The Gift of Faith
When we declare that God gives us faith as a gift, we do not mean that he passes on a substance called faith to us, it means that he opens our blind eyes, unplugs our deaf ears and grants us a new heart and spirit so we will believe. (Ezek 36:27; Matt 16:15-17; John 5:21, 6:63-65) Both faith and obedience are equally difficult apart from renewal of heart.
John MacArthur likewise declared that, "Because He is gracious, God takes the initiative, drawing the sinner (John 6:44, 65), granting repentance (Acts 3:26; 5:31; 11:18), and awakening the heart to faith (Acts 13:48; 16:14). Every aspect of the believer's response--conviction, repentance, and faith--is the result of God's gracious work in the heart....Scripture teaches that sanctification begins at conversion. The process of practical sanctification is launched by God's regenerating work, when He graciously gives the sinner a new heart and a new spirit of obedience (Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:26-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17)."