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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « A Bible Overview Series Recommendation | Main | How Can Regeneration Precede Faith in Light of Eph 1:13? »

    Christian - Where did your faith come from?

    You placed your trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. You came to Him in repentance and faith. You were the one taking those actions. God did not exercise faith for you. On this point the monergist (reformed) person and the syngergist (arminian) agrees. However, we then need to ask the deeper question which is "where did this faith come from?" Was it found in the natural ability of the unregenerate heart or was it something God gave as a gift?

    Does Scripture address this issue? The answer is a resounding "yes."

    Do all people have faith? The answer is no. "Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith." 2 Thess 3:1, 2

    So where did the faith come from? Clearly it is God's gift to His elect people.

    Phil 1:29 says, "It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake..."

    Our minds tend to focus on the suffering part of the verse, but notice that the faith (believe) part is also something GRANTED to God's people.

    Peter in writing his second letter to God's elect people ("This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved" whom he had called God's elect in the first letter "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion...") wrote "Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1: 1)

    Heb 12: 2 "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith..."

    Ephesians 2:8-9 "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."

    We need to ask the question, what exactly is meant by the one word "that" in Ephesians 2:8. We know that whatever it is, it is the gift of God, but can we determine exactly what this gift is? Some say that the gift is "faith" while others say it is "grace" and still others say it is "salvation." What may be a point of dispute from the reading of the English translations becomes settled when looking into the original Greek text.

    Putting it in terms we can hopefully all understand, the Greek word for "that" is transliterated into English as touto and is in a neuter form. The way to determine what it refers to is to look for the other neuter in the immediate context. That's how the issue would normally be resolved, except that in this particular case, there isn't one. "Grace" is feminine; "have been saved" is masculine, and "faith" is also in a feminine form. In this case then, what the "that" refers to is all in the preceding clause. The grace, the salvation and the faith - all of these things - is the gift of God.

    We are justified by grace alone through faith in Christ alone and even the faith we exercise is God's gift.

    Posted by John Samson on October 20, 2010 01:15 PM

    Comments

    Calvinist here. On Ephesians 2.8, I'd like to point out that my NASB says "that" refers to salvation (the action of: you have been saved through faith); not to faith. I was checking that because of a discussion I'm having with an Arminian. I also went to the original greek and to the vulgate latin and found that both faith and grace (not surprisingly because my mother tongue is Spanish) are feminine gender words. So it don't see how τοῦτο or hoc are referring to grace or faith, because if they were, I think the original would/should read αὗται or hae to refer to those words. What do you think?

    Matthew 8-8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
    9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.
    10 When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Truly I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

    Jesus marveled at the centurion's faith. AND Had not found so great a faith...Why did He marvel at something God gave Him or that He hadn't seen faith that was given by Him??

    Luke 7:50 And he said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace.

    Here Jesus says the woman's faith has saved her.

    Faith in Jesus is what saves. So if faith is a gift, and God is not willing that any should perish,
    (1 Tim: 2:4), Wouldn't God just give saving faith to ALL??

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