Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Gift of Faith

God has granted or given to sinful, ungodly men, who are enemies and haters of Him, the gift of saving faith to those whom He draws to His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. If you are saved today, you were saved not by your own human faith: the kind of faith that sits in a chair not knowing if it will hold you or not; human faith that believes youll get out of bed every morning and put your feet on the floor; human faith that takes its next breath as if it was promised to you, or generated by you because you've done something right. No, we arent speaking of human faith, because human faith will not save you. Ephesians 2:1 says that men are dead in trespasses and sins, walking to the course of this world, and sons of disobedience. Because men are spiritually dead, their human faith is dead and cannot do anything to please a Holy God, who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity.

There is a supernatural faith which comes to the one God draws to Himself to believe on His Son, Jesus. Saving faith is a gift, given to the elect by God, and this saving faith is kept by the power of God and will never fail or be snuffed out, but will endure until the end. Saving faith is not of ourselves, therefore men cannot boast about it. Lets look at the scripture to see how saving faith which leads to salvation is a gift, given by the Soverign Almighty God, to those He forknew and predestined to be conformed to the image of His dear Son.

John 6:65 No man can come to me unless it has been granted him from the Father.
“Coming to Christ is faith. But no man can have that unless God gives it to him. This explicitly
teaches that God gives the faith to come to Christ. Note also that this verse is similar to vs. 44,
“... unless the Father who sent me draws him.” When the Father irresistibly draws a sinner to
Christ, He grants saving faith to him.
2 Peter 1:1, “...to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours...”
If faith is received, then it follows that faith is given. We do not give ourselves saving faith; it has
to be given to us. Note that Peter says that all Christians have received this faith. Faith is a gift
for all believers; there are no exceptions. And it is the same gift of faith in every Christian.

Phil. 1:29, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but to
suffer for His sake.” God grants two things to every person when he becomes a Christian:
saving faith and persecutions for that faith in Christ. Justas every believer should realize that
God sovereignly gives us persecutions, so we need to recognize that faith is a sovereign gift,
too. Paul uses the word “grant”, as in John 6:65. The word speaks of a sovereign bestowal from
a superior.
John 3:27, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from Heaven.” John the
Baptist had been a great prophet. He realized that this was not his doing. The gift of prophecy
was a sovereign gift. By the same standard, no Christian can have faith unless it is given to him
from Heaven (that is, from God). Notice how the text uses the two verbs “receive” and “given”.
God gives, we receive.
I Cor. 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” Paul preached the
Gospel and thereby planted the Gospel seed. Apollos followed up on that with further preaching
and teaching. But God “gave” the increase. Some versions render this, “God was causing the
growth” (NASB). God alone causes the Gospel seed to germinate. It is a sovereign gift of God
I Cor. 4:7, “And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do
you boast as if you had not received it?” Paul reminded the proud Corinthians that they had
nothing to boast of. Spiritual gifts were sovereignly bestowed, not earned (cf. ch. 12). By the
same standard, no man can boast of his faith, for even that faith is a gift. All Christians have
faith, but if it had not been received as a gift, then they could boast. Such is the case with those
who deny that faith is a gift. In effect, they are boasting, “Well, salvation may be a gift, but at
least I contributed to it with my faith.” No, even that faith is a ; gift. Hence, “Let him who boasts,
boast in the Lord” (I Cor. 1:31. Cf. Eph. 2:9).
I Cor. 12:3, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.” Now obviously Paul is
not saying that no one can utter those three words unless by the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers are
capable of that. Rather, Paul is saying that no one can say it as a heartfelt confession of faith
unless the Spirit gives it to him (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). Did you notice how this verse sounds like
John 6:65?
I Cor. 12:8-9, “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit... to another, faith by
the same Spirit...” Paul is reiterating that the charismatic gifts are gifts, not badges of merit.
“Faith” in this verse is not saving faith, but the faith to accomplish great things for God (George
Mueller is frequently cited as an example). The principle is valid, however. Faith is a gift.
Someone has pointed out that miracle-working was a gift, and would anyone claim that it was of
their own power to work miracles? Of course not. The same is true with faith.
Gal. 3:23, “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law...” Paul is speaking
of two developments in this passage: the macrocosm of the history of God’s covenants, and the
microcosm of individuals coming to faith in Christ. Just as the Law preceded the coming of
Christ, so a person is under bondage and condemnation before Christ comes into his life. Note
the words “before faith came”. We speak of our ”coming to faith”, but it might be more Biblically
precise to say “before faith came to me.” Not only do we come to faith in Christ, but Christ
comes into us with the gift of faith.
Gal. 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is... faith...” Some versions render this as “faithfulness”, but
faithfulness springs from faith. Either way, we see that faith is something grown in us by the
Holy Spirit. He produces it, not us.
Rom. 10:17, “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Some versions
have “word of Christ” or “preaching of Christ”. In either case, Paul’s point is that faith is given by
means of the Word of God. Note also how it is given. Through the Word, God opens the ears of
the heart (cf. Gal. 3:2, Matt. 13:9, 13). That is part of regeneration. And in that, He also gives the
gift of faith.
Matt. 13:11, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven,
but to them it has not been granted.” Notice how the word “granted” is again used. Knowledge
of these spiritual mysteries comes through the Word and produces faith. But it is sovereignly
bestowed only on a few, not all.
Luke 22:32, “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail...” Christ knew that Peter
would soon deny Him. But Christ had given him faith and prayed that that gift of faith would be
revived. We receive the gift of faith, from God in answer to Christ’s prayers. Hence, he will
continue to supply us with faith to the end (cf. Phil. 1:6).
Acts 18:27, “...those who had believed through grace.” Why is it that some people believe
and others do not? It is only because God has extended special” grace to some and not to
others. When He gives this grace, they believe. Without such grace, no one can believe. All
Christians “believe through grace”, God’s gift.
I Tim. 1:14, “and the grace of our Lord was more abundant, with the faith and love which are
found in Christ Jesus.” Paul is recounting how Christ saved him (vss. 12-13). He is sure to
remember that he was converted by God’s grace. Grace was freely given to Paul “with faith and
love”. When God converts a sinner, He gives him grace, love and faith. Faith is as much a gift
as grace and love.
Heb. 12:2, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...” How is it that we
can fix our eyes on Jesus in faith? We can believe in Him only because He began it in us. He
“authors” it. Moreover, if He starts it, then He will also finish it. Faith is the gift, which the Good
Shepherd gives to His sheep.
1 Pet. 1:21, “...who through Him are believers in God...” Christians believe in God unto
salvation, but only “through Him”, that is, Christ. If it were not for Christ’s gift of faith, nobody
would believe savingly in God

These refrences and commentary are from Dr. Curt Daniel from his book "The History and Theology of Calvinism"

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