Ephesians 2:8-9

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Martin Marprelate, Jul 10, 2011.

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  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    On another thread http://www.baptistboard.com/showthread.php?t=72661&page=6 DHK and I had a most interesting discussion over whether and to what extent faith is a gift of God.

    I cited three verses: Acts 11:16; 16:14, and Eph 2:8-9. Due to the way the thread galloped onward, we didn't really get to discuss any of these texts, but I want particularly to look at the last one.

    Eph 2:8-9 (it is helpful to read vs 1-9 to get the context). 'For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.'

    The question is, what is it that is ‘not of yourselves’? As I look at it in the English, it seems very clear to me. 'That' refers back to 'faith' which is the nearest antecedent. That would normally be the case in Greek also. However, this is what DHK said.
    There are a few problems with this view.
    1. If faith is not something that we work up in ourselves and it is not the gift of God, where does it come from? Who gives it to us?
    2. The word 'salvation' does not appear in the text.
    3. The text does not tell us that we are saved 'by grace through grace’ as DHK says above. The text tells us that we are saved by grace through faith. It is God's grace that saves us on account of our faith (Gk. dia tes pisteos) and that not of ourselves.

    So what is Grace? Every dictionary and commentary will tell you that it is the unmerited favour of God. So to say that we are saved by grace and that not of ourselves is a tautology, a redundancy, a needless repetition. Grace by definition is not of ourselves, so there is no need for Paul to tell us that. Therefore, by process of elimination, it can only be faith which Paul is telling us is not of ourselves but the gift of God.

    So how is faith the gift of God? DHK has said repeatedly that we are not ‘injected with faith’ and that it is we who have to believe. In this he is quite right. I have searched for an analogy to explain how faith comes to us and the best I can do is to compare it with a parent giving pocket money to a child. Unless the child receives the money from his parent, he can buy nothing. But the parent does not ‘inject’ the child with sweets, comics or whatever, nor does he buy them on behalf of the child; the child does that for himself when he receives his allowance. In the same way, God does not inject us with faith in order to convert us, nor does He believe for us. Rather He puts His Holy Spirit within us, melting our cold, hard hearts, causing us to know our sinful state and leading us irresistibly (Jer 31:3) to trust in Christ for salvation (Ezek 36:25-27; Zech 12:10; Eph 2:5; Titus 3:4-6).

    However, it is clear that He does not do this for everyone, but only for His elect (Rom 9:18). He has decreed salvation for a vast crowd of people that no man may number (Rev 7:9ff). These were given to the Son to redeem, and He has redeemed them all (John 17:2 etc.). The gathering of His elect is through the preaching of the word to all men and women (James 1:18). Whoever responds in repentance and faith will be saved, but their salvation is not of themselves, it is the gift of God who has opened their hearts and irresistibly drawn them to believe (John 6:44).

    Steve
     
    #1 Martin Marprelate, Jul 10, 2011
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  2. quantumfaith

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    Steve,

    I believe the "crux" of the matter is the imago dei. This "image" however distorted and corrupted in the fall is still present. (Genesis 6:9)

    I believe "faith" and the ability to seek to know God is indeed a necessary consequence of this imago dei engineered into mankind from the very beginning.

    I do indeed assert that it is this "grace" that is not ourselves, we as finite beings are not granted the authority to express and grant grace in this manner. I do agree one can argue that "faith" also is not of ourselves either, as I think it a natural design aspect of mankind from the very beginning.

    We are indeed saved first and foremost BECAUSE of God's grace, but also could not be without "faith". In my mind, it is this expression of faith in the context and humble recognition of God's grace that energizes salvation. I do, on that basis see salvation, at least, colored by synergism.

    I most certainly agree with you in the role of the Holy Spirit moving in our lives assisting us in the recognition of our position of separation of God due to our sinfulness
     
  3. kyredneck

    kyredneck
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    [snip]


    I believe the scriptural definition of grace is given to us in the 5th verse:

    even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), Eph 2:5

    This is also one of the very few places in the scriptures where I believe sozo to be used in the eternal sense.
     
  4. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    On this point, I agree with John Calvin who wrote: "And here we must advert to a very common error in the interpretation of this passage. Many persons restrict the word gift to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating in other words the former sentiment. His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God."

    I can't speak for what DHK believes, but I'd agree with what you said below with only minor adjustments:

    God does not inject us with faith in order to convert us, nor does He believe for us. Rather His Holy Spirit confronts us causing us to know our sinful state and leading us (Jer 31:3) to trust in Christ for salvation, but if we resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) our hearts will grow hardened as those who wondered in the dessert and we won't be able to enter into his Promised land because of unbelief." (Heb. 3)
     
  5. revmwc

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    Ephesians 2:8 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.

    Paul starts with a prepositional phrase here "For by grace are" since a preposition introduces a subject then the subject would be that you are saved or salvation is the subject introduced by the prepositions for and by.

    With that in mind you and I as believers are saved, salvation is ours by grace and how are we saved by Grace, through Faith which becomes the means by which we are saved.

    Since the subject is our being saved or salvation then the gift of God is Salvation to all who by Faith receive the Grace of Salvation.

    An illustration I once heard a long time ago and still use today concerning salvation is this:

    "let's say you are standing on one side of the Grand Canyon and a man lands a helicopter gets out and drives a stake in the ground. Then he ties a rope to it and flies to the other side where he gets out pulls the rope tight and ties it to another stake he drove into the ground. He then pulls out wheel barrow places it on the rope and proceeds to walk across the Grand Canyon pushing the wheel barrow.
    He comes over to you and says do you believe that I can push this wheel barrow across the Grand Canyon, to which you would reply of course I just saw you do it. Then he says get in and let me push you across."

    This is where faith must come in would you trust him with your life. The same with Jesus people know He came and most believe He died on a cross but do they trust (faith) Him to get them into eternity.
    We are saved by Grace Through salvation, salvation is not of ourselves, not from our works. Salvation is the gift of God nothing we have done earns it, we can't work for it we must only trust (have faith in) Christ gift of Salvation because of His death on the cross, His burial and His ressurection. We must accept the gift that He has provided. We do that by Calling upon the Name of the Lord in Faith.
     
    #5 revmwc, Jul 10, 2011
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  6. DHK

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    Grace, defined in a general way, is unmerited favor. Here it specifically refers to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that he offered us on the cross, grace that we don't deserve. But for us he paid the penalty for us anyway, even though we were sinners Christ died for us; and not for us only but he paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world (1John 2:1,2). That is grace. One person defined grace this way:

    God's
    Riches
    At
    Christ's
    Expense.

    And so it is. God spared not his own son but delivered him up for us all...
    For by grace are you saved.

    Paul had already said:
    Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved (Ephesians 2:5)
    Here I would disagree. Christ died for the sins of the whole world. He paid the penalty for all. But only those who appropriate that gift of salvation by faith will be saved. They of their own choosing must receive it by faith. "For by grace are ye saved through faith..."
     
  7. revmwc

    revmwc
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    John 6:
    32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
    33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

    It appears the life He offers is to everyone all of mankind, Jesus said it Himself. For Jesus is the bread of life, salvation is for all who will believe.
    Of course He said here also:
    JN. 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.

    Whosoever would include all in the World.

    Then we see this:
    1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world

    Appears He is the Propitiation for the whole World, that again would be all mankind. Propitiation means God is satisfied with the payment for sin which sins the sins of the whole world (all mankind).

    Christ paid the price for everyone so now the issue is an issue of Faith, has one trusted or rejected Jesus Christ as the gift of Propitiation for thier sin. Rejection condemnsit brings the Second Death. Acceptance brings Salvation and spending eternity with God.
     
  8. percho

    percho
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    I agree with you that it is saved, our salvation that is the gift of God.

    This verse is making a statement that because of or through faith God gives the gift of salvation. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God (Salvation) is eternal life. Why did God give this gift? Because of or through faith that is through Jesus Christ our Lord the ending of R 6:23. In many, many places Paul calls it the faith of Christ. Jesus dying was the faith by which we are saved and through the Father resurrecting him from the dead is how we receive the Holy Spirit from the Father through Christ, the promise made to Abraham and his one seed Christ starting us on the road to eternal life.
     
  9. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    Well this is very whimsical, isn't it? You agree with Calvin and I disagree with him. :confused: As I said before, to say we are saved by grace and that not of ourselves is a tautology. Grace by definition is not of ourselves. As I also said, 'faith' is the nearest antecedent and is therefore the most reasonable candidate to be the gift of God. calvin is no longer with us to answer these two points, so I'm afraid you are going to have to answer for him. :laugh:

    Steve
     
  10. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I don't think He did; at least not in John 6:32. You are making the unwarranted assumptions that 'giveth' = 'offereth' and that 'world' = 'all of mankind.'
    The words 'believe' or 'faith' do not appear in John 6:32.
    Not at all. 'Whosoever means 'whosoever believeth.' Everyone in the world believeth not, methinks.
    If Christ is the propitiation for all mankind, then hell will be empty and heaven rather more than full. Other verses would tend to deny that.

    I think we have discussed these verses ad nauseam. Could we concentrate on Eph 2:8-9, please, as per the OP? Thanks!

    Steve
     
  11. Iconoclast

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    Martin,
    Salvation is the gift of God...all of it. Repentance unto life and saving faith are all part of the gift given at regeneration..I posted this on another thread;
    salvation is never because of faith, but always by ,or through faith.
     
  12. quantumfaith

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    I agree....I think. :) Salvation is because of grace, but through faith.
     
  13. Iconoclast

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    Thats twice quantum...:laugh::laugh: be careful lol,association with professed calvinists can lead to the wrath of fellow BB members:laugh:
     
  14. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
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    Or "vice versa". :)
     
  15. MamaCW

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    great post.. my father in law and I have discussions like this.. he is a christian but does not believe "once saved always saved"...
     
  16. Skandelon

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    How about I allow Barnes to answer?

    And that not of yourselves - That is, salvation does not proceed from yourselves. The word rendered "that" - τοῦτο touto - is in the neuter gender, and the word "faith" - πίστις pistis - is in the feminine. The word "that," therefore, does not refer particularly to faith, as being the gift of God, but to "the salvation by grace" of which he had been speaking. This is the interpretation of the passage which is the most obvious, and which is now generally conceded to be the true one; see Bloomfield. Many critics, however, as Doddridge, Beza, Piscator, and Chrysostom, maintain that the word "that" (τοῦτο touto) refers to "faith" (πίστις pistis); and Doddridge maintains that such a use is common in the New Testament. As a matter of grammar this opinion is certainly doubtful, if not untenable; but as a matter of theology it is a question of very little importance.

    ... I would not contend, therefore, about the grammatical construction of this passage, with respect to the point of the theology contained in it; still it accords better with the obvious grammatical construction, and with the design of the passage to understand the word "that" as referring not to "faith" only, but to "salvation by grace." So Calvin understands it, and so it is understood by Storr, Locke, Clarke, Koppe, Grotius, and others.
     
    #16 Skandelon, Jul 10, 2011
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  17. revmwc

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    See post #5
     
  18. percho

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    Eph By grace --- are ye saved -- through the faith (I believe the is there)
    Titus 3:5 he saved us -by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

    Titus 3:5 also has according to his mercy -- he

    Does mercy and grace have the same meaning?
    Does are ye saved and he saved us have the same meaning?
    Does through the faith and the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit have the same meaning?

    Do these verses also say what was done to save us? Romans 5:5,10
    Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

    Does by the death of his Son, his shed blood wash us from our sin and because by his life, by his resurrection, we shall be saved in a moment at the twinkling of an eye?

    Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

    Does that verse say that the resurrected Son of Man received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and then shed it to us?

    Does the word teach that it by the faith of the Christ by which those God calls are saved according as he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, that at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace?

    Please show from the word of God what is incorrect or out of context.
     
  19. DHK

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    You are the only one I have heard that suggested that, so I checked it out. The TR does have a definite article, but the begs the question, why didn't the KJV translators translate it? I looked at a number of translations and couldn't find one that translated it "the faith." Of course the Critical Text omits the definite article altogether.
    Here is what Jamieson, Faucett and Brown say:
     
  20. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I absolutely agree with you. The problem is that DHK and others try to suggest that salvation is God's part but repentance is ours. I think that Eph 2:8-9 refutes that.
    Barnes' point about touto is quite right, but charis, 'grace' is also feminine like pistis and they are the only two nouns in the sentence. If you read some of the more modern, heavyweight commentators like Hendricksen, you will find that there are several cases in Clasical Greek where touto is put into the Neuter rather than agreeing with the preceeding substantive. My case therefore still stands. 'Grace' is the nearest antecedent noun and therefore it should be assumed that touto refers to it.

    However, I am happy to agree that salvation is all of grace, so long as you do not try to detatch faith from salvation.

    I am away now for two days, so I will not be able to respond until Wednesday at the earliest.

    Steve
     
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