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Sojourner
Oct 4th 2010, 03:44 AM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?

Sirus
Oct 4th 2010, 04:50 AM
Faith is faith. Everyone has the God given ability and everyone exercises it daily, some more than others. The question is, what do we put our God given faith in. He made man in His image with a spirit and soul with the ability of faith for the purpose of knowing Him intimately. Since faith is not a gift from God given at some moment of salvation so that one can believe or have faith in God to be saved, but is part of the very nature and constitution of the created man, the impact on the free will debate is very great but not at all in the sense you are asking. In fact quite the opposite. It is absolute affirmation of free will because it means man has the gift of faith, the ability, to place his faith in not only God but anyone or anything he so chooses.

jandl
Oct 4th 2010, 05:52 AM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?The context is the salvation of the soul, and what is a gift is the salvation, the grace that came from God. It is simply there to show that YOU CAN'T get to heaven through anything YOU do, but God has done it all for you, giving it to you like it is a present.

Jemand
Oct 4th 2010, 05:54 AM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?

The first issue to consider is that the copyright holders of the NIV absolutely require that the initials (NIV) appear at the end of each quotation. The second issue to consider here is whether Paul is saying that faith is a gift. The Greek pronoun τουτο translated “this” in Eph. 2:8 is neuter in gender and the Greek noun translated “faith” in the same verse is feminine in gender. Some commentators have argued that the pronoun, therefore, cannot refer to faith but must refer to the process of salvation (the Greek noun for “salvation” is also feminine). Other commentators have argued that since και τουτο is an idiomatic expression, the gender of the pronoun is insignificant. The Church Fathers (Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Jerome in particular) interpreted the pronoun as referring to faith and so have many scholars and commentators including Erasmus, Beza, Crocius, Cocceius, Grotius, Estius, Bengel, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bisiping, and Hodge. Scholars and commentators that are more recent acknowledge that the pronoun may refer to the noun “grace,” the verb “saved,” the noun “faith,” or the process of salvation by grace.

If we take the position that the Greek pronoun τουτο translated “this” in Eph. 2:8 is a reference to faith, the faith through which we are saved by grace is a gift from God. If the Calvinists are correct in believing that unregenerate man is totally depraved and has lost his free will, the people being addressed in v. 8 are God’s elect to whom God has given saving faith. If the Calvinists are incorrect in believing that unregenerate man is totally depraved and has lost his free will, the people being addressed in v. 8 are people who of their own free will chose to believe the gospel.

embankmentlb
Oct 4th 2010, 10:54 AM
The way i read it. We are to have faith in the gift.

notuptome
Oct 4th 2010, 11:56 AM
Scripture says that faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. Rom 10:17

For the cause of Christ
Roger

Caleb
Oct 4th 2010, 03:42 PM
This faith is a gift from God.

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

If it was a common faith that all have, then all have at least the faith as a mustard seed, and all can say to the "mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you"

Luke 18:7 And God, shall He not execute justice for His own elect, who cry out day and night to Him, and yet He is patient with them?
Luke 18:8 I tell you that He will execute justice for them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"

If it was a common faith that all have, then most surely 'when the Son of Man comes, He will really find faith on the earth'

RogerW
Oct 4th 2010, 03:55 PM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?

Perhaps the problem could be reconciled when we consider "the gift of God." The gift, I think we should all agree must be salvation. What is salvation? Salvation is to be made whole, to be delivered or protected, and to preserve. All outside our ability. Paul is telling us what is necessary for us to be saved, which is grace and faith. I would hope that all would agree that no man can be saved apart from grace and faith. Therefore the "gift of God" that is salvation is of grace through faith "all" the "gift of God", and not of works that we do, so that no man is able to boast. So the gift of salvation comes by the grace of God through faith He imparts through His Word and Spirit. The whole package, apart from which no man can be saved, all of salvation by grace through faith...the gift of God! Salvation is of the Lord! He will save His people from their sins!

RogerW
Oct 4th 2010, 03:57 PM
This faith is a gift from God.

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

If it was a common faith that all have, then all have at least the faith as a mustard seed, and all can say to the "mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you"

Luke 18:7 And God, shall He not execute justice for His own elect, who cry out day and night to Him, and yet He is patient with them?
Luke 18:8 I tell you that He will execute justice for them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"

If it was a common faith that all have, then most surely 'when the Son of Man comes, He will really find faith on the earth'

Good point Caleb! I agree, none are born with the gift of faith required for salvation. All of salvation is by grace through faith...the whole thing, "the gift of God"!

BroRog
Oct 4th 2010, 04:41 PM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?

I don't think Paul is saying that "faith" is the gift. With regard to the Greek grammar, I don't think we need to know grammar rules to understand that when an author strings together a set of ideas, he or she intends for the reader to put all the ideas together to form a complete picture. It is the complete picture that is "not from yourselves". It is salvation-by-grace-through-faith which did not come from the Ephesians.

We tend to read this verse as if Paul was giving his readers the nuts-and-bolts explanation for how salvation works. And so, when some of us read, "saved through faith and this not of yourselves" we hear "God's grace extends to such a degree that he even provides the faith by which we are saved." Those who read it this way, understand the term "yourselves" to mean "mankind in general". The contrast Paul draws, as they see it, is between what God contributes to the salvation of man, and what mankind contributes to it.

Many of us come to the scriptures with our questions and we search for passages that seem to answer them. In this case, we come to the scriptures to see whether salvation is "monergistic", i.e. God saves a man without his cooperation, or "synergistic", i.e. God saves man if man cooperates with God. For some, Ephesians 2:8-9 seems to answer that question. Since salvation is monergistic, it is only right that God provide the faith as a gift of his grace.

But as Bible students we must resist the temptation to make the scriptures answer OUR questions. What if Paul wasn't actually answering OUR question, but had his own agenda and purpose for writing, a topic other than the one we raise?

I think an examination of chapter 2 will present us with an alternate interpretation for us to consider and which might actually be the meaning that Paul intended. I think the "yourselves" in verse 8 isn't "mankind" in general, but rather "the Ephesians" specifically and by extention, Greek philosophers. I think Paul is saying: the concept of salvation-by-grace-through-faith didn't originate with Greek thinkers. The Jewish Apostles did'nt make this up; the Greek philosophers didn't make this up. It was God who thought it up; it was God, not men, who presented this means to salvation.

Salvation was to the Jew first but also to the Greek, Paul says in Romans. The Jewish people didn't invent it. The way to salvation came through Jewish prophets directly from God himself. It wasn't deduced from first principles; it wasn't reasoned from experience, or thought experiments. It was given to his apostles and prophets through divine revelation. The way to salvation wasn't "of yourselves", i.e. something you invented or imagined. It was a message that God gave to Paul so that he might relay that message to the Ephesians.

Frances
Oct 4th 2010, 05:20 PM
I believe there is 'ordinary' faith in Jesus for Salvation, and the Gift of Faith - eg. a 'knowing' that someone will be Healed when you pray for them, or knowing that something will inevitably happen if you obey the Lord in some specific way - the difference between trusting the Lord to do something and knowing, without a doubt, that He will. The Gift is the difference between 'believing' and 'knowing'.

RogerW
Oct 4th 2010, 05:43 PM
I don't think Paul is saying that "faith" is the gift. With regard to the Greek grammar, I don't think we need to know grammar rules to understand that when an author strings together a set of ideas, he or she intends for the reader to put all the ideas together to form a complete picture. It is the complete picture that is "not from yourselves". It is salvation-by-grace-through-faith which did not come from the Ephesians.

We tend to read this verse as if Paul was giving his readers the nuts-and-bolts explanation for how salvation works. And so, when some of us read, "saved through faith and this not of yourselves" we hear "God's grace extends to such a degree that he even provides the faith by which we are saved." Those who read it this way, understand the term "yourselves" to mean "mankind in general". The contrast Paul draws, as they see it, is between what God contributes to the salvation of man, and what mankind contributes to it.

Many of us come to the scriptures with our questions and we search for passages that seem to answer them. In this case, we come to the scriptures to see whether salvation is "monergistic", i.e. God saves a man without his cooperation, or "synergistic", i.e. God saves man if man cooperates with God. For some, Ephesians 2:8-9 seems to answer that question. Since salvation is monergistic, it is only right that God provide the faith as a gift of his grace.

But as Bible students we must resist the temptation to make the scriptures answer OUR questions. What if Paul wasn't actually answering OUR question, but had his own agenda and purpose for writing, a topic other than the one we raise?

I think an examination of chapter 2 will present us with an alternate interpretation for us to consider and which might actually be the meaning that Paul intended. I think the "yourselves" in verse 8 isn't "mankind" in general, but rather "the Ephesians" specifically and by extention, Greek philosophers. I think Paul is saying: the concept of salvation-by-grace-through-faith didn't originate with Greek thinkers. The Jewish Apostles did'nt make this up; the Greek philosophers didn't make this up. It was God who thought it up; it was God, not men, who presented this means to salvation.

Salvation was to the Jew first but also to the Greek, Paul says in Romans. The Jewish people didn't invent it. The way to salvation came through Jewish prophets directly from God himself. It wasn't deduced from first principles; it wasn't reasoned from experience, or thought experiments. It was given to his apostles and prophets through divine revelation. The way to salvation wasn't "of yourselves", i.e. something you invented or imagined. It was a message that God gave to Paul so that he might relay that message to the Ephesians.

I think this makes pretty good sense Rog! After all it is true, salvation is of God alone, and not something that any man has come up with. Just as prophecy of the Scripture is not of private interpretation, nor by the will of man, but through the power of the Holy Spirit. So too, none can say that salvation is given through any other means, but God Himself, through the power of His spoken Word and Spirit.

Ta-An
Oct 4th 2010, 05:49 PM
This faith is a gift from God.


When you receive a gift, you still have to open it to enjoy it, it is of no use to just receive it but leave the wrapper on it and leave it on the shelve......

BroRog
Oct 4th 2010, 05:50 PM
I think this makes pretty good sense Rog! After all it is true, salvation is of God alone, and not something that any man has come up with. Just as prophecy of the Scripture is not of private interpretation, nor by the will of man, but through the power of the Holy Spirit. So too, none can say that salvation is given through any other means, but God Himself, through the power of His spoken Word and Spirit.

Thanks. But I hope you see that if I am right, we can't use these two verses as a proof text for the idea that "faith" is a gift from God. It might be true. And we might find a passage that makes that point. But I don't think Paul was making a case for monergism here.

John146
Oct 4th 2010, 06:38 PM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?No, that's not what he's saying. Look at it this way. What is by grace? Salvation. What is through faith? Salvation. What is not from yourselves, that is, not by our own works? Salvation. What is the gift of God? Salvation...by grace through faith and not from yourselves, not by works.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Scripture is clear that people have the responsibility to believe in Christ. It never says that God believes for us or gives us faith. Salvation is God's gracious gift that He gives to those who believe in Christ and it can't be earned by one's own righteousness.

BroRog
Oct 4th 2010, 06:55 PM
No, that's not what he's saying. Look at it this way. What is by grace? Salvation. What is through faith? Salvation. What is not from yourselves, that is, not by our own works? Salvation. What is the gift of God? Salvation...by grace through faith and not from yourselves, not by works.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Scripture is clear that people have the responsibility to believe in Christ. It never says that God believes for us or gives us faith. Salvation is God's gracious gift that He gives to those who believe in Christ and it can't be earned by one's own righteousness.I agree with all of that. But I wonder if we can find out from scripture whether faith is intrinsic to salvation or extrinsic to it? I mean, don't we read passages that seem to imply that faith itself is intrinsic to salvation? Can we say for certain that faith is something external or independant of salvation -- a thing in itself of which salvation is like an olympic medal given to an athlete at the end of the contest?

John146
Oct 4th 2010, 07:29 PM
I agree with all of that. But I wonder if we can find out from scripture whether faith is intrinsic to salvation or extrinsic to it? I mean, don't we read passages that seem to imply that faith itself is intrinsic to salvation?Such as?


Can we say for certain that faith is something external or independant of salvation -- a thing in itself of which salvation is like an olympic medal given to an athlete at the end of the contest?There is plenty of scripture that indicates that a person believes and is saved as a result of believing. Here are just a few examples:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Acts 16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

In each of these cases it's explained that believing and having faith is something that someone must do in order to obtain salvation. Faith is not something that's given upon being saved but rather something that someone does and becomes saved as a result.

BroRog
Oct 4th 2010, 07:55 PM
Such as?Well, given that faith is more than giving mental assent to the tenets of the gospel, then if faith were intrinsic to salvation, we would expect to find passages in which salvation was described as the removal of the barriers to faith. Before I suggest some passages, do you accept the notion that there are barriers to faith as a general principle?


There is plenty of scripture that indicates that a person believes and is saved as a result of believing. Here are just a few examples:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.Does this actually describe cause and effect? Or does it simply state a correlation between belief and everlasting life?


Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. In this passage, Paul seems to associate confession with an inner disposition of the heart. Do we have any control over this disposition? Or is this disposition out of our reach?



Acts 16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

In each of these cases it's explained that believing and having faith is something that someone must do in order to obtain salvation. Faith is not something that's given upon being saved but rather something that someone does and becomes saved as a result.Okay, I agree with that. But this is true whether faith is intrinsic or extrinsic to salvation. Faith can be seen as intrinsic to salvation if salvation is seen in terms of a process or a journey God is taking us through.

Given that faith is putting one's confidence in both Jesus and what he taught, and given that confidence will grow each time faith is put to the test, isn't increased faith the result of God's coaching? And if so, isn't this coaching, instructing, teaching, in order to move us toward a state of maturity a gift of his grace?

John146
Oct 4th 2010, 08:07 PM
Well, given that faith is more than giving mental assent to the tenets of the gospel, then if faith were intrinsic to salvation, we would expect to find passages in which salvation was described as the removal of the barriers to faith. Before I suggest some passages, do you accept the notion that there are barriers to faith as a general principle?You're being kind of vague here, but I would say, yes, there are barriers to faith. Feel free to make whatever point you want to make and I'll "listen".


Does this actually describe cause and effect? Or does it simply state a correlation between belief and everlasting life? I obviously believe it describes cause and effect or else I wouldn't have included it as an example of such, right? ;)


In this passage, Paul seems to associate confession with an inner disposition of the heart. Do we have any control over this disposition? Or is this disposition out of our reach?Sure, we have control over it. Why not? He's speaking of confessing and believing as an action that a person is doing. He gives no hint there that God does the confessing and believing for us and instead indicates that it's something we must do.


Okay, I agree with that. But this is true whether faith is intrinsic or extrinsic to salvation. Faith can be seen as intrinsic to salvation if salvation is seen in terms of a process or a journey God is taking us through.

Given that faith is putting one's confidence in both Jesus and what he taught, and given that confidence will grow each time faith is put to the test, isn't increased faith the result of God's coaching?There's no guarantee that our faith will grow when we're tested. Just as it is our choice to believe in the first place it is our choice of how to respond when our faith is tested.

percho
Oct 4th 2010, 08:13 PM
The context is the salvation of the soul, and what is a gift is the salvation, the grace that came from God. It is simply there to show that YOU CAN'T get to heaven through anything YOU do, but God has done it all for you, giving it to you like it is a present.

if YOU do something?

jandl
Oct 4th 2010, 08:20 PM
if YOU do something?

like simply crying out to God, "Be merciful to me a sinner," and believing the gospel. Yes.

percho
Oct 4th 2010, 09:27 PM
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
What do we hope for but have not yet seen?
Who has?
Hebrews 2:10 and 5:9 For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.( death and resurrection) And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Hebrews 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. Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Bandit
Oct 4th 2010, 09:39 PM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?

So what is your opinion of the answers offered so far?

BroRog
Oct 4th 2010, 10:12 PM
You're being kind of vague here, but I would say, yes, there are barriers to faith. Feel free to make whatever point you want to make and I'll "listen".Well, there are tons of passages that speak about barriers to faith if we know what we are looking for.

For instance, Jesus says in Luke 12:15.



Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

It's so easy to fall into the trap, thinking that if I only had more money I wouldn't have a care in the world and I could relax. It's difficult for a rich man to see this, because, let's face it, a rich man can actually say this. He can actually live life without a care in the world and take it easy if he wants. For him, life IS to be found in possessions, and it's easy to think that once we reach a certain level of wealth, we can deal with any crisis.

Greed is a barrier to faith. Another barrier to faith is worry.

Luke again,



And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?"

As Jackson Brown writes, we are "caught, between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender." We spend a lot of our time working for food, clothing, and shelter and often miss other, more important things in life. It's not as if food, clothing, and shelter aren't important. They are, but maybe sharing the things we know and love with those of our kind really is the essence of true love as Donald Fagan writes. There has to be something other than getting up, going to work, coming home, going to bed, and getting up to start the whole thing over again. But we worry, because we think our existence is in our hands. Sure, God takes care of the Ravens but surely he has left me to do it. Right? Okay but where does worry come from?

So greed, and worry are barriers to faith. But so is seeking glory from men. John writes,



I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? (John 5:41-44)

That's a good question, and for the honest among us, it isn't easy to answer. How CAN you believe? James says that a "double minded man is unstable in all his ways." How can a man who seeks the glory of other men, believe that Jesus isn't doing the same thing? And aren't I guilty of seeking glory from other men? Am I not tempted to seek the approval of others? Don't I want accolates and honor and respect? And do I want these more than I want Christ? It's hard, and very challenging.

We could multiply examples until we reach the conclusion that it is a miracle that any of us has genuine, unadulterated, pure, faith in God. It's a wonder when any of us believe, and it's astonishing that God is able to get any of us to trust him, given we have so many other voices pulling us different directions.


I obviously believe it describes cause and effect or else I wouldn't have included it as an example of such, right? ;)Sure. Okay. But is it necessarily so. That's my question.


Sure, we have control over it. Why not? He's speaking of confessing and believing as an action that a person is doing. He gives no hint there that God does the confessing and believing for us and instead indicates that it's something we must do.But confession isn't simply a matter of mouthing the words. Along with repentance and remorse, confession puts us in contact with the eternal, which according to Solomon God has placed in our hearts. And unlike other things which "have their time" as Solomon says, the time for confession, remorse, repentance is always here. Confession isn't something that has it's time, something we say today and forget tomorrow. There will never be a day when it can be said, "confession has had it's time."


There's no guarantee that our faith will grow when we're tested. Just as it is our choice to believe in the first place it is our choice of how to respond when our faith is tested.We are talking about growth in the context of God's role as our coach, our teacher, our trainer. Paul says that the Spirit intercedes on our behalf. And elsewhere it is said that God disciplines (not punishes) those whom he loves. If God is for us, who is against us? Growth and maturity is indeed guaranteed if God directs our training and monitors our growth and causes all things to work to our good.

This too is a gift.

Sirus
Oct 4th 2010, 11:48 PM
This faith is a gift from God.

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

If it was a common faith that all have, then all have at least the faith as a mustard seed, and all can say to the "mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you"

Luke 18:7 And God, shall He not execute justice for His own elect, who cry out day and night to Him, and yet He is patient with them?
Luke 18:8 I tell you that He will execute justice for them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"

If it was a common faith that all have, then most surely 'when the Son of Man comes, He will really find faith on the earth'I agree. He most assuredly will find faith when He returns. Pretty much a given. Oh, and Luk 17 has nothing to do with salvation. Context always helps in interpretation. There's no 'ifs' here. In fact, even in your example they said increase it, they did not say give it!

Butch5
Oct 5th 2010, 02:09 AM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?

The gift is salvation in that passage.

Sojourner
Oct 5th 2010, 05:06 AM
Good feedback, guys. I guess what prompted my question was the core issue in that verse: Paul is stating emphatically that we can claim no credit for being saved: that it's all provided strictly by God.

Yet, it's possible that some individuals might be inclined to feel that their "remarkable" faith had as much to do with being saved as God's grace. And that could open the door to the boasting Paul refers to. (Who knows, he may have even had an individual in mind when he put that in the letter).

I think there might be some merit to the idea that Paul is saying, "You're saved by grace, through faith; and even that is the gift of God, so that no man can say he contributed to his salvation. Consider another statement by Paul that seems to convey that same idea:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.(Romans 12:3)

(BTW, with regard to this matter having a possible impact on free will, I don't believe God deliberately selects some for eternal damnation by withholding faith from them, in case anyone thought that's where I was going with this. I believe what Peter said about God being patient because He doesn't want anyone to perish).

RogerW
Oct 5th 2010, 01:49 PM
Thanks. But I hope you see that if I am right, we can't use these two verses as a proof text for the idea that "faith" is a gift from God. It might be true. And we might find a passage that makes that point. But I don't think Paul was making a case for monergism here.

I use to believe that "faith" was the gift, but I have come to understand the "gift of God" is salvation...the whole package that is by grace through faith and not of our works, but the work of Christ alone. IOW since the gift of salvation is given by grace through faith, faith then cannot originate from ourselves via free will, else how could it be His free gift via grace? Grace is not grace if it requires man's __??__whatever...yes? If it was our faith and it is most assuredly necessary for salvation, then Paul could not say that salvation is by grace. He would have to say salvation is by grace plus our faith, and it could not be a free gift from God, because something is required (faith) from us to possess it. Anyhow after this convoluted speeel...I believe Paul is making a case for monergistic salvation, but I also agree with you that this is not something that Paul came up with, it came from God!

RogerW
Oct 5th 2010, 01:54 PM
No, that's not what he's saying. Look at it this way. What is by grace? Salvation. What is through faith? Salvation. What is not from yourselves, that is, not by our own works? Salvation. What is the gift of God? Salvation...by grace through faith and not from yourselves, not by works.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Scripture is clear that people have the responsibility to believe in Christ. It never says that God believes for us or gives us faith. Salvation is God's gracious gift that He gives to those who believe in Christ and it can't be earned by one's own righteousness.

If faith comes via free will would not that faith we place in Christ show we are already righteousness? Where did this righteousness come from? How did we obtain it? For Scripture tells us that none are righteous???

Butch5
Oct 5th 2010, 02:08 PM
Good feedback, guys. I guess what prompted my question was the core issue in that verse: Paul is stating emphatically that we can claim no credit for being saved: that it's all provided strictly by God.

Yet, it's possible that some individuals might be inclined to feel that their "remarkable" faith had as much to do with being saved as God's grace. And that could open the door to the boasting Paul refers to. (Who knows, he may have even had an individual in mind when he put that in the letter).

I think there might be some merit to the idea that Paul is saying, "You're saved by grace, through faith; and even that is the gift of God, so that no man can say he contributed to his salvation. Consider another statement by Paul that seems to convey that same idea:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.(Romans 12:3)

(BTW, with regard to this matter having a possible impact on free will, I don't believe God deliberately selects some for eternal damnation by withholding faith from them, in case anyone thought that's where I was going with this. I believe what Peter said about God being patient because He doesn't want anyone to perish).

No, that is "NOT" what Paul is stating. Paul is arguing that one is not saved by the works of the Mosaic Law, but by the grace of God. He argues in Galatians that the promise to Abraham, which was through faith came 430 years before the Mosaic Law, therefore the promises will be obtained through faith and not by the works of the Mosaic Law. If Paul had argued that salvation was strictly from God and that man played no role in it then he would have contradicted himself in Romans 2.


Romans 2:5-10 ( KJV )
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

Paul says that by continuance in well doing they are seeking eternal life. If man played no part in salvation then all the well doing in the world would not mean anything.

Jemand
Oct 5th 2010, 05:18 PM
No, that is "NOT" what Paul is stating. Paul is arguing that one is not saved by the works of the Mosaic Law, but by the grace of God. He argues in Galatians that the promise to Abraham, which was through faith came 430 years before the Mosaic Law, therefore the promises will be obtained through faith and not by the works of the Mosaic Law. If Paul had argued that salvation was strictly from God and that man played no role in it then he would have contradicted himself in Romans 2.


Romans 2:5-10 ( KJV )
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

Paul says that by continuance in well doing they are seeking eternal life. If man played no part in salvation then all the well doing in the world would not mean anything.

Amen!

One of the first Bible passages that I memorized as a young Christian was Ephesians 2:8-9 in the King James Version,

8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

I heard and read this passage being quoted very many times and frequently quoted it myself when witnessing to non-Christians. I thought that I understood it just fine until I began studying the Apostle Paul, his missionary journeys, the messages that he preached, and his epistles.* Then I became more and more familiar with Paul and his goals and objectives as the Apostle to the Gentiles and the obstacles that he encountered and dealt with.

Circumcision was a very important part of the Old Testament covenant of Law that in the Jewish mind separated Jews from Gentiles. The earliest Christians were all Jews and Christianity was understood by them to be a sect of Judaism. Therefore it was very difficult for them to accept the idea that an uncircumcised Gentile could be a Christian no matter how much he believed in Jesus. Explaining this mystery to both the Jews and Gentiles was one of Paul’s major goals and objectives, and hence a major theme in his Epistles to the Romans, the Galatians, and the Ephesians.

When Paul wrote of “works” that he contrasted with grace and faith, he was always referring to the works of the Law, that is, the Old Testament covenant of Law as opposed to the New Testament covenant of grace:

Gal. 2:16. nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

Gal. 3:2. This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
3. Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
4. Did you suffer so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain?
5. So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

Gal. 3:9. So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
10. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM."

Rom. 2:4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5. but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6. who will render to every man according to his works: (ASV)

Rom. 3:27. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.
28. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

And compare the following:

Gal. 2:21. "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

Gal. 5:4. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Gal. 5:11. But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.

Gal. 6:12. Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
13. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.
14. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
15. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

Rom. 9:30. What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;
31. but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.
32. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,
33. just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”


Therefore, the “works” that he wrote of in Eph. 2:9 were not the “good works” that Jesus taught one must perform to be justified and saved (Matt. 16:27, 25:34-46; Mark 10:17-30; Luke 10:25-37; John 5:28-29) or the good works that James taught one must perform to be justified and saved (James 2:14-26) or the good works that we read of in the faith chapter in the New Testament (Heb. 11), but works of the Law and circumcision in particular. (continued in the following post)

Jemand
Oct 5th 2010, 05:27 PM
(Continued from my post above)

James, in his epistle, approached the matter from a very different perspective; that is, he vigorously taught that works are essential for ones justification and salvation, but he was not writing of circumcision or any other work of the Law, but exclusively the good works that Jesus commands us to perform.

When we carefully read Eph. 2:8-9 in the context of 8-16 (see below), we see (especially in verse 11, but also in the context), that Paul is explaining to the Christians in Ephesus that a Gentile could become a Christian without keeping the Law, specifically without being circumcised.

Ephesians 2:8. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9. not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
11. Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so- called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—
12. remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
15. by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
16. and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

When Eph. 2:8-9 is read apart from both the literary and historical context in which it was originally written, it can appear to teach precisely the opposite of what Jesus and James taught—a doctrine that was entirely foreign to the teaching of Paul and a doctrine that has nothing at all to do with Paul’s goal and objective of explaining to both the Jews and Gentiles the mystery that a Gentile could become a Christian without keeping the Law, specifically without being circumcised. (Paul used the word “circumcision”—in our English translations—30 times in 26 verses, and the word “circumcised” 11 times in 9 verses).

We read in the New Testament that both the grace by which we are saved and the faith through which we are saved are gifts from God, but in order to be saved, we must allow both the grace and the faith to work in our lives, and that includes performing the works that Jesus and His brother James taught we must perform to be justified and saved.

The grace of God is the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him. It is grace because the action is wholly voluntary and without any obligation on the part of God, and is freely given to us through the faith that He also gives to us. An integral part of that faith is our volitional obedience to Christ as we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. That obedience includes the performance of the good works that He commands us to perform.

(All Scripture quotations are from the NASB, 1995, unless otherwise noted)

*Although many scholars today believe that Paul did not write the Epistle to the Ephesians, I believe that he did.

Jemand
Oct 5th 2010, 05:47 PM
If faith comes via free will would not that faith we place in Christ show we are already righteousness?

No. Mormons, JW's, etc., etc., have faith, but having faith does not mean that they were righteous when they first had faith. Having faith in the supernatural is one of the qualities that separate human beings from mere animals. All human beings have been given faith by God—those who choose to exercise that faith in a belief in Christ as the Son of God are saved; those who do not so choose are not saved.

John146
Oct 5th 2010, 09:08 PM
Well, there are tons of passages that speak about barriers to faith if we know what we are looking for.

For instance, Jesus says in Luke 12:15.



Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

It's so easy to fall into the trap, thinking that if I only had more money I wouldn't have a care in the world and I could relax. It's difficult for a rich man to see this, because, let's face it, a rich man can actually say this. He can actually live life without a care in the world and take it easy if he wants. For him, life IS to be found in possessions, and it's easy to think that once we reach a certain level of wealth, we can deal with any crisis.

Greed is a barrier to faith. Another barrier to faith is worry.

Luke again,



And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?"

As Jackson Brown writes, we are "caught, between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender." We spend a lot of our time working for food, clothing, and shelter and often miss other, more important things in life. It's not as if food, clothing, and shelter aren't important. They are, but maybe sharing the things we know and love with those of our kind really is the essence of true love as Donald Fagan writes. There has to be something other than getting up, going to work, coming home, going to bed, and getting up to start the whole thing over again. But we worry, because we think our existence is in our hands. Sure, God takes care of the Ravens but surely he has left me to do it. Right? Okay but where does worry come from?

So greed, and worry are barriers to faith. But so is seeking glory from men. John writes,



I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? (John 5:41-44)

That's a good question, and for the honest among us, it isn't easy to answer. How CAN you believe? James says that a "double minded man is unstable in all his ways." How can a man who seeks the glory of other men, believe that Jesus isn't doing the same thing? And aren't I guilty of seeking glory from other men? Am I not tempted to seek the approval of others? Don't I want accolates and honor and respect? And do I want these more than I want Christ? It's hard, and very challenging.

We could multiply examples until we reach the conclusion that it is a miracle that any of us has genuine, unadulterated, pure, faith in God. It's a wonder when any of us believe, and it's astonishing that God is able to get any of us to trust him, given we have so many other voices pulling us different directions.If God did nothing to lead people to salvation then I agree that it would be a miracle for anyone to believe with all the other things trying to grab our attention. I believe God is easily able to overcome these barriers and present the truth to people but then it is up to each person to decide what to do with the truth once it is presented to them and what to do when they feel their heart being pricked by the Holy Spirit and by the truth they're hearing. They can choose to either embrace it or reject it. We see this in scripture. We see descripitons of people being pricked in their hearts and responding with repentance and faith. We also see people like the Pharisees being pricked in the heart but then responding with anger and unbelief because they didn't want to have to humble themselves and acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior, their Messiah.


Sure. Okay. But is it necessarily so. That's my question. I believe it is because it says the one who believes in Christ will be saved and have eternal life. The believing comes first. We can see that in other verses as well, as I already showed.


But confession isn't simply a matter of mouthing the words. Along with repentance and remorse, confession puts us in contact with the eternal, which according to Solomon God has placed in our hearts. And unlike other things which "have their time" as Solomon says, the time for confession, remorse, repentance is always here. Confession isn't something that has it's time, something we say today and forget tomorrow. There will never be a day when it can be said, "confession has had it's time."Sorry, but I don't know what you're saying here. I'm speaking of the time when a person first makes the decision to repent of their sins and follow Christ. That is something a person chooses to do at a point in time.


We are talking about growth in the context of God's role as our coach, our teacher, our trainer. Paul says that the Spirit intercedes on our behalf. And elsewhere it is said that God disciplines (not punishes) those whom he loves. If God is for us, who is against us? Growth and maturity is indeed guaranteed if God directs our training and monitors our growth and causes all things to work to our good.

This too is a gift.Receiving spiritual gifts from God is guaranteed. All believers have spiritual gifts. The Spirit interceding on our behalf is guaranteed. But our spiritual growth is not. You won't find any scripture to support that claim. It is our responsibility to cooperate with the Holy Spirit if we are to grow in the faith and that is no guarantee. Read 1 Cor 3:1-3 and then try to tell me again that spiritual growth and maturity is guaranteed.

John146
Oct 5th 2010, 09:13 PM
If faith comes via free will would not that faith we place in Christ show we are already righteousness?No. How are you coming to that conclusion? When we place our faith in Christ we are acknowledging that we are NOT righteous and are sinners and need Him to save us and forgive us our sins because we can't do that ourselves.


Where did this righteousness come from? How did we obtain it? For Scripture tells us that none are righteous???All these questions are the result of your mistaken perspective in thinking that someone choosing with their own free will to put their trust in Jesus Christ somehow would require them to be righteous in order to do so. But you have no scripture to support that perspective.

Bladers
Oct 5th 2010, 09:18 PM
No, that's not what he's saying. Look at it this way. What is by grace? Salvation. What is through faith? Salvation. What is not from yourselves, that is, not by our own works? Salvation. What is the gift of God? Salvation...by grace through faith and not from yourselves, not by works.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Scripture is clear that people have the responsibility to believe in Christ. It never says that God believes for us or gives us faith. Salvation is God's gracious gift that He gives to those who believe in Christ and it can't be earned by one's own righteousness.

BINGO!

/end thread :spin:

percho
Oct 5th 2010, 10:12 PM
Does this, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; mean this, by grace through faith?
I believe it does however I'll have give it some thought.
If faith is the substance of things hoped for, which it is, what does that say about this Christ in you the hope of glory? Compared to my previous post.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
What do we hope for but have not yet seen?
Who has?
Hebrews 2:10 and 5:9 For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.( death and resurrection) And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Hebrews 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. Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Is not Christ in us not the gift of the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Butch5
Oct 5th 2010, 11:24 PM
(Continued from my post above)

James, in his epistle, approached the matter from a very different perspective; that is, he vigorously taught that works are essential for ones justification and salvation, but he was not writing of circumcision or any other work of the Law, but exclusively the good works that Jesus commands us to perform.

When we carefully read Eph. 2:8-9 in the context of 8-16 (see below), we see (especially in verse 11, but also in the context), that Paul is explaining to the Christians in Ephesus that a Gentile could become a Christian without keeping the Law, specifically without being circumcised.

Ephesians 2:8. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9. not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
11. Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so- called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—
12. remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
15. by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
16. and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

When Eph. 2:8-9 is read apart from both the literary and historical context in which it was originally written, it can appear to teach precisely the opposite of what Jesus and James taught—a doctrine that was entirely foreign to the teaching of Paul and a doctrine that has nothing at all to do with Paul’s goal and objective of explaining to both the Jews and Gentiles the mystery that a Gentile could become a Christian without keeping the Law, specifically without being circumcised. (Paul used the word “circumcision”—in our English translations—30 times in 26 verses, and the word “circumcised” 11 times in 9 verses).

We read in the New Testament that both the grace by which we are saved and the faith through which we are saved are gifts from God, but in order to be saved, we must allow both the grace and the faith to work in our lives, and that includes performing the works that Jesus and His brother James taught we must perform to be justified and saved.

The grace of God is the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him. It is grace because the action is wholly voluntary and without any obligation on the part of God, and is freely given to us through the faith that He also gives to us. An integral part of that faith is our volitional obedience to Christ as we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. That obedience includes the performance of the good works that He commands us to perform.

(All Scripture quotations are from the NASB, 1995, unless otherwise noted)

*Although many scholars today believe that Paul did not write the Epistle to the Ephesians, I believe that he did.

Amen, my friend, this is one of the best posts I have seen, period. Well said and well written. We see in Acts the issue that Paul had with the Judaizers and their trying to make his converts get circumcised. Again, well said.

Caleb
Oct 5th 2010, 11:51 PM
No, that is "NOT" what Paul is stating. Paul is arguing that one is not saved by the works of the Mosaic Law, but by the grace of God. He argues in Galatians that the promise to Abraham, which was through faith came 430 years before the Mosaic Law, therefore the promises will be obtained through faith and not by the works of the Mosaic Law. If Paul had argued that salvation was strictly from God and that man played no role in it then he would have contradicted himself in Romans 2.


Romans 2:5-10 ( KJV )
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

Paul says that by continuance in well doing they are seeking eternal life. If man played no part in salvation then all the well doing in the world would not mean anything.

"If Paul had argued that salvation was strictly from God and that man played no role in it then he would have contradicted himself in Romans 2"

Chafer points out that about 150 passages in the NT condition salvation solely on faith or believing. No one passage, when rightly understood, can contradict such overwhelming testimony.

RogerW
Oct 6th 2010, 12:49 AM
Receiving spiritual gifts from God is guaranteed. All believers have spiritual gifts. The Spirit interceding on our behalf is guaranteed. But our spiritual growth is not. You won't find any scripture to support that claim. It is our responsibility to cooperate with the Holy Spirit if we are to grow in the faith and that is no guarantee. Read 1 Cor 3:1-3 and then try to tell me again that spiritual growth and maturity is guaranteed.

I know you're addressing BroRog here, but you raise a point I would like you to comment on. You said, "all believers have spiritual gifts"...faith is one of the gifts of the Spirit. How can a man in unbelief possess faith unless he receives it from the Spirit in him?

Ga*5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Ga*5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Sirus
Oct 6th 2010, 01:08 AM
If Paul had argued that salvation was strictly from God and that man played no role in it then he would have contradicted himself in Romans 2.From Adam to this day those that obey His law apart from the gospel do so because of the ability of faith God gave all men. Just as those the Father gave to Jesus and the righteous in Israel etc....in Jesus' day.
Paul was not saying those described in Romans 2 did what they did w/o faith. That's an impossible claim. Enoch, Noah, Abraham all had faith in God and obeyed because of it. Faith is not a new concept born in the NT.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel of Christ now. Before, it was revealed otherwise. From Rom 1:18 through 2:16, Paul is talking about all men. All men were given the ability of faith and the law/knowledge of God/truth to obey. Man has to place his God given faith in God.

RogerW
Oct 6th 2010, 01:11 AM
"If Paul had argued that salvation was strictly from God and that man played no role in it then he would have contradicted himself in Romans 2"

Chafer points out that about 150 passages in the NT condition salvation solely on faith or believing. No one passage, when rightly understood, can contradict such overwhelming testimony.

Exactly Caleb! Consider also...

Ro*4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Ro*4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

This passage says basically the same thing as Eph 2:8 "faith is by grace". But this passage adds a bit more, telling us that God quickens the dead and calls those which are not as though they were. How is God giving life to the dead as it says also in Eph 2:1 if we already have faith before regeneration?

Paul is not arguing here against salvation by works of the Mosaic law, because Abraham did not keep the law of Moses. So Paul is telling us that Abraham believed by grace and that of faith, apart from his own righteousness or natural faith.

percho
Oct 6th 2010, 03:59 AM
The author and finisher (perfecter) of the faith.
What does this mean? How and when or when and how?

Sirus
Oct 6th 2010, 04:52 AM
The author and finisher (perfecter) of the faith.
What does this mean? How and when or when and how?This is Christianity (the --our-- faith), not some gift of faith you were personally given for salvation.
author -prince -captain
finish/er -complete
...Salvation
When and how? The cross. Believe or don't. Look at the context! Has nothing to do with what you are given for salvation and is done in you. Has everything to do with what Jesus completed for you 2000 years ago. It is finished. It's sad to think that is not enough. That people think what Jesus did 2000 years ago has to be competed in our experience by things we do.

Sojourner
Oct 6th 2010, 06:43 AM
How should the following verse be interpreted?

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

Lily
Oct 6th 2010, 07:05 AM
This is Christianity (the --our-- faith), not some gift of faith you were personally given for salvation.
author -prince -captain
finish/er -complete
...Salvation
When and how? The cross. Believe or don't. Look at the context! Has nothing to do with what you are given for salvation and is done in you. Has everything to do with what Jesus completed for you 2000 years ago. It is finished. It's sad to think that is not enough. That people think what Jesus did 2000 years ago has to be competed in our experience by things we do.


Exactly. Jesus ultimately defines our faith - what we have faith in, what our faith is based on. By him we know that God loves us and that He is righteous, just, and merciful all at once.

My 2 cents in regards to the OP:

In a nutshell, the following is what I believe concerning faith and free will vs. Predestination. I lean heavily on the free-will side in these discussions because I personally believe that predestination without free-will is contrary to God's character. Not that I don't see predestination and election in God's word, too. It's there. Both are true. He is eternal, and knows us before He forms us in the womb. He knows those of us who are His in Christ (and those who are not), and He uses that knowledge in the working of all things, and for special purposes. But, I don't pretend to understand it all, nor do I think it's even productive to spend too much time trying to. Like David, I think we need to humble ourselves and admit that some things are to profound for us to understand (Psalms 131). But, we know He is righteous and just and merciful, and many other wonderful things. And we know it because He gave us Jesus, his only begotten Son, and because of what Jesus accomplished for us out of love for us and the Father. It is what we have faith in!


Romans 10: 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

If God doesn't speak there is nothing to hear. If we hear nothing, there is nothing to have faith in.


18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
Had the Jews heard? Paul says they certainly had.


19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.21 But to Israel he saith, All day (http://bibledatabase.org/cgi-bin/bib_search/bible.cgi#) long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

Still they're disobedient. They won't come to the light because their deeds are evil. Eventually their hearts are darkened and they become blind, but God uses it to their advantage and ours.

And later:


23 ... if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.


Sounds very much to me like it's on them. They have the ability to believe. But it's not certain that they will. It's a "whosoever" will.

Here it is again in Isaiah:


Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.


Here we have God speaking again and telling them exactly how it is... repent... rest quietly, faithfully, with confidence... They heard and they refused.They would not. It's not that God didn't give them the faith, it's that they would not.

But He loves them and He is patient and merciful and says:


Isaiah 30:18 And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
"Blessed are all they that wait for Him." Does God blind people (keeping them from faith) and then bless them for waiting (in faith) after He gives them the faith to? Or or is it much rather as it appears, that he blesses them for waiting of their own volition?



19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.


When we speak, He listens to us, too. And He answers.

Notice, too, in verse 18 that God doesn't exalt Himself to glorigy Himself for the sake of glorifying Himself (God is love - and love is not self-seeking), He exalts himself so that he can demonstrate His mercy for us, yes? Same thing in the story of Job. God allows satan to test Job, and though Job says he trusts in God (and he does, but his faith wanes), he eventually whines and complains and questions God like the kids in the wilderness. God finally speaks, Job hears and repents (apparently of his own volition - if God had been allowing satan to test Job, giving Job faith would have defeated the purpose!), and God is able to demonstrate his mercifulness. I mention this because it always comes up in these discussions ... "who art thou that repliest against God (like Job did)? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?" Paul doesn't even answer the question directly when he asks it in his letter to the Romans because it's silly - a question only those ignorant of God's righteousness would ask. God's moral charachter would not allow Him to hurt anyone arbitrarily. Will He allow us to suffer to bring about some good, though? Yes, and that is no more than He himself has done for us. God used wicked Gentile Pharaoh to exhalt himself so that He could demonstrate his mercy for "all the world to see." And then, in turn, through the Jews, the gentiles would be blessed and exhalt Him again, so that he could again demonstrate His mercy on the Jewish people. Pharoah was wicked. God was not unjust in his dealings, but even so, it was done for good.



Romans 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Amen! For God so loved the world.

And one of my favorite stories... Ruth:


Ruth 1:6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.

They had heard.

And Ruth had faith:


16 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

Not only did she have faith, she was steadfast in her decision. And so Naomi and she went on in fellowship along the way. Isn't that how it is for us when we finally commit steadfastly to God? Thats when our fellowship with Him through the Holy Spirit really begins. And if you read all of chapter one you will see that there is no indication that God is giving Ruth faith, rather the opposite. It seems He wants her to be sure for herself that that is what she wants.

It is, and eventually she presents herself to her redeemer:


9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. 10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
and is rewarded for her faith:


10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.


Therein is my faith. And if we continue in faith, so shall Jesus redeem us. Because God is faithful.

:hug:

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 03:43 PM
I know you're addressing BroRog here, but you raise a point I would like you to comment on. You said, "all believers have spiritual gifts"...faith is one of the gifts of the Spirit. How can a man in unbelief possess faith unless he receives it from the Spirit in him?

Ga*5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Ga*5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.In order for the fruits of the Spirit to manifest it requires our cooperation with the Spirit, does it not? Of course it does! It never says that the fruits of the Spirit are automatically manifested in a believer's life. The fruits of the Spirit manifest only if the person is submitted to the Holy Spirit, which we know is not automatic or else there would be no warnings about grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit. So, in order for the fruits of the Spirit to manifest requires faith and submission to the Spirit on our part. We can see that is the case by looking at the verses following the two you quoted:

Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Can you see that we have the responsibility to walk in the Spirit rather than being "desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another"? Does it indicate that it's automatic that we walk in the Spirit? Clearly not, right? So, there is responsibility on our part even after we become saved. If we don't fulfill our responsibility then the fruits of the Spirit will not manifest in our lives.

Did you see where I asked BroRog to look at 1 Cor 3:1-3?

1 Cor 3
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Here we can see Paul chastising these immature Christians for behaving carnally. They had faith in Christ and were Christians or else they or else Paul wouldn't have called them "babes in Christ". But the fruits of the Spirit were not manifesting through them because they were being carnal rather than walking in the Spirit. It takes faith to submit to the Holy Spirit, does it not? So, the "faith" that is a fruit of the Spirit is not the faith in Christ that saves us, but is rather related to faithfulness and loyalty towards others. All the other fruits of the Spirit have to do with our behavior towards other people. If we are walking in the Spirit then we will share our joy with others and we will be at peace, be patient, gentle, good, faithful, meek and self-controlled towards others.

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 03:49 PM
Exactly Caleb! Consider also...

Ro*4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Ro*4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

This passage says basically the same thing as Eph 2:8 "faith is by grace".Why did you put "faith is by grace" in quotes as if you were directly quoting from Romans 4:16 and/or Ephesians 2:8? It's not good practice to misquote scripture, Roger. You will not find the statement "faith is by grace" in any translation of Romans 4:16 or Ephesians 2:8 so don't mislead people by acting as if you are quoting directly from scripture.

BroRog
Oct 6th 2010, 04:02 PM
In order for the fruits of the Spirit to manifest it requires our cooperation with the Spirit, does it not? Of course it does! It never says that the fruits of the Spirit are automatically manifested in a believer's life. The fruits of the Spirit manifest only if the person is submitted to the Holy Spirit, which we know is not automatic or else there would be no warnings about grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit. So, in order for the fruits of the Spirit to manifest requires faith and submission to the Spirit on our part. We can see that is the case by looking at the verses following the two you quoted:

Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Can you see that we have the responsibility to walk in the Spirit rather than being "desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another"? Does it indicate that it's automatic that we walk in the Spirit? Clearly not, right? So, there is responsibility on our part even after we become saved. If we don't fulfill our responsibility then the fruits of the Spirit will not manifest in our lives.

Did you see where I asked BroRog to look at 1 Cor 3:1-3?

1 Cor 3
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Here we can see Paul chastising these immature Christians for behaving carnally. They had faith in Christ and were Christians or else they or else Paul wouldn't have called them "babes in Christ". But the fruits of the Spirit were not manifesting through them because they were being carnal rather than walking in the Spirit. It takes faith to submit to the Holy Spirit, does it not? So, the "faith" that is a fruit of the Spirit is not the faith in Christ that saves us, but is rather related to faithfulness and loyalty towards others. All the other fruits of the Spirit have to do with our behavior towards other people. If we are walking in the Spirit then we will share our joy with others and we will be at peace, be patient, gentle, good, faithful, meek and self-controlled towards others.I think you are making a good point and I don't disagree with it. However, I think we will find that the gifts of the spirit and the fruits of the spirit are different things. Faith makes both lists, though I think faith-as-a-gift, and faith-as-a-fruit are different kinds of faith. And I think we have seen a discussion of each type in this thread.

I would love to explore the fruits of the Spirit in terms of "cooperation" and how that might look in practical terms. Maybe I'll start another thread along those lines.

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 04:07 PM
The author and finisher (perfecter) of the faith.
What does this mean? How and when or when and how?The Greek word translated as "Author" in that verse also means "Prince" or "Captain". And the faith is not our faith in Christ but rather a general reference to what we all believe, which is the gospel. He is the Prince and Captain of the gospel of salvation. The way of salvation is through Him (John 14:6). It's not saying He is the one who gives us faith in Himself as some mistakenly believe.

Jesus being the author/captain and finisher/perfecter of the faith should be understood in this sense:

Heb 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

He became the captain of the faith, the gospel of salvation, and perfecter of the faith "through sufferings".

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 04:30 PM
I think you are making a good point and I don't disagree with it. However, I think we will find that the gifts of the spirit and the fruits of the spirit are different things.Yes, they are different things. The gifts of the Spirit are for the purpose of giving each of us the ability to serve a particular role in the church. The fruits of the Spirit are things that show that we have the Holy Spirit in us and make us more Christ-like in our behavior towards others.


Faith makes both lists, though I think faith-as-a-gift, and faith-as-a-fruit are different kinds of faith. And I think we have seen a discussion of each type in this thread. So, what do you believe is the type of faith that is the spiritual gift of faith and what type of faith is that which is a fruit of the Spirit? I already explained what I believe faith as a fruit of the Spirit is, which is not faith in Christ. I don't beleive faith as a gift of the Spirit can be faith in Christ, either, as it is but one in a list of several gifts and no one receives all of the gifts of the Spirit.


I would love to explore the fruits of the Spirit in terms of "cooperation" and how that might look in practical terms. Maybe I'll start another thread along those lines.If you do I'm pretty sure I will participate in it. :)

RogerW
Oct 6th 2010, 04:33 PM
Why did you put "faith is by grace" in quotes as if you were directly quoting from Romans 4:16 and/or Ephesians 2:8? It's not good practice to misquote scripture, Roger. You will not find the statement "faith is by grace" in any translation of Romans 4:16 or Ephesians 2:8 so don't mislead people by acting as if you are quoting directly from scripture.

Eric when we read Ro 4:16 without the addition of the words "it is" and "it might be" the translators added to supposedly help clarify the verse, we find it actually does read "of faith, that by grace." Very close to the wording of Eph 2:8 "by grace are ye saved through faith." When speaking of the gift of eternal life we cannot separate grace from faith, or faith from grace, both are necessay to be saved.

Ro*4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

RogerW
Oct 6th 2010, 04:37 PM
In order for the fruits of the Spirit to manifest it requires our cooperation with the Spirit, does it not? Of course it does! It never says that the fruits of the Spirit are automatically manifested in a believer's life. The fruits of the Spirit manifest only if the person is submitted to the Holy Spirit, which we know is not automatic or else there would be no warnings about grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit. So, in order for the fruits of the Spirit to manifest requires faith and submission to the Spirit on our part. We can see that is the case by looking at the verses following the two you quoted:

Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Can you see that we have the responsibility to walk in the Spirit rather than being "desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another"? Does it indicate that it's automatic that we walk in the Spirit? Clearly not, right? So, there is responsibility on our part even after we become saved. If we don't fulfill our responsibility then the fruits of the Spirit will not manifest in our lives.

Did you see where I asked BroRog to look at 1 Cor 3:1-3?

1 Cor 3
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Here we can see Paul chastising these immature Christians for behaving carnally. They had faith in Christ and were Christians or else they or else Paul wouldn't have called them "babes in Christ". But the fruits of the Spirit were not manifesting through them because they were being carnal rather than walking in the Spirit. It takes faith to submit to the Holy Spirit, does it not? So, the "faith" that is a fruit of the Spirit is not the faith in Christ that saves us, but is rather related to faithfulness and loyalty towards others. All the other fruits of the Spirit have to do with our behavior towards other people. If we are walking in the Spirit then we will share our joy with others and we will be at peace, be patient, gentle, good, faithful, meek and self-controlled towards others.

Eric, I would not disagree with anything you've said here. However I will add, one MUST have the Spirit in order for one to cooperate with the Spirit. Otherwise the "gifts of the Spirit" would not be gifts OF the Spirit. Since faith is listed as one of these gifts, one cannot walk in faith apart from the indwelling Spirit or regeneration.

BroRog
Oct 6th 2010, 05:11 PM
Yes, they are different things. The gifts of the Spirit are for the purpose of giving each of us the ability to serve a particular role in the church. The fruits of the Spirit are things that show that we have the Holy Spirit in us and make us more Christ-like in our behavior towards others.I agree with your definition, and I would just add that the fruits of the spirit describe a fundamental, existential aspect of our humanity. I mean, aspects such as kindness, gentleness, love, come from deep within, from the most essential or most vital part of who we are. True love, for instance, isn't something we can manufacture or put on as a disguise, or follow as a script. It has to be something real, something genuine, something essential to us.


So, what do you believe is the type of faith that is the spiritual gift of faith and what type of faith is that which is a fruit of the Spirit?The spiritual gift of faith, it seems to me, relates to the ability to perform miracles under God's direction. We get a hint of this from Paul's word on the primacy of love,



If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (1Cor. 13:1-2)

Paul associates the spiritual gift of faith with removing mountains, which he contrasts with love, which if a man does the first without having the second, he is nothing.

Following this, he describes love and how love manifests itself and in that description he says that love "rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things." In this we learn that there is a kind of faith that removes mountains, but there is also a kind of faith that rejoices in the truth and believes all things. Paul considers the first apart from love, but he considers the second to be an aspect of love and a rejoicing in the truth.

The fruit of faith, then, must be substantially different than the gift of faith, in so much as a man with the gift of faith is nothing without love, which rejoices with the truth and believes all things. The man with the gift of faith, which will pass away, who does not also have the fruit of faith which will never pass away is empty and nothing.

If there are "fruits" of the spirit, there must also be a "tree" of the spirit in the sense that love, hope, faith, gentleness, kindness etc. must be the consequence of something substantial in the inner man of the one who loves, hopes, etc. So, in some sense, these qualities of the spirit are characteristics of the man or woman, who is also in cooperation with the Holy Spirit who dwells with the believer.

Beautiful Loser
Oct 6th 2010, 05:47 PM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?

A very good verse for a first post. /wave Thank you for the opportunity.

Since I am a little late in the thread I'll give a general response to your original question, instead of a direct response to all that has been written (but it will answer a lot of questions/objections in the thread).


Its a very powerful verse because of the verb tense (perfect) and this leads to strong implications. But all the implications are also backed up by other verses, so it isn't just deduction.


For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph 2:8,9


'You have been saved' is by grace. Once grace is defined as unmeritted favor and this relationship of 'saved' and 'grace' is agreed to, the rest falls into place.

The same phrase 'you have been saved' is through faith. It doesn't say your faith brought you to some point, then the reward of grace apart from the law was bestowed, but it says actually saved through faith.
Since the phrase 'you have been saved' is already by grace, then anything that describes the same phrase must also be by grace.

For example, if you said "By grace, my bill had been paid, through the use of money." then it is obvious the money used was not earned by you; you can't lay a claim to the gathering of the money that was used to clear the debt. The use of money to pay off the debt was the realization of the grace ascribed to the event.

From the relation of words in Eph 2:8 faith is grace actualized in a person or faith is the realization of God's grace to a person.


This same truth is realized twice in the same verse by ascribing to 'you have been saved' the description of 'the gift of God'. Just like above this is powerful because the verb is in the perfect tense. The gift isn't something to be accepted or rejected, opened or left unopened, but rather being already saved, already holding eternal life, the package already opened is ascribed to being the gift. In other words, a person already holding an opened package of eternal life is ascribed as being by grace. Which means seeing the package, accepting the package, and opening the package are all by grace.
For grace not to be applied to the holding of the gift, but only the gift itself, the offering of the gift is the only thing that could be ascribed to grace, but then 'you have been saved' being called the gift couldn't be true.

That is a massive truth, with major implications. Which as I stated at the beginning is not just deduction, but shown in other verses (see below).


... for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." Rom 9:11,12

God's choice isn't based upon any works, rather the works are based upon God's election. In fact God's election isn't based upon anything from a person:

So then it does not depend upon the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. Rom 9:16

This precludes any discussion of grace being just about the works of law, but rather anything stemming from man, which the deductions from Eph 2:8,9 reflect.

You can also see grace described to faith:

And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the bretheren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace. Acts 18:27

And it is also described in action:

A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. Acts 16:14

Other implications of Eph 2:8,9 are that since faith is the realization of God's grace so to is:
Repentance- 2 Tim 2:25 and quite a few OT passages
Fear of God-Jer 32:40
Endurance to the end- Rom 15:5 1 Pet 5:10
Any good work- Php 2:12,13

And as far as the effects on the free will debate, it's just like Jesus' teaching about a tree and its fruit (Luke 6:43-45). A bad tree is free to produce bad fruit and a good tree is free to produce good fruit. But it is impossible for a bad tree to produce good fruit just as it is impossible for a good tree to produce bad fruit. Eph 2:8,9 reflects this truth as all good flows from God.

It boils down to this: Did Jesus come to set up a new standard for anyone who hears to accept or reject? A lower standard than the law, but a new bar to reach for nonetheless.
Or did Jesus come to save those that are already his, given to Him by the Father based on His good pleasure alone?
Verses like those used above as well as Eph 2:8,9 make the former understanding untenable.

[Just because it was already mentioned in this thread, the "whoever" or "whosoever" in John 3:16 isn't a call for anyone and everyone to come to Jesus. It's Jesus making a statement of fact. Whoever believes will in fact have eternal life; those who believe will live. It just sounds like a call for anyone because of the connotations of "whoever" or "whosoever" in English. If it was a statement that anyone can believe then this statement in John could not be true:

Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. ... He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God. John 8:43,47
It was impossible for them to hear the words of Jesus. There was no way they could accept Jesus.]

The thread is starting to go into a different direction (gifts of the Spirit) but I thought I would join in a little late.

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 05:56 PM
Eric when we read Ro 4:16 without the addition of the words "it is" and "it might be" the translators added to supposedly help clarify the verse, we find it actually does read "of faith, that by grace." Very close to the wording of Eph 2:8 "by grace are ye saved through faith." When speaking of the gift of eternal life we cannot separate grace from faith, or faith from grace, both are necessay to be saved.

Ro*4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,Why can't you just acknowledge that you misquoted scripture? Don't put something in quotes such as "faith is by grace" as if you are quoting scripture if no such phrase is found in scripture. That's my point. You interpret the text to mean "faith is by grace" but that's just your interpretation and not what the text actually says. And I disagree with your interpretation. What is "of faith" and "by grace" in Romans 4:16 is the promise that Abraham "should be the heir of the world". The addition of the words "it is" and "it might be" do indeed clarify the verse.

Romans 4
13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 06:01 PM
Eric, I would not disagree with anything you've said here. However I will add, one MUST have the Spirit in order for one to cooperate with the Spirit.One must have the Spirit in order to walk in the Spirit but one does not have to have the Spirit dwelling in them in order to respond to the Spirit's call to repent and believe in Christ. There is simply no scripture that says one must be regenerated before they can put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 06:08 PM
I agree with your definition, and I would just add that the fruits of the spirit describe a fundamental, existential aspect of our humanity. I mean, aspects such as kindness, gentleness, love, come from deep within, from the most essential or most vital part of who we are. True love, for instance, isn't something we can manufacture or put on as a disguise, or follow as a script. It has to be something real, something genuine, something essential to us. I would agree with that. We don't really know what true love is until the Spirit shows us and teaches us what it is. It's a deep, spiritual love rather than just natural.


The spiritual gift of faith, it seems to me, relates to the ability to perform miracles under God's direction. We get a hint of this from Paul's word on the primacy of love,



If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (1Cor. 13:1-2)

Paul associates the spiritual gift of faith with removing mountains, which he contrasts with love, which if a man does the first without having the second, he is nothing.I agree. It's a supernatural faith that goes beyond the faith and trust in Christ as our Lord and Savior that we all have and is something that allows those who have that gift to even do miracles.


Following this, he describes love and how love manifests itself and in that description he says that love "rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things." In this we learn that there is a kind of faith that removes mountains, but there is also a kind of faith that rejoices in the truth and believes all things. Paul considers the first apart from love, but he considers the second to be an aspect of love and a rejoicing in the truth.

The fruit of faith, then, must be substantially different than the gift of faith, in so much as a man with the gift of faith is nothing without love, which rejoices with the truth and believes all things. The man with the gift of faith, which will pass away, who does not also have the fruit of faith which will never pass away is empty and nothing.

If there are "fruits" of the spirit, there must also be a "tree" of the spirit in the sense that love, hope, faith, gentleness, kindness etc. must be the consequence of something substantial in the inner man of the one who loves, hopes, etc. So, in some sense, these qualities of the spirit are characteristics of the man or woman, who is also in cooperation with the Holy Spirit who dwells with the believer.Again, I agree. I think we're on the same page as far as this issue is concerned.

RogerW
Oct 6th 2010, 06:17 PM
One must have the Spirit in order to walk in the Spirit but one does not have to have the Spirit dwelling in them in order to respond to the Spirit's call to repent and believe in Christ. There is simply no scripture that says one must be regenerated before they can put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

But we do find passages that clearly state that one cannot know or enter the kingdom of God unless they are born again of the Spirit! You know which ones I refer to.

percho
Oct 6th 2010, 06:18 PM
Faith [B]is[/B
Does this say that faith is believing in in something or that faith is something.
Are we saved because Jesus died and was raised or we saved because we believe Jesus died and was raised. In Galatians 2:16 if the NKJV is correct over the KJV does this not then say instead of being justified by the faith of Jesus that we are justified because of what we do relative to what Jesus did? We justify ourselves.

I put this together and I believe it to be in context. What say you?

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [the] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 06:25 PM
But we do find passages that clearly state that one cannot know or enter the kingdom of God unless they are born again of the Spirit! You know which ones I refer to.Of course I do, but it's quite a stretch to conclude from John 3:3-5 that one cannot recognize their lost, sinful state and their need to repent and put their trust in Christ for salvation and the forgiveness of their sins without first being born of the Spirit. By doing that you're adding a lot to the text that simply isn't there. Surely, if what you're saying was true you could point to a passage that clearly states that one must be born of the Spirit in order to be able to repent and believe in Christ, so do you know of any such passages?

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 06:34 PM
Faith [B]is[/B
Does this say that faith is believing in in something or that faith is something.
Are we saved because Jesus died and was raised or we saved because we believe Jesus died and was raised.Both. We are saved because Jesus died and was raised and because we believe that He died and was raised. It's His blood that covers our sins and His resurrection that gives us new life, but we have to believe in our hearts that He shed His blood for our sins and was raised from the dead.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

RogerW
Oct 6th 2010, 07:19 PM
Of course I do, but it's quite a stretch to conclude from John 3:3-5 that one cannot recognize their lost, sinful state and their need to repent and put their trust in Christ for salvation and the forgiveness of their sins without first being born of the Spirit.

How does one recognize their lost, sinful state and their need when they are lost?

Isa*53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Lu*19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 08:57 PM
How does one recognize their lost, sinful state and their need when they are lost?

Isa*53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Lu*19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.By hearing the word of God preached.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

This indicates that one can't be expected to believe in Him of whom they have not heard and that in order to hear of Him they need a preacher to preach the gospel to them. So, once they hear the gospel then they should be well aware of their lost, sinful state and their need to repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Christ in order to be saved. How they respond to what they hear is their choice. Those who choose to not believe what they hear won't be able to say on judgment day that they didn't know they were lost and in need of salvation and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ because they'll have been told so.

BroRog
Oct 6th 2010, 09:08 PM
One must have the Spirit in order to walk in the Spirit but one does not have to have the Spirit dwelling in them in order to respond to the Spirit's call to repent and believe in Christ. There is simply no scripture that says one must be regenerated before they can put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.The thing is, I'm not even sure what it would mean to put faith and trust in Jesus Christ with a heart that wasn't regenerate. What would that even look like and what would it mean? If someone could put faith and trust in Jesus Christ without being born again, when why the need for being born again?

John146
Oct 6th 2010, 09:28 PM
The thing is, I'm not even sure what it would mean to put faith and trust in Jesus Christ with a heart that wasn't regenerate. What would that even look like and what would it mean? If someone could put faith and trust in Jesus Christ without being born again, when why the need for being born again?Because without being born again one cannot enter the kingdom of God. I'm confused at your confusion. Tell me why someone needs to be regenerate in order to put their faith and trust in Christ and where does scripture teach that?

BroRog
Oct 6th 2010, 11:08 PM
Because without being born again one cannot enter the kingdom of God. I'm confused at your confusion. Tell me why someone needs to be regenerate in order to put their faith and trust in Christ and where does scripture teach that?We must be born again, because without the inner transformation, reorientation, rebirth, regeneration, the Spirit brings, we will not trust God or follow Jesus.

Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless we are born again, we can't see the kingdom of God. And when he says "see" he means "see my miracles and understand the significance of them, namely, that the kingdom of God has come upon you." Nicodemus tells Jesus that he knows he is from God because of all the miracles that he does. And Jesus points out that the reason why Nicodemus get's it, while some of the other Pharisees don't get it, is because in order for someone to "get it" the Spirit of God has to give that person a rebirth. Without that, we won't get it. We won't understand. We won't want to believe Jesus or follow him.

Lily
Oct 6th 2010, 11:56 PM
We must be born again, because without the inner transformation, reorientation, rebirth, regeneration, the Spirit brings, we will not trust God or follow Jesus.

Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless we are born again, we can't see the kingdom of God. And when he says "see" he means "see my miracles and understand the significance of them, namely, that the kingdom of God has come upon you." Nicodemus tells Jesus that he knows he is from God because of all the miracles that he does. And Jesus points out that the reason why Nicodemus get's it, while some of the other Pharisees don't get it, is because in order for someone to "get it" the Spirit of God has to give that person a rebirth. Without that, we won't get it. We won't understand. We won't want to believe Jesus or follow him.

I actually agree with that. Nicodemus came in the dark of night to the light of Jesus, and I believe Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he was already born again, or else he wouldn't know that Jesus was of God. (See, I do believe in predestination :) ). BUT, I still believe Nicodemus believed and came of his own volition, and that God knew He would. So He spoke to him through Jesus and Nicodemus heard and believed and came to him.

If faith isn't really faith, but God regenerating us at some point in our earthly lives and enabling us to hear and know and walk in the truth, apart from our own volition, then why are the scriptures so adamant about the necessity of faith. Why not just say, "For God so loved the world, that whosoever hears me will know the truth and have eternal life. Why is it always "hear and believe" if they only need to be regenerated and hear?

RogerW
Oct 7th 2010, 12:50 AM
I actually agree with that. Nicodemus came in the dark of night to the light of Jesus, and I believe Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he was already born again, or else he wouldn't know that Jesus was of God. (See, I do believe in predestination :) ). BUT, I still believe Nicodemus believed and came of his own volition, and that God knew He would. So He spoke to him through Jesus and Nicodemus heard and believed and came to him.

If faith isn't really faith, but God regenerating us at some point in our earthly lives and enabling us to hear and know and walk in the truth, apart from our own volition, then why are the scriptures so adamant about the necessity of faith. Why not just say, "For God so loved the world, that whosoever hears me will know the truth and have eternal life. Why is it always "hear and believe" if they only need to be regenerated and hear?

Because even devils hear and believe. This damsel possessed with an unclean spirit heard and believed, she even knew the disciples were showing the way of salvation, but she was not regenerated by the Spirit of God and therefore she remained in unbelief. Why? She had no saving faith, because faith that saves comes according to grace. She heard the gospel, believed what she heard, even acknowledged the disciples were servants of the most high God, yet even after Paul cast out the unclean spirit the damsel was not regenerated, therefore she never received faith by grace unto eternal life in Christ.

Ac*16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
Ac*16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
Ac*16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Without faith it is impossible to please God. But Christ saves to the uttermost those who come to God BY Him.

Sirus
Oct 7th 2010, 01:18 AM
Faith is
Does this say that faith is believing in in something or that faith is something.believing


Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Heb 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. faith is not a thing. It is action. See chapter 11 for a lot of action -substance and evidence- that proved faith.

Sirus
Oct 7th 2010, 01:21 AM
Because even devils hear and believe....they believed what? That there is one God. So what! That won't getcha saved ;)
Context!

BroRog
Oct 7th 2010, 01:58 AM
I actually agree with that. Nicodemus came in the dark of night to the light of Jesus, and I believe Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he was already born again, or else he wouldn't know that Jesus was of God. (See, I do believe in predestination :) ). BUT, I still believe Nicodemus believed and came of his own volition, and that God knew He would. So He spoke to him through Jesus and Nicodemus heard and believed and came to him.

If faith isn't really faith, but God regenerating us at some point in our earthly lives and enabling us to hear and know and walk in the truth, apart from our own volition, then why are the scriptures so adamant about the necessity of faith. Why not just say, "For God so loved the world, that whosoever hears me will know the truth and have eternal life. Why is it always "hear and believe" if they only need to be regenerated and hear?Suppose that God is able to flip a switch inside of a man so that the man, who formally didn't want to believe in Jesus, suddenly wants to believe in Jesus? Either way, the man was doing just what he wants. His choice to have faith in God, since he wants it, is a choice he makes of his own volition, even though God was the "first cause" of his belief since God flipped that internal switch. As far as the man is concerned, the way he experiences it, he simply changed his mind.

Lily
Oct 7th 2010, 12:15 PM
Because even devils hear and believe. This damsel possessed with an unclean spirit heard and believed, she even knew the disciples were showing the way of salvation, but she was not regenerated by the Spirit of God and therefore she remained in unbelief. Why? She had no saving faith, because faith that saves comes according to grace. She heard the gospel, believed what she heard, even acknowledged the disciples were servants of the most high God, yet even after Paul cast out the unclean spirit the damsel was not regenerated, therefore she never received faith by grace unto eternal life in Christ.

Ac*16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
Ac*16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
Ac*16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Without faith it is impossible to please God. But Christ saves to the uttermost those who come to God BY Him.

Thats true, but we're talking about saving faith. The argument is that saving faith is a gift from God, and that seeking Jesus has nothing to do with mans will. Why do so many scriptures stress the importance of faith and believing, if saving faith is a given, and has nothing to do with the will of man? If God gives us that faith then why don't the scriptures just say, all those who hear him and obey (because He is giving them the faith to) will have eternal life?

And look at this in Hebrews 11:


24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.



Was that a choice by his own will, or God making him choose?

And also for consideration:



Luke 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;

23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

They walk with Jesus, but at first they don't see him. They are kept from seeing and knowing him. Until, as he "makes as though he would have gone further" and they ask him to come and stay with him (if any man opens the door, I will come into him and sup with him), and so he does and then because it seems they, apparently of apparently their own will, entreated him, he breaks the bread (giving them the bread of life) and opens their eyes.

He could have openened their eyes as they first started walking, right? But he seems to wait until they demonstrate some desire of their own to know him in asking him to stay with them, doesn't he?

Lily
Oct 7th 2010, 12:23 PM
Suppose that God is able to flip a switch inside of a man so that the man, who formally didn't want to believe in Jesus, suddenly wants to believe in Jesus? Either way, the man was doing just what he wants. His choice to have faith in God, since he wants it, is a choice he makes of his own volition, even though God was the "first cause" of his belief since God flipped that internal switch. As far as the man is concerned, the way he experiences it, he simply changed his mind.

I see what you're saying, and agree to a point, but still I think there is something God knows about us already, and that we would want to believe already (not only because we've been in Christ for eternity, but that we would desire it, just as some angels desire to reside with God and some don't), and so he "flips the switch" and we are able to.

Have to go to work, be back later this evening. I appreciate the discussion. Hope you all have a blessed day!

John146
Oct 7th 2010, 04:20 PM
We must be born again, because without the inner transformation, reorientation, rebirth, regeneration, the Spirit brings, we will not trust God or follow Jesus. Where does scripture teach that?


Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless we are born again, we can't see the kingdom of God. And when he says "see" he means "see my miracles and understand the significance of them, namely, that the kingdom of God has come upon you." Nicodemus tells Jesus that he knows he is from God because of all the miracles that he does. And Jesus points out that the reason why Nicodemus get's it, while some of the other Pharisees don't get it, is because in order for someone to "get it" the Spirit of God has to give that person a rebirth. Without that, we won't get it. We won't understand. We won't want to believe Jesus or follow him.I think you're reading things into the text that aren't there. In John 3:3 He's saying basically the same thing He said in John 3:5. In order to become part of the kingdom of God one must be born again. There's no basis for reading any more into it than that.

He's not saying that one has to be born again in order to be able to recognize and acknowledge that they are a sinner and need to believe in Christ in order to be saved and have their sins forgiven. Surely, if that's what He was saying you'd have more than just John 3:3 to back up that belief. So, do you? Show me the scripture that says one must be regenerated before they can understand that they are a sinner and need to repent and put their faith in Christ in order to be saved and have their sins forgiven?

RogerW
Oct 7th 2010, 04:24 PM
Suppose that God is able to flip a switch inside of a man so that the man, who formally didn't want to believe in Jesus, suddenly wants to believe in Jesus? Either way, the man was doing just what he wants. His choice to have faith in God, since he wants it, is a choice he makes of his own volition, even though God was the "first cause" of his belief since God flipped that internal switch. As far as the man is concerned, the way he experiences it, he simply changed his mind.

This is a very good way to explain it! Simple yet profound...thank you BroRog

BroRog
Oct 7th 2010, 05:02 PM
Where does scripture teach that?

I think you're reading things into the text that aren't there. In John 3:3 He's saying basically the same thing He said in John 3:5. In order to become part of the kingdom of God one must be born again. There's no basis for reading any more into it than that.

He's not saying that one has to be born again in order to be able to recognize and acknowledge that they are a sinner and need to believe in Christ in order to be saved and have their sins forgiven. Surely, if that's what He was saying you'd have more than just John 3:3 to back up that belief. So, do you? Show me the scripture that says one must be regenerated before they can understand that they are a sinner and need to repent and put their faith in Christ in order to be saved and have their sins forgiven?Everything you say that Jesus is not saying in John 3, I believe he is saying. You say that being born again is not being given the ability to recognize and acknowledge a need for a savior, and I think Jesus is teaching that very thing. So I have no confidence that if I took you to other passages that you would hear them they way I hear them either. I know this seems like a lame answer, but I am flabbergasted and deflated by the apparent disconnect you see between entering the kingdom of God and acknowleding the need for a savior. I don't see how anyone might enter the kingdom of God under the delusion that he or she doesn't need a savior.

Nonetheless, I don't think Jesus is telling Nicodemus how to enter the kingdom of God. As I read the passage, He is explaining why Nicodemus was able to associate Jesus' miracles with his being from God.



Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.
We miss the significance of this statement if we hear it from our point of view as Christians. We already know the outcome of the story. We already know and believe that Jesus was from God. And as such, we will have a tendency to say, "duh, of course Jesus is from God. Who doesn't know that?" But in order to get the impact of what this means to Nicodemus, we must put ourselves in his shoes.

He is a Pharisee coming to Jesus at night, presumably because a faction of the Pharisees are beginning to believe in Jesus. Not all of the Pharisees are the bad guys who refuse to acknowledge that Jesus is from God. Some of them are beginning to believe in him.

Jesus responds, "I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." This might be a reply that has no relevance to what preceded it, but I think it does. He offers this as an explanation for why Nicodemus was able to acknowledge that Jesus came from God, while other Pharisees have not. Nicodemus is able to say, "you have come from God" because Nicodemus has been born again, or born from above.

The Greek phrase is "gennethei anothen:born from above" in which the word "anothen" is being used with the same connotation here.

Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has [the] greater sin."

Nicodemus has been given a new birth from God himself which has allowed Nicodemus to see that Jesus is, indeed, from God. Had Nicodemus not had this experience, he would be like the other Pharisees who believed that Jesus was from Satan, and a blasphemer. The reason why you, Nicodemus, get this, is because God has giving you a new spiritual birth. You have been born of the spirit.

This idea is compatible with other things Jesus says about the relationship between our belief that Jesus is the Christ and God's work from above. Another example comes from Matthew's gospel.



Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 16:16-17

Here again, we see a supernatural explanation given for why a man, specifically Peter, is able to make the confession that Jesus is the Christ. When he says that the Father revealed it to Peter, he isn't saying that while Jesus was in town buying groceries, the Father came to Peter separately in a dream to say that Jesus is the Christ. The fact is, there was evidence all around Peter that Jesus was the Christ and anyone with the eyes to see it could see it. So, when Jesus says that the Father revealed it to Peter, he is saying that the Father opened Peter's eyes, which allowed Peter to understand and make sense of what his eyes were seeing.

Some people can see with their eyes but not see with their understanding and they can look at all of Jesus' miracles and his acts of kindness and sacrifice and not understand what it all means. The reason why Peter understands is because God opened the eyes of his understanding. Jesus is saying: you get it because the Father let you understand it.

wesand24
Oct 7th 2010, 06:31 PM
Faith is faith. Everyone has the God given ability and everyone exercises it daily, some more than others. The question is, what do we put our God given faith in. He made man in His image with a spirit and soul with the ability of faith for the purpose of knowing Him intimately. Since faith is not a gift from God given at some moment of salvation so that one can believe or have faith in God to be saved, but is part of the very nature and constitution of the created man, the impact on the free will debate is very great but not at all in the sense you are asking. In fact quite the opposite. It is absolute affirmation of free will because it means man has the gift of faith, the ability, to place his faith in not only God but anyone or anything he so chooses.

This is entirely untrue! First of all, only believers have faith (at least the kind of faith that the Bible is talking about). II Thess. 3:2 says, "...for not all have faith." Faith is not something we are born with! Just like a baby doesn't breathe until it enters the world neither does anyone exercise faith until they are born again, for the simple reason that they have none until then. Every breathe that we take is a gift from God and every thing that we need to live life in Him is also a gift, because "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue." II Peter 1:3 Certainly our faith is something that pertains to life and godliness, and no one ever has mustered up faith apart from salvation. Faith is something that is very real, it is useable and has substance according to Paul (God's word). The faith that the world speaks of is shallow and entirely artificial with no substance, and not able to be used.

Butch5
Oct 7th 2010, 09:53 PM
"If Paul had argued that salvation was strictly from God and that man played no role in it then he would have contradicted himself in Romans 2"

Chafer points out that about 150 passages in the NT condition salvation solely on faith or believing. No one passage, when rightly understood, can contradict such overwhelming testimony.

Caleb, I think he needs to reread his Bible then. There is no passage that gives faith as the sole condition for salvation. It is the primary one, coming before others, but not the sole condition.

Butch5
Oct 7th 2010, 09:57 PM
From Adam to this day those that obey His law apart from the gospel do so because of the ability of faith God gave all men. Just as those the Father gave to Jesus and the righteous in Israel etc....in Jesus' day.
Paul was not saying those described in Romans 2 did what they did w/o faith. That's an impossible claim. Enoch, Noah, Abraham all had faith in God and obeyed because of it. Faith is not a new concept born in the NT.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel of Christ now. Before, it was revealed otherwise. From Rom 1:18 through 2:16, Paul is talking about all men. All men were given the ability of faith and the law/knowledge of God/truth to obey. Man has to place his God given faith in God.

I agree, I didn't say Romans two was apart from faith, I said that if faith alone was the only condition then Paul contradicted himself in Romans 2. If faith was the sole condition then any amount of well doing would not be seeking eternal life.

John146
Oct 7th 2010, 10:00 PM
Everything you say that Jesus is not saying in John 3, I believe he is saying. You say that being born again is not being given the ability to recognize and acknowledge a need for a savior, and I think Jesus is teaching that very thing. So I have no confidence that if I took you to other passages that you would hear them they way I hear them either.I don't either, so it's best that way just agree to disagree on our understanding of John 3:3. That doesn't mean we can't still talk about it while respectfully disagreeing, though.


I know this seems like a lame answer, but I am flabbergasted and deflated by the apparent disconnect you see between entering the kingdom of God and acknowleding the need for a savior. I don't see how anyone might enter the kingdom of God under the delusion that he or she doesn't need a savior.I believe that one enters the kingdom of God by way of being born of the Spirit when they acknowledge their need for a Savior and put their faith and trust in Christ. I'm not sure why you would be flabbergasted and deflated by that. But if our discussion is affecting you in that way then maybe we should end it.


Nonetheless, I don't think Jesus is telling Nicodemus how to enter the kingdom of God.I don't know how you come to this conclusion when Jesus specifically says that one must be born of the Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God. The way in which one enters the kingdom of God, which is a spiritual kingdom, is by way of being born of the Spirit.

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.


As I read the passage, He is explaining why Nicodemus was able to associate Jesus' miracles with his being from God.



Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.
We miss the significance of this statement if we hear it from our point of view as Christians. We already know the outcome of the story. We already know and believe that Jesus was from God. And as such, we will have a tendency to say, "duh, of course Jesus is from God. Who doesn't know that?" But in order to get the impact of what this means to Nicodemus, we must put ourselves in his shoes.

He is a Pharisee coming to Jesus at night, presumably because a faction of the Pharisees are beginning to believe in Jesus. Not all of the Pharisees are the bad guys who refuse to acknowledge that Jesus is from God. Some of them are beginning to believe in him.

Jesus responds, "I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." This might be a reply that has no relevance to what preceded it, but I think it does. He offers this as an explanation for why Nicodemus was able to acknowledge that Jesus came from God, while other Pharisees have not. Nicodemus is able to say, "you have come from God" because Nicodemus has been born again, or born from above.

The Greek phrase is "gennethei anothen:born from above" in which the word "anothen" is being used with the same connotation here.

Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has [the] greater sin."

Nicodemus has been given a new birth from God himself which has allowed Nicodemus to see that Jesus is, indeed, from God. Had Nicodemus not had this experience, he would be like the other Pharisees who believed that Jesus was from Satan, and a blasphemer. The reason why you, Nicodemus, get this, is because God has giving you a new spiritual birth. You have been born of the spirit.Thanks for the explanation of why you interpret it as you do, but I simply disagree. I'm not sure how you conclude that Nicodemus was already born from above, of the Spirit, when he didn't even understand what it meant to be born from above. How do you reconcile that? How would someone who was already born of the Spirit not know anything about being born of the Spirit? Even Jesus expressed his amazement that Nicodemus didn't know anything about it.

John 3:9Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

I would say that Nicodemus was not born of the Spirit at the time he was speaking to Jesus in John 3 or else he would have known what it meant to be born of the Spirit, but he didn't. He believed Jesus was sent from God but He did not yet know exactly who Jesus was. He did not yet know Jesus as the Messiah and his personal Lord and Savior. But he did have faith in God and I don't doubt that he was born of the Spirit later because other scripture indicates that he did believe in Jesus (John 7:51, John 19:39-40).


This idea is compatible with other things Jesus says about the relationship between our belief that Jesus is the Christ and God's work from above. Another example comes from Matthew's gospel.



Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 16:16-17

Here again, we see a supernatural explanation given for why a man, specifically Peter, is able to make the confession that Jesus is the Christ. When he says that the Father revealed it to Peter, he isn't saying that while Jesus was in town buying groceries, the Father came to Peter separately in a dream to say that Jesus is the Christ. The fact is, there was evidence all around Peter that Jesus was the Christ and anyone with the eyes to see it could see it. So, when Jesus says that the Father revealed it to Peter, he is saying that the Father opened Peter's eyes, which allowed Peter to understand and make sense of what his eyes were seeing.

Some people can see with their eyes but not see with their understanding and they can look at all of Jesus' miracles and his acts of kindness and sacrifice and not understand what it all means. The reason why Peter understands is because God opened the eyes of his understanding. Jesus is saying: you get it because the Father let you understand it.I don't disagree with any of this, but what you don't seem to be taking into account is that Peter had faith in God and was willing to accept anything the Father would reveal to him. Do you think the Father just randomly chose to reveal Christ to Peter or did He choose to reveal that to Peter because Peter was already someone who believed in God and was teachable and eager to learn from Him and willing to accept whatever He would teach him?

Butch5
Oct 7th 2010, 10:02 PM
Exactly Caleb! Consider also...

Ro*4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Ro*4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

This passage says basically the same thing as Eph 2:8 "faith is by grace". But this passage adds a bit more, telling us that God quickens the dead and calls those which are not as though they were. How is God giving life to the dead as it says also in Eph 2:1 if we already have faith before regeneration?

Paul is not arguing here against salvation by works of the Mosaic law, because Abraham did not keep the law of Moses. So Paul is telling us that Abraham believed by grace and that of faith, apart from his own righteousness or natural faith.

Context Roger, go back and read chapter three and then tell me Paul is not contrasting chapter four with chapter three. His whole point in bringing up Abraham is to show that the works of the Mosaic Law will not justify. Paul uses Abraham as an example, Abraham lived before the Law and he was justified, therefore justification cannot be by the works of the Mosaic Law. We need to read the entire book and keep it in context, this proof texting doesn't do anything but cause confusion.

BroRog
Oct 7th 2010, 11:01 PM
I don't either, so it's best that way just agree to disagree on our understanding of John 3:3. That doesn't mean we can't still talk about it while respectfully disagreeing, though.

I believe that one enters the kingdom of God by way of being born of the Spirit when they acknowledge their need for a Savior and put their faith and trust in Christ. I'm not sure why you would be flabbergasted and deflated by that. But if our discussion is affecting you in that way then maybe we should end it.But I think Jesus is saying more than that. He isn't simply saying that confession and rebirth are coincident. He is saying that confession follows from rebirth because only those with such a birth will make the confession.


I don't know how you come to this conclusion when Jesus specifically says that one must be born of the Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God. The way in which one enters the kingdom of God, which is a spiritual kingdom, is by way of being born of the Spirit.But the "way" isn't an actual road on which we walk. The "way", and "the kingdom" is an internal, inner change of mind and softening of the heart. The life of the belier is one of remorse, repentance, confession: the post cards from eternity that bring us into the present to acknowledge how far we need to go, to face a realistic picture of ourselves, to clarify and purify our motives, to place the kingdom of God and it's king Jesus Christ above all else. Without the birth, real geniune faith is impossible. Without the birth, "faith" is an imposter claiming to be real faith. Without the birth, the confession for the need of a savior is simply a business card or a ticket to a social event.


Thanks for the explanation of why you interpret it as you do, but I simply disagree. I'm not sure how you conclude that Nicodemus was already born from above, of the Spirit, when he didn't even understand what it meant to be born from above. How do you reconcile that? How would someone who was already born of the Spirit not know anything about being born of the Spirit? Even Jesus expressed his amazement that Nicodemus didn't know anything about it.Just because we are ignorant of HOW something happens to us it does not follow from our ignorance that it hasn't, in fact, happened to us. Before germs were discovered, people caught colds all the time without knowing how they got a cold.


I would say that Nicodemus was not born of the Spirit at the time he was speaking to Jesus in John 3 or else he would have known what it meant to be born of the Spirit, but he didn't. He believed Jesus was sent from God but He did not yet know exactly who Jesus was. He did not yet know Jesus as the Messiah and his personal Lord and Savior. But he did have faith in God and I don't doubt that he was born of the Spirit later because other scripture indicates that he did believe in Jesus (John 7:51, John 19:39-40).

The evidence that Nicodemus was born again (even though he didn't know what had happened to him) is the fact that he understood the connection between Jesus' miracles, teaching, acts of kindness, And the idea that Jesus came from God. This is a typical theme in John's gospel. The miracles of Jesus were intended to authenticate his claim to be the messiah, the son of God, the king of Israel. And, Jesus points out, in John's gospel, on many occations and in many ways, just how important the work of the Holy Spirit is in terms of a person's ability to believe that Jesus is the Christ. On some occations Jesus gives the reason why someone can't believe. And on other occations Jesus gives the reason why some are willing to believe, even in the face of stiff opposition.

I think an examination of John's gospel will reveal that a major theme of his gospel -- revealed by what he chooses to put in and what he chooses to leave out, and by the vocabulary he repeats -- is an exploration of the question, "why should you believe?" In his gospel he explores why some seem to believe right away, while others it takes longer, and still others refuse to believe. He talks a lot about the significance of evidence, testimony, witnesses, enlightenment, and things such as this. He wants his readers to believe that Jesus is the Christ, sent from God and he does this through an exploration of the role of both witnesses and spiritual enlightenment.

I would recommend that anyone sit down and read the entire gospel in one sitting, looking for key words like "witness", "testimony", "evidence", "light" and look for Jesus' statements concerning why some people won't believe and why others will.

I don't disagree with any of this, but what you don't seem to be taking into account is that Peter had faith in God and was willing to accept anything the Father would reveal to him. Do you think the Father just randomly chose to reveal Christ to Peter or did He choose to reveal that to Peter because Peter was already someone who believed in God and was teachable and eager to learn from Him and willing to accept whatever He would teach him?[/QUOTE]

Lily
Oct 7th 2010, 11:33 PM
The evidence that Nicodemus was born again (even though he didn't know what had happened to him) is the fact that he understood the connection between Jesus' miracles, teaching, acts of kindness, And the idea that Jesus came from God.


While I agree with all of this, and I agree that Nicodemus was already born again and Jesus was telling him he was (Nicodemus didn't understand simply because it was a foreign concept still.), it still is not evidence of God giving Nicodemus faith. All we know is that Nicodemus had been taking notice of what Jesus was doing and then made a profession of faith. The purpose of John 3, in context, is not to tell us where faith comes from, it is to tell us what the substance of our faith needs to be.

BroRog
Oct 7th 2010, 11:48 PM
While I agree with all of this, and I agree that Nicodemus was already born again and Jesus was telling him he was (Nicodemus didn't understand simply because it was a foreign concept still.), it still is not evidence of God giving Nicodemus faith. All we know is that Nicodemus had been taking notice of what Jesus was doing and then made a profession of faith. The purpose of John 3, in context, is not to tell us where faith comes from, it is to tell us what the substance of our faith needs to be.When Jesus says that unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, he sets down a condition for enlightenment which is the prerequisite to faith. A man can't claim to believe something or put his trust in something unless he first understands what is being said or proved. Nicodemus' statement that he made the true association between Jesus' works and his claim to be from God is proof that he was able to recognize the activities of the kingdom. Jesus stipulates that unless someone is born from above, he will NOT accept or acknowledge the implications of the evidence before him. Therefore, the reason why Nicodemus could "see", i.e. recognize the kingdom of God, is because God had previously given him birth from above.

Where does my reason break down?

Lily
Oct 8th 2010, 12:59 AM
When Jesus says that unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, he sets down a condition for enlightenment which is the prerequisite to faith. A man can't claim to believe something or put his trust in something unless he first understands what is being said or proved. Nicodemus' statement that he made the true association between Jesus' works and his claim to be from God is proof that he was able to recognize the activities of the kingdom. Jesus stipulates that unless someone is born from above, he will NOT accept or acknowledge the implications of the evidence before him. Therefore, the reason why Nicodemus could "see", i.e. recognize the kingdom of God, is because God had previously given him birth from above.

Where does my reason break down?

It may set down a condition for enlightenment, but that doesn't necessarily make enlightenment a prerequisite to faith. Read John 12: 35 - 50 for example.

Also consider Abraham and Isaac:


Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,


18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Why would God "try" Abraham if it was God who was giving him the faith to believe and take Isaac? Additionally, Abraham began in faith, but it was three days before God gave Abraham the revelation:


Gen 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Abraham started in faith believing that God could raise Isaac from the dead, but it was only after he started walking in faith that God really opened his eyes.

RogerW
Oct 8th 2010, 02:41 AM
It may set down a condition for enlightenment, but that doesn't necessarily make enlightenment a prerequisite to faith. Read John 12: 35 - 50 for example.

Also consider Abraham and Isaac:



Why would God "try" Abraham if it was God who was giving him the faith to believe and take Isaac? Additionally, Abraham began in faith, but it was three days before God gave Abraham the revelation:



Abraham started in faith believing that God could raise Isaac from the dead, but it was only after he started walking in faith that God really opened his eyes.

You've altogether missed how Abraham received faith. You have to remember that God chose Abram while he was living in Ur of the Chaldees, where they served other gods. IOW if Abram knew the True God, he had no faith in God when He chose him.

Jos*24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.

So when God spoke to Abram, He preached the gospel unto him, telling him that Christ would come through his Seed (Christ), and through Christ all nations would be blessed. "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the gospel" (Ro 10).

Ga*3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Ga*3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

So Abram shows he understood the gospel message the LORD preached to him by grace through faith (all the gift of God) through obedience. Even though he did not know where the LORD would lead them, they left Haran, and God guided them to Canaan. Abram left Ur by faith, believing what God had promised because God had preached to him the gospel, and through hearing the Word of God his eyes were opened when faith was infused into his heart.

Ge*12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Ge*12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
Ge*12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Ge*12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
Ge*12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Now God will test Abraham's faith by commanding him to sacrifice his beloved son. So in faith Abraham, knowing that God would keep His promises even if it meant raising Isaac from the dead, obeyed God, and immediately went to the land of Moriah to offer the son, whom he loved a sacrifice to the LORD.

Ge*22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
Ge*22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Ge*22:3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Sirus
Oct 8th 2010, 03:22 AM
This is entirely untrue! First of all, only believers have faith (at least the kind of faith that the Bible is talking about). II Thess. 3:2 says, "...for not all have faith."This is not some proof text that all do not have a religious gift called faith. There are unreasonable and wicked men in the world.

"pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men."
Faith is not something we are born with!Then how did all those before Christ have it, not being drawn by the Spirit and given it?


II Peter 1:3 Certainly our faith is something that pertains to life and godliness,Certainly and all men will answer to God because of it. God cannot judge those that do not have the ability to choose (as Romans says quoting Psalms).


and no one ever has mustered up faith apart from salvation.Of course not. That's what it is given to all men for. Salvation.


Faith is something that is very real, it is useable and has substance according to Paul (God's word).That's not what it says at all. An ability cannot have substance as you say and that is not at all when the Greek word means. What it mean is what follows for the rest of the chapter. What God did in those individuals lives gave them assurance.


The faith that the world speaks of is shallow and entirely artificial with no substance, and not able to be used.That's because they do not place it in God.

BroRog
Oct 8th 2010, 03:53 PM
It may set down a condition for enlightenment, but that doesn't necessarily make enlightenment a prerequisite to faith. Read John 12: 35 - 50 for example.Yes, I understand. Just because the Light is in the world doen't automatically necessitate faith. But, my point is that by definition (at least the Biblical definition) coming into contact with the truth, i.e. belief is the prerequisite to faith. How could it be otherwise? (Romans 10:14)


Why would God "try" Abraham if it was God who was giving him the faith to believe and take Isaac? Additionally, Abraham began in faith, but it was three days before God gave Abraham the revelation: Tests of faith are not for God's benefit, they are for our benefit. Of the three Apostles that speak about the testing of our faith, James associates God's test of our faith with wisdom.


Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:2-5

We find Joy in the testing of our faith because when the test is over and we have endured, we know something about ourselves we didn't know before. It's one thing to say we believe and have faith. It's another thing to keep the faith through a very difficult trial. On the other end of things we can then honestly say: if my faith survived that, it can survive anything.


Abraham started in faith believing that God could raise Isaac from the dead, but it was only after he started walking in faith that God really opened his eyes.We can't really know what Abraham was thinking when he left his father and family in Haran, listening to a God he barely knew. Didn't Abraham's faith grow as his knowledge of God grew?

Beautiful Loser
Oct 8th 2010, 05:11 PM
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:2-5

We find Joy in the testing of our faith because when the test is over and we have endured, we know something about ourselves we didn't know before. It's one thing to say we believe and have faith. It's another thing to keep the faith through a very difficult trial. On the other end of things we can then honestly say: if my faith survived that, it can survive anything.


A couple of verses to go along with what you are saying:

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Pet 5:10

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 2 Cor 4:7

When a person goes successfully through a trial it does produce endurance. It is God showing the person what their faith has now become, how much that person has grown in trusting Jesus (or has been grown as growth is always from God (1 Cor 3:6,7). As God allots a new measure of faith (Rom 12:3) He shows us what we have become by allowing the temptations (James 1:13) or various trials. God grows and shows faith and from these our endurance is strengthened.

When a person goes through a trial and fails it reinforces God's grace. It shows where the power comes from, just like Paul (2 Cor 12:7-9).

Not trying to overstep you or anything. I've lived this topic pretty recently (both sides) so I like to chime in on it.

John146
Oct 8th 2010, 05:57 PM
But I think Jesus is saying more than that. He isn't simply saying that confession and rebirth are coincident. He is saying that confession follows from rebirth because only those with such a birth will make the confession.And, of course, I disagree. Do you have any other scripture that you believe backs up your understanding of John 3:3?


Without the birth, real geniune faith is impossible.Where is this taught in scripture? When you say "real genuine faith" are you saying that someone is unable to be sorry for their sins and unable to want Jesus to be their Lord and Savior without first being born of the Spirit? If so, I don't know of any scripture that teaches such a thing.

BroRog
Oct 8th 2010, 06:20 PM
And, of course, I disagree. Do you have any other scripture that you believe backs up your understanding of John 3:3?

Where is this taught in scripture? When you say "real genuine faith" are you saying that someone is unable to be sorry for their sins and unable to want Jesus to be their Lord and Savior without first being born of the Spirit? If so, I don't know of any scripture that teaches such a thing.What do you think being born of the spirit means?

John146
Oct 8th 2010, 06:39 PM
What do you think being born of the spirit means?Answering a question with a question? I'll answer your question, but I'd appreciate if you also answered mine. It means that the Spirit has come to dwell in you and has made you a new creation in Christ and placed you in the body of Christ, which is the church.

Now, can you answer the questions I asked in my previous post? What do you think being born of the Spirit means?

Caleb
Oct 8th 2010, 10:18 PM
pistis
KJV (244) - assurance, 1; belief, 1; believe + (1537), 1; faith, 239; fidelity, 1; them that believe, 1;

Act 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Act 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

apistia (G570), "unbelief"

unfaithfulness, faithless
want of faith, unbelief
weakness of faith

Rom 3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

Rom 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Rom 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

Rom 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

What was this 'unbelief'?
They believed in God, they followed Moses, and they believed in Abraham and the promise of God to him.

It seems that some have this faith, and some do not have this faith.
Some are said to be full of faith, and some are weak.

Here Paul says that it is a law of faith:

Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

If this 'law of faith' is from me, then surely I can make boast, because it is then something that 'I' have done, and 'I' can have my share in the Glory with God.

Surely 'I' have nothing in which 'I' can make boast, or have any glory.

If it is a common faith that all have, then how is it that Abraham is the father (beginner) of our faith?
What of all those who believed and walked with God, before Abraham?

BroRog
Oct 8th 2010, 11:12 PM
Answering a question with a question? I'll answer your question, but I'd appreciate if you also answered mine. It means that the Spirit has come to dwell in you and has made you a new creation in Christ and placed you in the body of Christ, which is the church.

Now, can you answer the questions I asked in my previous post? What do you think being born of the Spirit means?The reason I asked a question without answering yours is because I couldn't know how my answer would be understood, until I knew what you think being born again meant. I recognize your answer as repeating what scripture says, but I'm still left with questions about your view, because I'm still not sure, for instance, what it means to be a "new creation" from your point of view since from my point of view, repentence, confession, and affirmation of the gospel are all signs of being the new creature, which comes about after being born again.

From my point of view, being born again, or born from above, is being made the new creature, which subsequently is able to see and understand what they need to see and understand in order to repent, confess, and affirm the gospel message. I don't see how or why anyone would repent, confess, and affirm the gospel unless they were born again.

To put it another way, if a person was able to repent, confess, and affirm the gospel message, why would they need to be born again, since they are already "alive" in the spiritual sense -- they already are seeing things with spiritual eyes, living as a spiritual person, the spirit already dwelling in a person, etc.?

Why do you say that a person can see the kingdom of God before being born again, when Jesus says that they can't unless they have been born again?

Jesus marvels that Nicodemus doesn't get what Jesus is teaching because the scriptures teach it and Nicodemus should have read about it in the scriptures. What scriptures?

Here is one example.

And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Ezekiel 11:19-20

In this case God is going to take a stubborn and obstinate people, take out their heart of stone (obstinacy) and put in a heart of flesh such that they will become obedient people. What explains the difference? What explains the transformation? What explains the sudden repentance and obedience? God gives them a new heart and puts a new spirit in them. This is being born again, or born from above. Transformation of the heart is prior to repentance and obedience, not after it.

Butch5
Oct 9th 2010, 01:55 AM
pistis
KJV (244) - assurance, 1; belief, 1; believe + (1537), 1; faith, 239; fidelity, 1; them that believe, 1;

Act 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Act 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

apistia (G570), "unbelief"

unfaithfulness, faithless
want of faith, unbelief
weakness of faith

Rom 3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

Rom 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Rom 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

Rom 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

What was this 'unbelief'?
They believed in God, they followed Moses, and they believed in Abraham and the promise of God to him.

It seems that some have this faith, and some do not have this faith.
Some are said to be full of faith, and some are weak.

Here Paul says that it is a law of faith:

Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

If this 'law of faith' is from me, then surely I can make boast, because it is then something that 'I' have done, and 'I' can have my share in the Glory with God.

Surely 'I' have nothing in which 'I' can make boast, or have any glory.

If it is a common faith that all have, then how is it that Abraham is the father (beginner) of our faith?
What of all those who believed and walked with God, before Abraham?

It was to Abraham that God made the promises, telling him he would be the father of a multitude, many nations. God also promised him the land. Abraham began the line that would eventually bring for the Christ.

People speak of faith as if it is something tangible, like, I'm going to the store and buy some faith. Faith is simply believing something is true and acting accordingly. We all have the ability to listen to someone and decide whether or not we believe what they are saying is true and acting accordingly.

The boasting Paul speaks of in Ephesians 2:9 is in regard to keeping the Mosaic Law.

wesand24
Oct 9th 2010, 03:36 AM
Sirus, Let me see if I am following you correctly. If I am interpreting what you are saying right, then you believe that God gives all men faith (unbelievers and believers), but the faith becomes a saving faith when it is put on Christ. Is that right?

Sirus
Oct 9th 2010, 04:58 PM
Pretty much.........

John146
Oct 11th 2010, 08:14 PM
From my point of view, being born again, or born from above, is being made the new creature, which subsequently is able to see and understand what they need to see and understand in order to repent, confess, and affirm the gospel message. I don't see how or why anyone would repent, confess, and affirm the gospel unless they were born again.And why is that? Because you assume that one needs to be born again in order to be able to repent, confess and affirm the gospel message, but where is that taught in scripture?


To put it another way, if a person was able to repent, confess, and affirm the gospel message, why would they need to be born again, since they are already "alive" in the spiritual sense -- they already are seeing things with spiritual eyes, living as a spiritual person, the spirit already dwelling in a person, etc.?Because such a person is not in the kingdom of God. The act of regeneration performed by the Spirit spiritually places us in the kingdom of God. Being born of the Spirit is the way that God brings us into His kingdom. We're not born of God and we don't become a child of God until after we put our faith in Christ (John 1:12). You, on the other hand, believe that someone is first born of the Spirit and then they put their faith in Christ. I'm not aware of any scripture which teaches that, are you?


Why do you say that a person can see the kingdom of God before being born again, when Jesus says that they can't unless they have been born again? When did I say that? How do we even know for sure what it means to "see the kingdom of God"? That's debatable. Whatever it means exactly, is one required to see the kingdom of God in order to recognize and acknowledge that they are a sinner and to recognize and acknowledge that Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead? I don't believe so.


Jesus marvels that Nicodemus doesn't get what Jesus is teaching because the scriptures teach it and Nicodemus should have read about it in the scriptures. What scriptures?

Here is one example.

And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Ezekiel 11:19-20

In this case God is going to take a stubborn and obstinate people, take out their heart of stone (obstinacy) and put in a heart of flesh such that they will become obedient people. What explains the difference? What explains the transformation? What explains the sudden repentance and obedience? God gives them a new heart and puts a new spirit in them. This is being born again, or born from above. Transformation of the heart is prior to repentance and obedience, not after it.After we initially repent of our sins and put our faith in Christ and become saved we still have a lot to learn and have to begin growing spiritually, right? I don't believe that text is saying anything about God needing to give someone "a heart of flesh" in order to recognize that they are sinners and recognize that Jesus died for them and rose again from the dead and that they need to put their faith in Him in order to be saved and have their sins forgiven.

I believe the new heart and spirit is for the purpose of helping us see things the way He does so that we can serve Him. We do the good works that God has prepared for us after we become saved (Eph 2:10). What gives us the power to do that is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. He will work through us when we cooperate with Him and submit to Him. I'm not aware of any scripture that says we need to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us before we are able to recognize our sinfulness and need to put our faith and trust in Christ.

BroRog
Oct 11th 2010, 11:23 PM
And why is that? Because you assume that one needs to be born again in order to be able to repent, confess and affirm the gospel message, but where is that taught in scripture?John 3 among other places.


Because such a person is not in the kingdom of God. The act of regeneration performed by the Spirit spiritually places us in the kingdom of God. Being born of the Spirit is the way that God brings us into His kingdom.I don't know what to say. I'm not aware of a scripture that teaches a man can repent, confess, and affirm the gospel message and NOT be in the kingdom of God. But Jesus is not talking about entering the kingdom of God in John 3; he is talking about recognizing it, i.e. seeing it. A man can't see the kingdom of God, he says, unless a man is born from above.

In John 4:48 Jesus says, "unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe." Nevertheless, seeing the signs and wonders is not enough. Only those who are willing to appreciate them for what they are, signs that Jesus is from God, will believe. Nicodemus was seeing the signs and concluding from these signs that Jesus was indeed from God. Accordingly, Jesus explains that Nicodemus was able to make the connection between the signs and the fact that Jesus was from God because Nicodemus was born again.


We're not born of God and we don't become a child of God until after we put our faith in Christ (John 1:12).I think you see a sequence where there is none. I don't see any language or wording in that passage which would indicate an order of events. For all we know, receiving him (vs. 12) happens simultaneously with being born of God (vs. 13).


You, on the other hand, believe that someone is first born of the Spirit and then they put their faith in Christ. I'm not aware of any scripture which teaches that, are you?Yes, John 3 for one. John 6:44 is another.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.


And again in 65

And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."

Unless God grants it, a man will not come to follow and believe in Jesus.


When did I say that? How do we even know for sure what it means to "see the kingdom of God"? That's debatable. Whatever it means exactly, is one required to see the kingdom of God in order to recognize and acknowledge that they are a sinner and to recognize and acknowledge that Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead? I don't believe so.Yes, that is what Jesus means. In order to understand this we need to bear in mind what it meant to "see" the kingdom of God. Jesus began his ministry preaching "the kingdom of God is at hand." What he meant was, "the king is here and I am that king."

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, "Look, here!" or, "There!" For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. Luke 17:20-21
These particular Pharisees were standing right in front of the king and didn't recognize him, though he provided them with plenty of signs and miracles to prove it. The kingdom of God was right in their midst and they didn't see it. What explains this? Again, unless a man is born from above, he can't see the kingdom of God.


After we initially repent of our sins and put our faith in Christ and become saved we still have a lot to learn and have to begin growing spiritually, right? I don't believe that text is saying anything about God needing to give someone "a heart of flesh" in order to recognize that they are sinners and recognize that Jesus died for them and rose again from the dead and that they need to put their faith in Him in order to be saved and have their sins forgiven. In that passage God is saying that he will change each person internally so that a once stubborn and obstinate person will turn to him in faith. He is talking about the difference between a person who is unwilling to believe and a person who is willing to believe. A man will not repent unless he has this internal disposition toward God, and he will not have this internal disposition unless he is blessed from above.


I believe the new heart and spirit is for the purpose of helping us see things the way He does so that we can serve Him. We do the good works that God has prepared for us after we become saved (Eph 2:10). What gives us the power to do that is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. He will work through us when we cooperate with Him and submit to Him. I'm not aware of any scripture that says we need to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us before we are able to recognize our sinfulness and need to put our faith and trust in Christ.Isn't repentance the result of seeing things the way God does?

losthorizon
Oct 12th 2010, 12:24 AM
But Jesus is not talking about entering the kingdom of God in John 3; he is talking about recognizing it, i.e. seeing it.


Actually, Rog - Jesus clearly states that unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
(Joh 3:5)

BroRog
Oct 12th 2010, 04:04 PM
Actually, Rog - Jesus clearly states that unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
(Joh 3:5)Of course, entering it and seeing it are all part of the same process. To "see" it is to acknowledge it, agree with it, and rejoice in it, which is another way of saying we "enter" into it.

John146
Oct 12th 2010, 08:48 PM
John 3 among other places. No, it's not taught in John 3. Do you have any scripture that explicitly teaches that one needs to be born again in order to be able to repent, confess and affirm the gospel message, rather than one passage that you think teaches it implicitly?


I don't know what to say. I'm not aware of a scripture that teaches a man can repent, confess, and affirm the gospel message and NOT be in the kingdom of God.Why would someone who is already in the kingdom of God need to repent, confess and affirm the gospel message? Did Jesus call the righteous (those who are already saved) or sinners (those who are lost) to repentance? Sinners, right? Lost, unsaved people. So, who is it that Jesus expected to repent? People who were already in the kingdom of God or people outside the kindgom of God who were lost? How could someone who is in the kingdom of God be considered a lost sinner who needs to repent?


But Jesus is not talking about entering the kingdom of God in John 3; he is talking about recognizing it, i.e. seeing it. A man can't see the kingdom of God, he says, unless a man is born from above.I assume you're speaking of John 3:3 because He does speak of entering the kingdom of God in John 3:5 and I believe that is the context of John 3:3 as well. One does not enter the kingdom of God and cannot take part in the kingdom of God unless they have been born again. It's not saying that one cannot repent and put their faith in Christ until they've been born from above.


In John 4:48 Jesus says, "unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe." Nevertheless, seeing the signs and wonders is not enough. Only those who are willing to appreciate them for what they are, signs that Jesus is from God, will believe. Nicodemus was seeing the signs and concluding from these signs that Jesus was indeed from God. Accordingly, Jesus explains that Nicodemus was able to make the connection between the signs and the fact that Jesus was from God because Nicodemus was born again.Again, I don't see how it follows that Nicodemus was already born again when he didn't even have a clue about what it meant to be born again! How could that be? Surely, a teacher of scripture who was born again would know what it meant to be born again, wouldn't they? I would certainly hope so. Yet Nicodemus clearly didn't understand what it meant to be born again at all. It does not require someone to be born again to give mental assent to who Jesus was. Even the demons believe that but are they born again? Plenty of people give mental assent to who He is, but they are not born again and saved.

You are mistaken in assuming that Nicodemus could only recognize who Jesus was because he was born again. It's one thing to give mental assent to who He is and another thing altogether to put one's faith and trust in Him as their personal Lord and Savior. Where is the evidence that Nicodemus had yet done that at that point?


I think you see a sequence where there is none. I don't see any language or wording in that passage which would indicate an order of events. For all we know, receiving him (vs. 12) happens simultaneously with being born of God (vs. 13).Let's look at the text.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

This does not say God gave them the power to receive Christ and believe on His name. This says that those who received Him and believed on His name were given power to become the sons of God. It seems very clear to me that receiving Him and believing on His name comes first. That is the determining factor for who He gives power to in order to become the sons of God, to be born of God. He doesn't just arbitrarily make people His children He makes those who receive Christ and believe on His name His children. Faith precedes regeneration.

Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Again, what is it that makes people the children of God? Faith in Christ Jesus. Faith comes first.


Yes, John 3 for one. John 6:44 is another.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.Where does this say that someone has to be regenerated first before putting their faith in Christ? Can you explain in detail how you conclude that from this verse?


And again in 65

[I]And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."

Unless God grants it, a man will not come to follow and believe in Jesus. But is this all arbitrary? It doesn't say that and I don't believe it is. Yet that is what you conclude, isn't it? Why is that? Why can't it be that the ones who the Father grants to come to Christ are those who choose to humble themselves and acknowledge they need a Savior and need forgiveness of their sins?


Yes, that is what Jesus means. In order to understand this we need to bear in mind what it meant to "see" the kingdom of God. Jesus began his ministry preaching "the kingdom of God is at hand." What he meant was, "the king is here and I am that king."

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, "Look, here!" or, "There!" For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. Luke 17:20-21
These particular Pharisees were standing right in front of the king and didn't recognize him, though he provided them with plenty of signs and miracles to prove it. The kingdom of God was right in their midst and they didn't see it. What explains this? Again, unless a man is born from above, he can't see the kingdom of God.Again, I disagree. I believe Jesus was saying that one cannot experience and be part of the kingdom of God unless he is born again. I don't see at all that He was saying that someone had to be born again in order to repent and put their faith in Christ. He certainly never explicitly said that and I don't see that taught anywhere else in scripture, either.


In that passage God is saying that he will change each person internally so that a once stubborn and obstinate person will turn to him in faith.And how do you know that? Where is the scripture that explicitly teaches that?


He is talking about the difference between a person who is unwilling to believe and a person who is willing to believe. A man will not repent unless he has this internal disposition toward God, and he will not have this internal disposition unless he is blessed from above. Again, where does scripture teach that? The only scripture you've had to offer to back up your claims so far are highly debatable ones. Do you have anything that more clearly teaches what you believe?


Isn't repentance the result of seeing things the way God does?What person is incapable of knowing the difference between right and wrong, knowing the difference between what God requires and what pleases God and what doesn't? For those who don't repent do they have any excuse for not doing so, such as being able to say they didn't do so because they weren't born again and therefore were not able to do so?

wesand24
Oct 14th 2010, 09:41 PM
Sirus, May I ask what you do with II Thessalonians 3:2 which explicitly states, "...for not all have faith" speaking about wicked men. These same wicked men that you claim have faith. For me, this one little part a verse ends this discussion.

Butch5
Oct 14th 2010, 10:00 PM
Sirus, May I ask what you do with II Thessalonians 3:2 which explicitly states, "...for not all have faith" speaking about wicked men. These same wicked men that you claim have faith. For me, this one little part a verse ends this discussion.

Hi wesand24,

Faith is not something tangible you can hold in your hand, it is act. When Paul says not all men have faith, he means that not all men believe.


2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 ( KJV )
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

These are the men who have not faith. Paul is not saying they are incapable of having faith but that they don't have faith.

Sirus
Oct 14th 2010, 11:49 PM
Right. It's
'that the word of the Lord may have free course because there are unreasonable and wicked men that do not believe the word of the Lord they have heard'

1Th 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
1Th 2:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
1Th 2:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
1Th 2:17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
1Th 2:18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. Faith here is 'the faith' -Christianity -the Word, message of God, made flesh and sent into the world. Some people not only reject the gospel but then try to hinder it. This has nothing to do with not being given a gift - 'some thing' called faith, which has no scriptural basis. God gives a word, a promise, a message, and men either believe it or don't. That is how it works throughout ALL scripture.

Pillar
Oct 15th 2010, 01:07 AM
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Eph 2:8-9)

Is Paul saying here that even the very faith exercised by the believer is a gift from God? If so, how does that impact the free will debate? If not, why not?

The Greek word used for gift in Eph 2:8 is not χάρισμα (charisma) which translates in English to a favor with which one receives without any merit of his own.

The Greek word used in Eph 2:8 is δῶρον(dōron) which translates in English to offering, treasure, or gift.

So if you read verse 8 using the word treasure or offering, it clears it up much better.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the offering of God:

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the treasure of God:

Don't know if this answers the question though?