6.27.2013

Faith in Ephesians 2:8 & 3:12

Warning:  These are my midnight ramblings, they may make no sense to me come morning.

So I finished "The Faith of Jesus Christ" by Richard Hays a while ago and ever since I have been seeing other possible readings behind the Ephesians 2:8 text: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God"

What "that" refers to is ambiguous, most agree that it refers to "faith" or the entire proposition "For by grace you have been saved through faith".  That leads me to Hays.

Hays argues that "faith of Jesus" in Galatians is Christ's obedient death.  My question has been that since Christ's death looms large throughout all of Ephesians (but esp. chapter 2), can the phrase, "For by grace you have been saved through faith" be Christ's death?  A gift from God that is not from ourselves.  There is no "faith of Jesus" in sight but if the parallel is taken into consideration, "not of yourself" then there is a faith of someone implied.

Not only this but the next time faith is mentioned (3:12) the wording is even more ambiguous: the most common sense translation (from what I can see) would be: "in whom we have boldness and confident access through His faith."

Now, nearly all English Biblical translators express it as "through faith in Him" (and some add "our", which isn't even in the text).  It is a plausible translation that conforms more easily to certain Christian beliefs, but not the more obvious - at least when I read it (and yes, 5 verses later the believers faith is mentioned).

Could Paul possibly, in these two passages, be talking about Christ's faith (obedient death?)

Any thoughts?  Ideas?  Am I reading more into it than intended?

Again, these are midnight ramblings.

In case your wondering, here are all the uses of faith in Ephesians

1:15 - Paul has heard of the faith (of the people) in Christ
2:8 -   we are saved through faith - as a gift of God
3:12 -  We have boldness and confidence to enter διὰ τῆς πίστεως αὐτοῦ
3:17 - Christ is in our hearts through faith (ours)
4:5 - the faith (referring to the belief in Christ or Christianity)
4:13 - unity of "the faith" (corporate Christianity?)
6:16 - shield of faith - believers are called to take up faith to extinguish the fiery arrows of the devil

6:23 - in the benediction