new has come for any person who is in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), life's options have nevertheless been narrowed by what Christ has done and by what God has done to and for him, and thus for His creation. Remaining "in sin" or living "according to the flesh" is now excluded. It is excluded by remembering Christ's exemplary obedience and by yielding oneself in total obedience to God, as Christ did, trusting absolutely Him "who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist" (Rom 4:17). This remembering, trusting, 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. To be "in Christ," then, is at least to trust and obey God, to be liberated from sin's power, and to live in the new social reality of the Christian community.33
30 J D Crossan, Cliffs of Fall (New York Seabury, 1980) 5-11, Crossan quotes from Paul Ricoeur, Karsten Harnes, and W V Quine See also G Lakoff and M. Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago and London University of Chicago, 1980) 31 Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 29-32 32 Note, e.g , the English expressions "in love," "in good health," "m a trance," "in a bad mood," "in trouble," "in debt," "in verse " For the range of expressions possible with en in Greek, a number of them relevant to my present point, see LSJ, s 33 The ecclesiological thrust of "in Christ" has long been recognized See Bultmann,

440 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49, 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." In Romans 6, to live in sin (v 2) means to serve sin as its slave (v 6). Sin is here conceived as an authoritative master, a power, which can control persons and rob them of all autonomy.34 "In sin," then, describes a personal state of being, that state in which one's existence is determined by sin. Paul makes the same point by asserting that sin can also indwell a person (Rom 7:17,20). At the same time, because the local nuance of en cannot be ignored, in the phrase "in sin" the term hamartia names as well the realm or domain in which this power rules.35 Much the same can be said about the phrase en nomg as about en hamartia. At Rom 2:12, en nomg seems to describe a state of being determined by torah obedience, for contrasting with "in the Law" is anoms, law-lessly, a state characterized by ignorance of or refusal to acknowledge the Law's claims. At Rom 3:19, hoi en to nomg are those for whom the Law is their sphere of life36 and who therefore recognize its validity and authority.37 But for Paul nomos is also conceived, like sin, as a sovereign power. One can be "under the Law" (Rom 6:14; Gal 4:21). At Gal 3:22-23 "under the custody of the Law" is found in close conjunction with "locked up under sin." Gal 5:18, too, suggests that the law is a controlling power, for to be led by the Spirit is set over against being under the Law. If hamartia and nomos can each name both a power which controls human life and a "domain" in which persons exist, the same is true of Christos. Paul writes that he no longer lives; rather, Christ lives in him (Gal 2:20). Christ rules as sovereign (kyrieuein) over both the dead and the living (Rom 14:9), and the power of the living Christ is determinative for every believer. But Christos also names a domain of personal existence created by his historical deed and God's saving response. This is Christ's "field of force," the sphere in which he is sovereign.38 To live in this power
Theology, 1 311 To read "in Christ" as being exactly synonymous with "Christian," however, would be to miss the force of Paul's expression 34 Compare hyph' hamartian einai at Rom 3 9, pepramenos hypo ten hamartian at Rom 7 14, and synekleisen h 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), "slaves of sin" (6.17,20), "liberated from sin" (6 18) 35 For a more detailed discussion of sin as ruling power, see R C Tannehill, Dying and Rising with Christ (BZNW 32, Berlin Topelmann, 1967) 15-17 36 See H A W Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Hand-Book to the Epistle to the Romans (New York Funk & Wagnalls, 1889) 125 37 Kasemann, Commentary on Romans, 87 " denotes the sphere of the law's validity as a factor in salvation history " 38 L Keck, Paul and His Letters (Philadelphia Fortress, 1979) 58 fannehill, Dying, 19

AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 441 field and have one's life determined by its Lord is to be "in Christ." And to be in Christ is to belong to him, to be bound to him in a personal union which excludes other unions, such as those with idols (1 Cor 10:14-21) or prostitutes (1 Cor 6:15-17).39 Again, we can turn to Romans 6 for additional insight into what Paul means by being "in Christ," for there the Apostle speaks of baptism as the means by which one comes to be in this new state. According to Rom 6:4, to be baptized into Christ means to be buried with him (synetaphmen autg) by means of baptism into death. Our old man has been crucified-with (synestaurth) Christ (v 6); we have died with Christ (syn Christg) and we believe that we shall live with him (syzsomen autg, 8). In these various sy/?-expressions, syn does not mean "alongside, accompanying," but "like, in the same way," just as at Gal 3:9 "blessed with believing Abraham" means "blessed in the same way that Abraham was blessed." This is clear in Romans 6 from other expressions of likeness: "the likeness of his death" (v 5) and "just as Christ . . . so also we" (v 4). 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. They have not been raised by the glory of the Father as Christ was; rather, their new life corresponds to Jesus' resurrec tion (v 4). They have not died on a cross as Christ died; they have, however, become united "in the likeness (t homoimati) of his death" (v 5). But what does that mean? What is the point of correspondence, of likeness, between the "death" of believers and Christ's death? It is significant, I think, that in 3 Paul does not write: "We have been baptized into death"; rather, he writes: "We have been baptized into his death." Christ's death was a death to sin (v 10); so too does the believer's death mean that he is no longer in sin's power (v 6). Again, Christ's death was the necessary prelude to his resurrec tion, which believers will some day fully share (vv 5,8), even as their present newness of life testifies already to the power of the resurrection ( 4). 40 Christ's death was the death that marked the end of death's power. Having now been raised, Christ will never die again; death can no longer "rule" him (v 9). And as Christ lives, so will every believer live with him (v 8). "His death," then, is a death to sin, a death that means the end of death's power, a death that was overcome by the victory of resurrection. 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 Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism ( Philadelphia Fortress, 1977) 454-56, 462 40 G Bornkamm, "Baptism and New Life in Paul," Early Christian Experience (New York Harper & Row, 1969) 74 " the future resurrection is already to become apparent in the conduct of the one freed from sin "

442 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 49, 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.41 Romans 6 affirms, then, 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, sin and deatha defeat announced by the resurrection of Christ. I have argued that a crucial idea here is that of likeness. Believers' death to sin is like Christ's death; their newness of life is like Christ's resurrection, for both testify to the overcoming of the enemies of God and his creatures. This likeness is not to be understood in terms of identity, though, for the relationship between Christ's death and the death of believers is not reversible. Theirs is dependent on his as antecedent and enabling. Ill
THE PHRASE "BE BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST" is reminiscent of another that brings us back to the subject of this inquiry: pisteuein eis Christon.42 "How shall they call upon him in whom they have not believed?" Paul asks at Rom 10:14; "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." And at Gal 2:16 he declares, "We have believed in Christ." 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. 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."44 This interpretation of pisteuein eis

41 More than any other, the expression "to be baptized into Christ" (Gal 3 27, Rom 6 3) allows talk of Christ as a corporate or inclusive person, but scholarly discussions are often not very helpful m describing more exactly what this means I have trouble, e g , understanding Tannehiirs statement that " the inclusive unity which Christians enter is Christ himself" (Dying, 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, I have given instead what might be called a "minimal reading" of his intention 42 So far as 1 can tell, there are only two expressions in Paul's letters in which wefind( 1) a verb which designates a personal act or decision, (2) the preposition eis, 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, Paul quotes Scripture which includes pisteuein plus ep'aut, he takes the pronoun, m both cases, to be a reference to Christ At Rom 4 5 and 4 24, however, God is the object o pisteuein epi 44 R Bultmann, "pisteur TDNT6 (1968) 203, Johnson, "Romans 3 21-26," 82

AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 443 Christon can appeal for support to Rom 10:9-14, where to believe in Christ seems equivalent to believing that God raised him from the dead. I want to suggest, however, that in Paul's expression pisteuein eis Christon, eis bears another connotation, a connotation that becomes clear from the parallel expression just considered, "be baptized into Christ Jesus." Just as Paul can say that one comes to be "in Christ" by being baptized into Christ, so he can say that one believes into Christ. In this second expression, too, eis implies movement, change, the transfer from one order of existence to another. Thus, to "believe into Christ" is the means by which one comes to be "in Christ." That means is adopting the life-stance,pistis, which marked Christ's own relationship to God, the life-stance of which he is the eschatological exemplar. To adopt this stance is to trust and obey Him who raised Jesus from the dead, to believe like Christ, and thereby to stand with Christ in that domain, that power field, created through his death and resurrection. To do so is to become the beneficiary of Christ-faith. As we saw earlier, Paul sometimes uses pistis ana pistis Christou in ways that suggest no discernible difference between the two expressions. Four of Paul's pistis Christou passages, however, complicate the picture considerably, particularly because of three notable features which they share. First, in these four texts (Rom 3:22; Gal 2:16; 3:22; Phil 3:9), each instance o pistis Christou occurs in a prepositional phrase indicating means or basis.45 Second, each of these prepositional phrases expresses the means by which God effects salvation.46 Third, it is striking that in each case we find, in addition to ek (or dia) pistes [lsou] Christou, another word or phrase which refers explicitly to the believer's faith.47 Taken together, these observations suggest that pistis Christou names something that Paul does not identify absolutely and without remainder with the faith of believers; rather, it seems to designate something prior to and (at least conceptually) distinguishable from the believer's faith, something which is the basis of God's redemptive act. 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. At Rom 3:22, Paul affirms that now the righteousness of God has been manifested through Christ-faith to (or for) all who believe. Christ inauguThe phrases da psteos (lsou) Christou (Rom 3 22, Phil 3 9, Gal 2 16) or ek psteos (lsou) Christou (Gal 2 16, 3.22) 46 At Phil 3.9, Paul speaks of having a righteousness (which is from God) by means of Christ-faith, this is equivalent to being justified (by God) on the basis of Christ-faith at Gal 2 16 At Gal 3 22, he declares that what was promised is given (by God) on the basis of Jesus-Chnstfaith At Rom 3 22, the righteousness of God is manifested (by God) through Christ-faith 47 Rom 3 22 eis pantas tous pisteuontas, Gal 2 16 episteusamen, Gal 3 22 tois pisteuousin, Phil 3 9 epi pistei



rates eschatological faith, 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. With the phrase pistis Christou Paul spotlights the source, the actualizer, of that faith to which Law and prophets bear witness. 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. When he speaks of Christ-faith, then, Paul is not interested in Christ's faith as a closed phenomenon, a self-contained event, noble, and notable for its own sake. It is rather Christ's faith as it releases the possibility for all peoples and all persons, Jew and Greek, to live before God in the last days. It is Christ's own faith as prototype, Christ's faith as it now determines the personal existence of every believer. In Gal 2:16, the very purpose of believing into Christ Jesus is to be justified "out of," on the basis of, Christ-faith, and to be justified ek pistes Christou seems equivalent of being justified en Christg (2:17). Here the preposition en can be read simultaneously in a local and an instrumental sense. Christ is both domain and means, for when persons live in the power field created by the death and resurrection of Christ, they are beneficiaries of Christ-faith. By standing where Christ stoodbefore God in total trust and obedienceand by assuming his mode of personal existence, Christians are justified by that faith which derives its very character from his self-giving obedience, that faith which was first his and has now become theirs. The basis of being justified that is thereby rejected is works of the Law (Gal 2:16). Works of the Law entail two elements: (1) a divine given, God's commands in torah, and (2) a human response, the personal commitment to obey God's commands as the basis of right relationship with Him. In a corresponding way, pistis Christou names a given, Christ's own openness to God, which is prior to the personal commitment of the believer, but which elicits its own responsethat way which corresponds to Christ's way, viz., faith. Thus in Gal 2:16 does Paul make a subtle but important distinction between pistis /pisteuein and pistis Christou. With the phrase pistis Christou, Christ-faith, he points to eschatological faith as introduced into the world by Christ as a new possibility of human existence. By pisteuein he points to the personal act of taking up that mode of personal existence which Christ pioneered. At Gal 3:22, Paul writes that the Scripture imprisoned all things under sin "in order that the promise [i.e., what was promised, the Spiritsee 3:14] might be given on the basis of Christ-faith to those who believe." Paul could have written that what was promised is given on the basis of faith to those who believe, those who do indeed have faith. Why then pistis lsou Christou rather than the simple pistis? Once again it is because the apostle wishes to

AGAIN PISTIS CHRISTOU 445 emphasize the eschatological inauguration of faith. Without the faith of Christ there would be no new possibility of life in which we might participate. Apart from Christ's faith there would be no giving of the Spirit. God gives what was promised on the basis of Christ-faiththat faith, we might say, which Christ created as a way of being in the worldto those who make his way their own. In Phil 3:9, Paul contrasts "my own righteousnessthat is, righteousness from the Law" with righteousness "by means of Christ-faiththat is, righteousness from God on the basis of faith." Over against "my own righteousness," a way of living before God which lies within my control and is dependent on my willing and performing, Paul sets Christ-faith. 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. Yet one avails oneself of this means by adopting Christ's stance as one's own. Righteousness is from God, but it is epi t pistei, on the basis of faithwhich is nothing other than Jesus' own mode of being, now through the gospel made available to all. A fifth pistis Christou passage differs in important details from the four texts just examined. At Gal 2:19-20, Paul writes: "I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live; rather, Christ lives in me. Now what I live in the flesh, I live in faiththat of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me." This is the only pistis Christou passage in which the word Christ (or its equivalent, here "Son of God") is followed by an appositional phrase or clause. Furthermore, the clause in apposition stresses not only the act of Christ ("gave himself up for me") but his motivation as well ("loved me"). Both act and motivation are consonant with Jesus' own faith, and that is indeed where the stress lies in the phrase pistei. . . tqtou huiou tou theou. Nevertheless, Paul declares with equal emphasis that Christ's faith has now become his own. Paul's eg has been decisively transformed. Having died to the Law, he is no longer the "I" produced and held together by Law-obedience. Because he has been crucified with Christ, nothing continues to be which Paul can identify with the ego that he was. Into the void left by the death of his self the living Christ has moved. The life he now knows as a human being is solely the consequence of faith, not faith as a general religious attitude, but that faith created by the Son of God as he loved and gave himself up. That faith which Jesus thus revealed now provides the integrating energy of Paul's own life. The sixth and final text to be considered is Rom 3:26. Here, where Paul may well be drawing upon a pre-Pauline formula, we find the expression ton ek pistes lsou. Noteworthy is the fact the Jesus rather than Christ is the name employed, a fact which strongly indicates that the reference is to Jesus'



own faith.48 But if pistis lsou refers to Jesus' own faith, just as clearly does ho ek pistes lsou refer to any person who enters upon the way that Jesus has opened up. In its fundamental character, the faith of believers is indistinguishable from Jesus' faith. For those who live "in Christ," his faith has become their own. IV
WHEN PAUL SPEAKS OF pistis Christou, he has in mind that faith which is given its distinctive character by the absolute trust and unwavering obedience of Jesus, who created, in the last days, this mode of being human in the world. Christian faith is Christ-faith, that relationship to God which Christ exemplified, that life-stance which he actualized and which, because he lived and died, now characterizes the personal existence of everyone who lives in him. Christ is not the "object" of such faith, however, but rather its supreme exemplarindeed, its creator. Moreover, because Christ is the single seed of Abraham to whom the promises were given, his faith plays a decisive, even a unique, role in the fulfillment of God's purpose for the world. Yet, although Christian faith is different from Christ's faith in the sense that other persons (and not Christ) now believe, it is the same faith as regards its character and its consequences. For both Christ and the believers, faith is total obedience grounded in absolute reliance upon God. For both Christ and the believer faith leads to death, and out of death both are created anew by the life-giving power of God. As the eschatological actualizer and exemplar of such faith, Christ makes this orientation, this openness to God, this life-pervading trust and obedience, available as a real human possibility in the last days, the time between his resurrection and his parousia. Christians are those persons who exploit this possibility by living "in Christ," joining him, as it were, and adopting his life-stance as their owntheir lives now marked by Christ's own faith. Christ-faith, then, denotes faith as faith has now been given its content and character by Christ himself.49



For the Apostle Paul, 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. When Paul wishes to direct focal attention to the source, the actualizer, of this faith, he uses the phrase pistis Christou. When he wishes to emphasize the commitment of persons who have shared Christ's death and now live "in Christ," he can use the noun pistis absolutely. Yet the pistis of believers, by its very nature, is always nothing else than that way which Christ created, just as pistis Christou, initially the faith of Jesus himself, is always that way which believers have taken as their own. In other words, Paul's phrase focuses attention on the pioneering faith of Christ, but his faith now marks the life of every person who lives in him. Thus, in its fundamental character, pistis Christou is identical with pistis. It is from this perspective, I think, that we can see how Paul sometimes distinguishes between pistis and pistis Christou while at other times he uses the two as virtual equivalents.
In my opinion, 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, just as at Rom 4 16 Paul speaks of "the one of Abraham's faith," e , that person whose faith is like the faith of Abraham 49 This essay was completed before I read R Hays's important study, The Faith of Jesus Christ (see 22 above) At a number of points I am not able to agree with Hayse g , his translation of akopsteos at Gal 3 2,5 as "the message of faith" or "the message that evokes faith" (pp 147-48), his contention that in the Habakkuk quotation at Gal 3 11, ho dikaios refers, for Paul, to Christ (pp 151-54) and, accordingly, that ek psteos is a "catchword" phrase that means "on the basis of Christ's faith" (see 150), his view that at Gal 3 23-25 the faith that "comes" is "the historical phenomenon of 4the faith' (= Christianity)" (p 149, this view, it seems to me, he later modifies so considerably as virtually to abandon it [pp 230-32]) In light of such disagreements, 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 156 Having noted three possible interpretations of Gal 3 11 (the Messiah will live by his own faith, the righteous person will live as a result of the Messiah's faith, the righteous person will live by his faith in the Messiah), 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, the Apostle articulates a "participatory sotenology" (p 235), 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 , and 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, Sin, and Death and thus discharged us from all responsibility, 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

^ s
Copyright and Use: As an ATLAS user, you may print, download, or send articles for individual use according to fair use as defined by U.S. and international copyright law and as otherwise authorized under your respective ATLAS subscriber agreement. No content may be copied or emailed to multiple sites or publicly posted without the copyright holder(s)' express written permission. Any use, decompiling, reproduction, or distribution of this journal in excess of fair use provisions may be a violation of copyright law. This journal is made available to you through the ATLAS collection with permission from the copyright holder(s). The copyright holder for an entire issue of a journal typically is the journal owner, who also may own the copyright in each article. However, for certain articles, the author of the article may maintain the copyright in the article. Please contact the copyright holder(s) to request permission to use an article or specific work for any use not covered by the fair use provisions of the copyright laws or covered by your respective ATLAS subscriber agreement. For information regarding the copyright holder(s), please refer to the copyright information in the journal, if available, or contact ATLA to request contact information for the copyright holder(s). About ATLAS: The ATLA Serials (ATLAS) collection contains electronic versions of previously published religion and theology journals reproduced with permission. The ATLAS collection is owned and managed by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) and received initial funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The design and final form of this electronic document is the property of the American Theological Library Association.