Is Faith a gift?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by tfisher, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. tfisher

    tfisher
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    In my Old Testament class we recently did a brief theological study on the faith of Abraham. The text says the following:

    Faith appears as a free and active movement of will. Even as the promises provided for a response corresponding to the purpose of Yahweh, so it developed in every story. The outline shows how each one of the twelve stories leads to a spiritual struggle and a victory of faith. The promises constantly challenge him; providence protects him and corrects him; and in every story faith arises and claims the promise. Stories I-III portray his struggle to grasp the promise of the land. Stories IV and V portray his struggle to grasp the promise of the seed. Stories VI-X portray his struggle to grasp the promise of the blessing. The last two portray his confident claim of all the promises. Upon one promise after another faith climbed to the sublime height reached in the offering of Isaac. All Abraham's experiences are characterized by the explanation given in Genesis 15:6,"And he believed in Yahweh; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness."
    There is no contradiction between this teaching and Ephesians 2:8, which says, "By grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." The word for gift does not agree in gender with the word for faith, so could not refer to it. The verse teaches that the plan of salvation is of God but not the faith in the plan, and so do the experiences of Abraham.
    J. Wash Watts, Old Testament Teaching: An Introduction to the Old Testament (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1967),45.

    Since I am not a Greek scholar and have always been taught that our faith is a gift from God, I thought I would see what everyone else thinks. It may be a while before I get to check back on the BB on this topic. The Lord blessed me tonight with not having much reading to do for classes tomorrow. [​IMG]
     
  2. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    Yes, in the sense that faith is our gift to God for believing the truth about His Son. Otherwise, only grace is the gift of God to us when we believe in Jesus.
     
  3. KenH

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    Doesn't grace precede all the way back before the world existed in all that God has planned to do to save His people?

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite
     
  4. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    Ken Hamilton,

    I believe that the plan was in existence from eternity past but grace only takes its residence in our hearts, when we believe in Jesus.

    Do you agree with this?
     
  5. KenH

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    Ray,

    I am not exactly sure how you are defining grace. According to Easton's Bible Dictionary:

    Grace — (1.) Of form or person (Prov. 1:9; 3:22; Ps. 45:2). (2.) Favour, kindness, friendship (Gen. 6:8; 18:3; 19:19; 2 Tim. 1:9). (3.) God’s forgiving mercy (Rom. 11:6; Eph. 2:5). (4.) The gospel as distinguished from the law (John 1:17; Rom. 6:14; 1 Pet. 5:12). (5.) Gifts freely bestowed by God; as miracles, prophecy, tongues (Rom. 15:15; 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 3:8). (6.) Christian virtues (2 Cor. 8:7; 2 Pet. 3:18). (7.) The glory hereafter to be revealed (1 Pet. 1:13).

    Grace is something outside of us, not in our hearts. It describes God's action in giving us what we do not deserve, while mercy describes God not giving us what we deserve.

    Perhaps you could explain your understanding of grace further?

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite [​IMG]

    [ September 27, 2002, 09:59 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     
  6. Gina B

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    Yes, I believe faith to be a gift from God, based on both my personal experience and the scriptures.
    Satan blinds the mind, who unblinds them to cause belief?
    Gina
     
  7. Mark Guthrie

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    Faith has to be a gift from God, or else Abraham would not have been tested. God instills this true faith in His followers in order to show His true grace.
     
  8. Ray Berrian

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    Ken Hamilton,

    In my most early days in Bible School the professor taught us that grace is God's unmerited favor toward man, or as in our day we would say, His unmerited favor toward humankind. Anyone who experience His grace could never in a million years take any credit for receiving and continuing to have this treasure.

    I do not believe that God gives grace and faith as one complete package ministered by God to whom He wills. We are saved by grace through, if you will, the conduit of faith which is our response to the conviction and convincing work of the Holy Spirit.

    The above view protects God and man because at the White Throne Judgment no one will have any excuses why they did not believe. The opposite view leaves open the door for a lost man or woman to say, "There is preferential treatment in this plan; God where is your justice!"

    I hope you still believe that God's justice and love for human beings is unimpeachable.
     
  9. tfisher

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    Could you explain a little further? Why does faith have to be a gift from God in order to be tested? It would seem that it would be the other way around. Why would God have to test His own faith? I have not spent a lot of time thinking about this, so I could be missing something.
     
  10. Ray Berrian

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    Chrysoprasus,

    I can well appreciate what you said about the importance of getting our faith from the Scriptures. We agree on this point. One thing that can be wrong is to say that I have found that my personal experience is a proof of the true faith. The Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses have certain experiences, criterion that they feel proves they are correct in faith. And we both know they are wrong because they do not agree with the Bible, God's Word. Experience proves nothing standing by itself. That's why the Reformers stressed, 'Sola Scriptura'--solely the Scripture.

    I too have experiences in faith and in Christian growth but 99 44/100 of my trust is in His written Word to me in the Bible. Why? Because I believe that each chapter and verse comes from Christ Himself.

    I'm sure glad that you have found the Lord or as some say were found of Him. Praise God!
     
  11. Rev. G

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    "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not of works, so that noe one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
    Ephesians 2:8-10

    "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him."
    Philippians 1:29

    "And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith."
    2 Thessalonians 3:2

    [​IMG]

    Faith is a gift from God.

    Rev. G
     
  12. Sularis

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    "For IT IS by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not of works, lest any man boast.
    Ephesians 2:8-10

    I would argue that that the gift is salvation not faith - in that God freely gives us His grace that we may repent and confess and be saved.

    1 Kings 18:21 ¶ And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

    If faith is a gift - why would opinions matter? Of course you'll probably argue OT vs NT

    I'll then just point to Hebrews 11 and the Romans passage concerning the promise passing through Abraham - I think Romans 8

    Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

    Whats with this choosing again

    Proverbs 1:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

    Hrm choosing seems to be very repetitive thread here

    2 Chronicles 15:13 That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

    Why should they not seek God after all its God who gives the gift of faith and seeking, isn't it?

    2 Chronicles 15:14 And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.

    Why should they sware something that God gave them? Or perhaps they did it....

    Nehemiah 10:29 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;

    cursing and oathing to follow God's law? curiouser and curiouser

    Ecclesiastes 5:4 ¶ When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
    Ecclesiastes 5:5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

    God seems to really desire the enforcement of those vows - and in fact i believe He goes around and kills a few vow-breakers

    Matthew 5:33 ¶ Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

    Hrm again with the keep your word thread

    2 Corinthians 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

    Psalms 119:115 ¶ Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
    2 Kings 23:3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.

    Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

    Colossians 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

    The choice of sin - not sin is ours - the choice of faith - not faith is usually ours (there are elected people)

    However let me be clearer - saving faith is not a gift from God - but there is a faith that is

    1 Corinthians 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

    as to the purpose of that faith I am unsure - but since it is only given to some Christians it has a specific purpose not properly covered in modern Baptist dogma ;)
     
  13. ForumChaplain

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    We know that as the creator, God is the source of all things. Yet in respect to the question, “Is faith a gift from God”? For the sake of drawing out scriptures that say specifically or indicatively otherwise: I will say no, at least not in the classical sense of a gift being given. The bible says that:
    Rom 10:17
    17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Based on this passage, I would say that faith is a result of hearing the word of God rather than being dealt a gift from God…

    I know that the bible says that to every man God gives a measure of faith, yet i di not see it as saving faith. But rather the ability to develope saving faith...
     
  14. Rev. G

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    Yes, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. God definitely uses His Word to bring forth new life.

    Jas. 1:18 - "Of His own will He brought us forth, by the Word of truth..."
     
  15. Music Man

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    "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?"
    1 Corinthians 4:7
     
  16. ScottEmerson

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    Matthew 8:26
    He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

    So the apostles were of little faith? They sure did a lot of cool stuff for having such little faith!

    Matthew 24:10
    At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,

    Whose faith?

    Mark 2:5
    When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

    Whose faith?

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

    Whose faith?

    John 11:45
    Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.

    So does God give men faith and allow them to do with it what they want?
     
  17. KenH

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    (Philippians 1:29 NKJV) For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

    (Acts 11:18 NKJV) When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."

    (Acts 5:31 NKJV) "Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

    (2 Timothy 2:25 NKJV) in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

    Clearly, both belief and repentance are granted by God and do not originate in man.

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite

    [ October 07, 2002, 07:36 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     
  18. ScottEmerson

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    No problem here. Without Christ, it would be impossible to believe period or suffer in Him.

    God has allowed them to repent. No problem there, either.

    Christ most certainly grants repentance for all those who choose to be part of the graft of Israel (Romans 10-11).

    (2 Timothy 2:25 NKJV) in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

    Grant repentance to those who wish it. No problem there.

    You've given four sentences that fit in perfectly with the Arminian theological paradigm. Christ's death allows us to find salvation in him. If it was not for the ultimate sacrifice, we could not completely repent of our sins.

    You have not answered to the Scriptures posted showing where faith originates.
     
  19. KenH

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    Scott wrote: "God has allowed them to repent."

    Scott, the verse doesn't say "allowed". You are reading that into the text because of your theological blindspot.

    Scott wrote: "Christ most certainly grants repentance for all those who choose"

    Scott, the verse says nothing about them choosing. You are reading that into the verse because of your theological blindspot.

    Scott wrote: "Grant repentance to those who wish it."

    Scott, the verse says nothing about wishing. You are reading that into the text because of your theological blindspot.

    Scott wrote: "You have not answered to the Scriptures posted showing where faith originates."

    Scott, yes I have. You simply do not accept this truth because of your theological blindspot.

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite

    [ October 07, 2002, 08:40 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     
  20. Ray Berrian

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    The writer of the Book of Hebrews in speaking with his gathering says that the Gospel was preached unto us, as well as to other people. Some profited by the preaching while others thought it of little or no benefit. What was the deciding factor that caused the author to believe and the rest to remain in unbelief. The answer is found in a five letter word, namely, 'faith.' The ready writer says that ' . . . the Word preached to them did not profit . . . because it was not mixed with faith. There is something about hearing the Word and amalgamating faith to it that pleases Almighty God; human response is a required act before salvation is ministered by the Holy Spirit.

    The remaining unbelievers, he says, did not profit in God's greatest of all blessings not because of God's predilection to terrorize the non-elect in Hell forever, but simply because they did not respond with faith in Christ's message of everlasting life. [Hebrews 4:2]. [​IMG]
     

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