cure-real
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 24

Thread: Faith: a choice or a gift?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    In the dust of the Rabbi
    Posts
    708

    Faith: a choice or a gift?

    I had a discussion today with a Catholic about whether the notion of free will is applicable to faith. We discussed Saul’s conversion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Acts 9 (English Standard Version)
    The Conversion of Saul

    1But Saul,(A) still(B) breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to(C) the high priest 2and asked him for letters(D) to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to(E) the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3(F) Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting(G) me?" 5And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus,(H) whom you are persecuting. 6But(I) rise and enter the city, and you will be told(J) what you are to do." 7(K) The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,(L) hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened,(M) he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

    10Now there was a disciple at Damascus named(N) Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said,(O) "Here I am, Lord." 11And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man(P) of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and(Q) lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." 13But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man,(R) how much evil he has done to(S) your(T) saints at Jerusalem. 14And here he has authority from(U) the chief priests to bind all who(V) call on your name." 15But the Lord said to him, "Go, for(W) he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name(X) before the Gentiles and(Y) kings and the children of Israel. 16For(Z) I will show him how much(AA) he must suffer(AB) for the sake of my name." 17So(AC) Ananias departed and entered the house. And(AD) laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and(AE) be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and(AF) he regained his sight. Then(AG) he rose and was baptized; 19and(AH) taking food, he was strengthened.
    Did Saul really make a ‘choice’ to convert and have faith? Could anyone really not have converted given this experience? Did Saul choose God or did God choose Saul? Clearly, I think the answer is both, but specifically with regards to faith – whose choice was it?

    Can we choose the things in which we have faith? Can we choose to change our minds about the things in which we have or do not have faith. What is the difference between belief and faith? If I believe that the computer keyboard and monitor that I am using to write this are actually here in front of me, is that the same as having faith that they exist? Could I simply choose to stop having faith that they are there? Can I choose to have faith that the thermos on the table next to the computer is blue rather than green? If I see it as green? Experience it as green? Know it to be green? Can I choose to believe that it is anything but green?

    A cursory internet search seems to indicate that scripture would seem to indicate both; in Deuteronomy 7:

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuteronomy 7 (ESV)

    6 “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
    God’s chooses Israel. But in Deuteronomy 30:

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuteronomy 30 (ESV)

    19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death,(A) blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.
    Israel is urged to choose God.

    In Joshua 24

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua 24 (ESV)

    15(A) And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD,(B) choose this day whom you will serve, whether(C) the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or(D) the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.(E) But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
    our choice.

    In Isaiah 44

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaiah 44 (ESV)

    Israel the LORD’s Chosen

    1"But now hear,(A) O Jacob my servant,
    Israel whom I have chosen!
    2Thus says the LORD who made you,
    (B) who formed you from the womb and will help you:
    (C) Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
    (D) Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
    God’s choice.

    Even Jesus’ words on this seem unclear to me:

    Quote Originally Posted by John 15 (ESV)

    1"I am the(A) true vine, and my Father is(B) the vinedresser. 2(C) Every branch in me that does not bear fruit(D) he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,(E) that it may bear more fruit. 3Already(F) you are clean(G) because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4(H) abide(I) in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine;(J) you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that(K) bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in me(L) he is thrown away like a branch and withers;(M) and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If(N) you abide in me, and my words abide in you,(O) ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8(P) By this my Father is glorified, that you(Q) bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9(R) As the Father has loved me,(S) so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10(T) If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as(U) I have kept(V) my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11These things I have spoken to you,(W) that my joy may be in you, and that(X) your joy may be full.

    12(Y) "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13(Z) Greater love has no one than this,(AA) that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14You are(AB) my friends(AC) if you do what I command you. 15(AD) No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant[b](AE) does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for(AF) all that I have heard from my Father(AG) I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but(AH) I chose you and appointed you that you should go and(AI) bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that(AJ) whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17These things I command you,(AK) so that you will love one another.
    as he asks us to choose to abide in him, but then says that we did not choose him, but rather he choose us.

    The sermon from which I found many of these versus likens the process to ‘falling in love’. Namely, it is something that happens to us, but we are given the choice as to whether or not to pursue it. This somehow seems insufficient to me. What do you think?

    Do you believe that our free will extends to the notion of having faith in Jesus Christ or that applies only to the choice of whether or not to follow him?
    "The greatest single cause of atheism in the
    world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus
    with their lips then walk out the door and deny
    Him by their lifestyles. That is what
    an unbelieving world simply
    finds unbelievable."

    ~ Brennan Manning

  2. #2

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsy View Post
    Faith: a choice or a gift?
    It's a gift. Totally.

    Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" - ESV

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Rhode Island!!!
    Posts
    4,877
    Blog Entries
    10

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    At one time I would go into a nursing home once a week and share the Gospel with the residents. At one time, I had a gift for each of them wrapped up. I asked each one if they would like the gift, it was free. I had arranged ahead of time for one of the residents, Carrie, to say no she did not want the gift. When I got to her she said "no." I pleaded with her and told her I paid for it and it would cost her nothing. She still said she still made the choice to reject gift I had for her.
    It's the same thing with the gift of faith that God offers us. It's there, and it's paid for. However, some are just not interested in receiving it.
    The question is why not?
    .................The message of the cross divides the human race." ~MW~

    ........ ... " LORD, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant..."
    .................................................. .................................................. ...Nehemiah 1:11a




  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    In the dust of the Rabbi
    Posts
    708

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Karen, I agree with this, but are you talking about faith or grace?
    "The greatest single cause of atheism in the
    world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus
    with their lips then walk out the door and deny
    Him by their lifestyles. That is what
    an unbelieving world simply
    finds unbelievable."

    ~ Brennan Manning

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    12,092

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Faith is completely a gift. But man can suppress that truth and in turn, fall short of the grace given him.


    Rom 1:18-19

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
    NASB

    Also, we see what Jesus said about Sodom.


    Matt 11:23-24
    23 "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 24 "Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you."
    NASB

    Sodom was judged and destroyed by God. But Jesus testified that if he had done miracles there, like he had done in Israel, they would have repented. So what was missing? Did God force them not to believe? Had he done the miracles, would that mean he had forced them to believe?

    Faith is a gift. Suppressing the truth is something we do because we want to do so. Receiving the truth is something we want to do. Though I will admit that sometimes, God predestines from birth as he did with Jeremiah and with John the Baptist. But we can't ignore what God said about Sodom remaining nor can we ignore what God testifies of man in Romans 1 when they willingly suppress the truth they know (which is faith). God made the truth evident in them, and they suppressed it anyway.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  6. #6

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Quote Originally Posted by -SEEKING- View Post
    It's a gift. Totally.

    Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" - ESV
    it's a gift, but can we use this gift to make choice? no because it is impossible for us to do anything on our own (John 15:50). Jesus says that it is impossible with man to enter the kingdom of God, but with God, all things are possible:

    Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
    Matt 19:24-26 (ESV)

    therefore, belief in God is possible through God alone, and belief cannot be done with man alone. Hence, we can honestly say that it is a miracle for someone to believe in God.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    In the dust of the Rabbi
    Posts
    708

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    My position was along the lines of what has been posted here i.e. Faith is a gift of God. That is no more a choice than that I could choose to have faith that the chair on which I am sitting isn't there. She was adamant that it was a choice. Is that a Catholic thing? Clearly once we have faith, we have the choice to act on that faith or not, what I'm wondering is about the other side of faith; are there choices we make to prepare our hearts for faith before receiving it? Choices we should help the non-believer to be making? To soften their hearts? To plow the road, so to speak, for the Holy Spirit?
    "The greatest single cause of atheism in the
    world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus
    with their lips then walk out the door and deny
    Him by their lifestyles. That is what
    an unbelieving world simply
    finds unbelievable."

    ~ Brennan Manning

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    12,092

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsy View Post
    My position was along the lines of what has been posted here i.e. Faith is a gift of God. That is no more a choice than that I could choose to have faith that the chair on which I am sitting isn't there. She was adamant that it was a choice. Is that a Catholic thing? Clearly once we have faith, we have the choice to act on that faith or not, what I'm wondering is about the other side of faith; are there choices we make to prepare our hearts for faith before receiving it? Choices we should help the non-believer to be making? To soften their hearts? To plow the road, so to speak, for the Holy Spirit?
    The danger is that we harden our hearts. One's heart is hardened when he "hears" God and responds incorrectly. Israel is a good example of that in Hebrews 3 and men mentioned in Romans 1.

    Heb 3:7-8

    7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,

    "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
    8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME,
    AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,
    NASU

    Notice in this passage the hardening comes after the hearing. Romans 1 tells us God has made it clear to man that he is. And again, we see the heart harden after the revelation not before.

    Rom 1:18-32

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

    28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
    NASU

    It's not that we prepare our hearts to receive faith, for how can one do that? But when one is quickened by God, do we suppress the truth and resist him? Do we do that so long until he "turns us over"? These men suppressed the truth that God made evident to them. They knew the truth and rejected it.

    Is this not what the Pharisees did?

    Luke 20:12-16
    12 "And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. 13 "The owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.' 14 "But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, 'This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.' 15 "So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 "He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others."
    NASU

    and

    John 11:48
    48 "If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
    NASU

    The Pharisees knew that if Jesus continued, they would lose their vineyard so they killed him thinking to keep the vineyard for themselves. They suppressed the truth to the point they became deceived about God just like what Romans 1 said would happen.

    Having said all that, I think that God will plow our hearts to soften us up so that we respond correctly. Did he not do this with Nebechannezer? I think the ole boy got saved here...


    Dan 4:33-35
    33 "Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.

    34 "But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;

    For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
    35 "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
    And among the inhabitants of earth;
    And no one can ward off His hand
    Or say to Him, 'What have You done?'
    NASU

    Interesting thread.

    Grace and peace,

    Mark
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    In the dust of the Rabbi
    Posts
    708

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Thanks Brother M. Excellent post!

    How do the versus, in your view, which you have provided contrast with God hardening the heart of the Pharaoh in Exodus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Exodus 7:3 (NASB)

    [3]*“But I will harden Pharaoh's heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.
    are their some individuals or certain times that God does not wish for us to have faith? Is it sometimes necessary for one to lack faith, that his plan be executed?
    "The greatest single cause of atheism in the
    world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus
    with their lips then walk out the door and deny
    Him by their lifestyles. That is what
    an unbelieving world simply
    finds unbelievable."

    ~ Brennan Manning

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    one step closer to agnosticism every day
    Posts
    9,834

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    If faith was a gift than why would Jesus complain that his followers had too little of it?
    - Matthew 4:30 - Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
    - Matthew 8:26 - He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
    Why would he try to convince them of
    - Matthew 16:8 - Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?
    .... among many, many others.

    If faith was a gift, then why would Jesus tell his disciples of all the things they could do if they just had more?
    - Matthew 17:20 - He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

    Seems to me there is at least some component of faith (and I'd argue its the larger component) that is wholly dependent on personal choice.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    12,092

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsy View Post
    Thanks Brother M. Excellent post!

    How do the versus, in your view, which you have provided contrast with God hardening the heart of the Pharaoh in Exodus?
    IMO, we see the same pattern with Pharaoh we see in Romans 1 and Hebrews 3. He first heard the word from God. Then he hardened his heart. Later, God hardened it. Also, we Israel was a witness for God as was Joseph. This Pharaoh had the man of God (Moses) in his house hold and saw him up close. How did he respond? By trying to kill Moses when Moses first killed the Egyptian in an effort to set them free. Then, when Moses returned and witnessed to Pharaoh (granted with great cost to Pharaoh if he heeded) this was his response.

    Ex 5:1-2

    5 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

    2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.
    KJV

    We already know from Romans 1 that God had made himself evident to Pharaoh. Go back and read about previous Egyptian Pharaohs.

    Gen 12:17-13:1

    17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. 18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, "What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 "Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go." 20 Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him.NASU

    This Pharaoh rebuked Abraham because he lied to him. Imagine that! The "world" rebuking the man of God! Thing is, this Pharaoh knew enough about spiritual things that he recognized the hand of God. Then somehow figured out Sarah was Abraham's wife. Think that perhaps he sought God concerning the judgment to find out why things were happening? This man was at least spiritually aware.

    Ex 8:15
    15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
    NASU

    When Pharaoh got relief, he hardened his heart. What happened when Neb got relief? He praised God and submitted. See the difference? Pharaoh continued down the Romans road.

    Ex 8:19
    19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
    NASU

    Here it doesn't say who hardened his heart. But later we see another verse.

    Ex 8:32
    32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
    NASU

    Pharaoh hardened his heart again.

    Ex 9:7
    7 Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
    NASU

    Not told in this verse who hardened the heart.

    But again, we are given a verse where after the testing time is over, Pharaoh hardens his own heart.

    Ex 9:34
    34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
    NASU

    The God steps in.

    Ex 10:1-2

    10 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the Lord."
    NASU

    Ex 11:10
    10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.
    NASU

    Ex 14:8-9
    8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly.
    NASU

    Just like in Romans 1, Pharaoh rejected the witness of God and suppressed the truth. Eventually, God turned him over or said another way, hardened Pharaoh's heart.

    are their some individuals or certain times that God does not wish for us to have faith? Is it sometimes necessary for one to lack faith, that his plan be executed?
    Not in my opinion. God will use sinners to further his plan. But he doesn't need them.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    12,092

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Quote Originally Posted by HisLeast View Post
    If faith was a gift than why would Jesus complain that his followers had too little of it?
    - Matthew 4:30 - Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
    - Matthew 8:26 - He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
    Why would he try to convince them of
    - Matthew 16:8 - Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?
    .... among many, many others.

    If faith was a gift, then why would Jesus tell his disciples of all the things they could do if they just had more?
    - Matthew 17:20 - He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

    Seems to me there is at least some component of faith (and I'd argue its the larger component) that is wholly dependent on personal choice.
    Jesus wasn't saying that had no faith but little faith. Faith can be grown and that is largely dependent upon us.


    Matt 17:19-21

    19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" 20 And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21 ["But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."]
    NASU

    Prayer and fasting can increase our faith. There are other ways too, IMO.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    under the pain of the wish
    Posts
    10,896
    Blog Entries
    4

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    I don't think belief or faith is something we choose to do. That is, we don't apply our will or volition to believe something that is true. Rather, we apply our rationality and our mental processes to comprehend what is true. Accepting what is true is not a matter of choice, we simply catalog what we find to be true in our minds and proceed from that point. The only time we have to make a choice is if we want to believe what is false or if we want to disbelieve something that is true. We decide to ignore the truth; we decide to act as if something isn't true even though it is true. We decide to suppress or repress the facts. In other words, while belief is simply the product of a rational mind, unbelief is the effort of a willful ignorance. Paul puts it this way in Romans the first chapter,

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    Paul is saying that the suppression of the obvious, self evident existence of God is an evil moral decision. Suppression of the truth is an act of unrighteousness. If a man wasn't making an evil moral decision, he would simply look up in the sky and say, "Gee I guess there is a God." which is simply a proposition arrived at by logical reasoning. The existence of God is inferred from observations of his creation. And so Paul is suggesting that if a man knows about God's existence by inference from the created order, and if that man suppresses that truth, he has made an evil moral choice to suppress that truth which leads to futile speculations and a darkened heart.

    The conversion of Saul, I think, was not his decision to believe, but rather, his decision to stop unbelieving. He was suppressing the truth he already knew, choosing to not believe what he had heard and seen. It was only after he decided to vacate his earlier decision to disbelieve that he finally believed.

  14. #14

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Paul left home early one morning going to Damascus to put Followers of Jesus the Christ in prison. He I am sure knew who Jesus of Nazareth was but he did not believe he was the Christ, the anointed one of God. As far as I can tell this is the only thing he believed different three days later. Why? Because Jesus called him for a job he wanted done by Saul of Tarsus. He did not believe before because God had not yet called him. In John 10 Jesus tells the Jews you believe not because you are not of my sheep. Then he said my sheep here my voice. Saul was one of his sheep and when Jesus called him he believed. He wasn't saved because he believed he was saved because he was a sheep. The way I understand it is we are not saved by our faith but we are saved by the faith of Christ. Please bear with me and let me know what you think. Are ye saved. How are you saved?

    Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; To write it different. Ye are saved by grace through faith. Lets look at another how did he save us verse.
    Titus 3:5 according to his mercy he saved us,(by grace) by (through) the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (faith)

    Both of these verse's tell how we are saved. They both have to say the exact same thing or we are saved by more than one way. Therefore the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit have to be the faith of and result of the faith of Christ. Please bear with me. Jesus was baptized by John. Went into the Jordan John suffered him, Jesus came up out of the water, Holy Spirit in form of dove lit on him, Father from heaven declared Jesus his beloved Son. Maybe a year and a half after this Jesus said this in Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Jesus speaks of a cup of suffering and a baptism he must go through. The baptism is his death, shed blood for our sins we are washed in his blood, and his resurrection, raised from the dead, given life again. Came up out of the water, raised from Hades then the Holy Spirit lit on him. Acts 2:32,33 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. From Titus 3:5 and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Then just as in Acts 2:33 he sheds it on us Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; Notice in Acts 2:33 he received the promise of the Holy Spirit. When was this promise given? Gal. 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. It was made way back in Genesis. It is the covenant by which one is brought into a relationship to God as an heir today. Because the Word was made flesh and new he was going to die for you and me he was in agony unto sweating blood drops yet he had faith in the Father to raise him from the dead. What does Gal.2:16 say? Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Heb. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of the faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. When at the cross? Quoted from Hab.2:4 the just shall live by his faith. That is God's.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    under the pain of the wish
    Posts
    10,896
    Blog Entries
    4

    Re: Faith: a choice or a gift?

    Quote Originally Posted by percho View Post
    Paul left home early one morning going to Damascus to put Followers of Jesus the Christ in prison. He I am sure knew who Jesus of Nazareth was but he did not believe he was the Christ, the anointed one of God. As far as I can tell this is the only thing he believed different three days later. Why? Because Jesus called him for a job he wanted done by Saul of Tarsus. He did not believe before because God had not yet called him. In John 10 Jesus tells the Jews you believe not because you are not of my sheep. Then he said my sheep here my voice. Saul was one of his sheep and when Jesus called him he believed. He wasn't saved because he believed he was saved because he was a sheep. The way I understand it is we are not saved by our faith but we are saved by the faith of Christ. Please bear with me and let me know what you think. Are ye saved. How are you saved?

    Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; To write it different. Ye are saved by grace through faith. Lets look at another how did he save us verse.
    Titus 3:5 according to his mercy he saved us,(by grace) by (through) the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (faith)

    Both of these verse's tell how we are saved. They both have to say the exact same thing or we are saved by more than one way. Therefore the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit have to be the faith of and result of the faith of Christ. Please bear with me. Jesus was baptized by John. Went into the Jordan John suffered him, Jesus came up out of the water, Holy Spirit in form of dove lit on him, Father from heaven declared Jesus his beloved Son. Maybe a year and a half after this Jesus said this in Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Jesus speaks of a cup of suffering and a baptism he must go through. The baptism is his death, shed blood for our sins we are washed in his blood, and his resurrection, raised from the dead, given life again. Came up out of the water, raised from Hades then the Holy Spirit lit on him. Acts 2:32,33 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. From Titus 3:5 and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Then just as in Acts 2:33 he sheds it on us Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; Notice in Acts 2:33 he received the promise of the Holy Spirit. When was this promise given? Gal. 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. It was made way back in Genesis. It is the covenant by which one is brought into a relationship to God as an heir today. Because the Word was made flesh and new he was going to die for you and me he was in agony unto sweating blood drops yet he had faith in the Father to raise him from the dead. What does Gal.2:16 say? Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Heb. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of the faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. When at the cross? Quoted from Hab.2:4 the just shall live by his faith. That is God's.
    This is an interesting proposal. I would need to think about it more, but I certainly see the association you are making between Gal. 2:16 and Ephesians 2:8. Thanks for posting that.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. the gift of faith
    By Sojourner55 in forum Bible Chat
    Replies: 106
    Last Post: Oct 15th 2010, 01:07 AM
  2. Replies: 171
    Last Post: Apr 26th 2010, 03:06 AM
  3. The gift, or the Giver of the gift?
    By Partaker of Christ in forum Growing in Christ
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: Jul 22nd 2009, 02:41 PM
  4. Discussion GOD's Choice or My Choice
    By White Spider in forum Bible Chat
    Replies: 160
    Last Post: Aug 8th 2008, 01:55 AM
  5. Can faith be a "gift"?
    By BadDog in forum Bible Chat
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: Aug 30th 2007, 03:02 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •