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  • the gift of faith

    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?

    When we stand before the Judgment Seat, we will have retained only two things from our earthly life: what God gave us, and what we did with what He gave us.


  • #2
    Re: the gift of faith

    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: the gift of faith

      Originally posted by Sojourner55 View Post
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: the gift of faith

        Originally posted by Sojourner55 View Post
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: the gift of faith

          The way i read it. We are to have faith in the gift.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: the gift of faith

            Scripture says that faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. Rom 10:17

            For the cause of Christ
            Roger

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: the gift of faith

              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'

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: the gift of faith

                Originally posted by Sojourner55 View Post
                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!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: the gift of faith

                  Originally posted by Caleb View Post
                  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"!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: the gift of faith

                    Originally posted by Sojourner55 View Post
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: the gift of faith

                      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'.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: the gift of faith

                        Originally posted by BroRog View Post
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: the gift of faith

                          Originally posted by Caleb View Post
                          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......
                          The LORD is my Miracle

                          G_d was gracious He has shown favor


                          Hope is a seed
                          God plants in our hearts
                          to remind us
                          there are better things ahead.
                          -Holley Gerth

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: the gift of faith

                            Originally posted by RogerW View Post
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: the gift of faith

                              Originally posted by Sojourner55 View Post
                              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.

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