For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17
You can't read the Bible like a regular book. There's just too much greatness that doesn't get caught with a casual skim. Every once in a while you read through a passage that makes you hit the brakes, makes you go back and ask, "What does this mean?"
Romans 1:17 is such a passage. When I come across these passages, the revisit is always worth it. When I look around for context, when I drill down to see what the language really means, there's always some extra-special meaning waiting there to be discovered.
The phrase here that made me do a double-take is "from faith to faith." Such an odd combination. What could Paul be talking about here?
I found no short supply of analysis of this verse when I searched. There exists some disagreement on how the verse should be translated, thus there's also not a consensus on what it means. What did jump off the page to me was this from Matthew Henry's commentary:
Faith is all in all, both in the beginning and progress of Christian life. It is not from faith to works, as if faith put us into a justified state, and then works kept us in it; but it is all along from faith to faith; it is faith pressing forward, and gaining the victory over unbelief.
This makes so much sense to me. We don't receive any kind of explosive, one-time revelation of God's righteousness. It's a life-long process, building strength over time.
I accepted Christ at a young age, but my knowledge of God's righteousness was extremely limited. I knew enough to make a confession of faith, but the reality was that was just my jumping off point.
Almost 40 years later the faith I have now is many generations removed from what I had as a boy. It's been shaped by doubt, by tragedies, by struggles and by overcoming; it's been shaped by experiences with others, through reading and listening, and most of all, through further revelation found in God's Word.
I don't know how I'd label this current version of my faith. It's a far cry from the "beta" version I emerged from the waters of baptism with. It's probably something like v. 36.2.
I do know that it's stronger every day, not always in a sense of belief but always in a sense of presence and providence. And I also know it's still growing in changing.
Like Paul said in I Corinthians 13, "Now we see through a glass darkly." The evolution of my faith in this life is like trying to find the end of pi. It simply can't be done.
But unlike the futile search for the end of a mathematical constant, my search for a deeper level of faith is always fruitful. It always changes my life for the better.
I'm thankful that God keeps revealing Himself to us, letting us grow in Him at our own speed. I'm thankful for His patience with me when I get stuck.
And I'm thankful that some day it will all be fulfilled and we will reach the completion of our journey from faith to faith.