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Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Dec 18, 2011.
What is your understanding concerning faith?
Faith works through love.
Some indicate that faith is the work of God. Is that what you are referring to as 'love?'
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." - Heb. 11:1
Is faith something just granted to a select few and withheld from others by God?
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" - Eph.2:8
Faith is not "something" as in tangible.
Faith is confidence in the word of another.
Jesus said one must have faith as a small child in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore even a small child has faith. They have faith in their parents, that their parents will provide, protect, nourish, them. What is important is not the faith, in and of itself, but the object of the faith. The object of that simple child-like faith is the parent. Likewise the object of one's faith needs to be Christ or he cannot be saved. Or for a Christian, he will be unable to walk the Christian life successfully unless he keeps his focus on Christ.
We all have faith. We exercise it every day. I have faith in my wife, that when she says she will do something for me that she will accomplish what she says. That is faith.
The Bible says the same thing about Abraham in Romans 4
But Abraham was strong in faith believing that what God had promised he was fully able to perform.
--That is faith. Believing the word of another, and in this case the Word of God. In Biblical salvation, unless the object of your faith is Christ and his atoning work on the cross, one cannot be saved. What is the object of your faith? That is the question that needs to be answered.
Let us look at the verse in its context and when we do it becomes evident that it is salvation that is the gift of God:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph.2:8-9).
Paul is obviously contrasting what is received as a "gift" versus that which is said by some to be obtained by "works."
And here we can see that the Apostle Paul makes it plain that the things which lead to "salvation are not received by "works":
"Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works" (Ro.4:6).
It is salvation which comes through eternal life which is in the Son which is the "gift":
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Ro.6:23).
HP: Does this verse teach that faith is a gift of God to some and withheld from others?
According to this verse, what is not of 'yourselves?' Can something be 'in a sense' 'not of ourselves,' and yet 'in another sense' ourselves are involved?
No verse teaches that faith is a gift (at least not to unbelievers).
This verse doesn't either.
The entire subject here is salvation.
You are saved:
You are saved by grace.
You are saved by faith.
Salvation is the gift of God (not faith).
Salvation is not of yourselves.
Salvation is not of works.
The subject is not faith; the subject is salvation.
Salvation is the gift of God. Faith is the means by which believers appropriate the gift. This verse does not teach, one way or the other, whether "faith is a gift of God to some and withheld from others". But I will ask you a question;
Is the faith necessary to obtain the gift (of salvation) given to all? In other words, is eveyone saved?
Here we see Paul speak about the "god of this age" blinding the minds of people so that the light of the gospel does not shine unto them:
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this age hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor.4:3-4).
From this we can understand that even those who are "lost" and "believe not" have the ability to understand and believe the gospel. If it were not for the fact that their minds have been blinded its light would shine unto them--"lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Therefore we can understand that all men have the ability to understand and believe the gospel, even those who do not believe it and remain lost.
That completely contradicts the Calvinists who say that only some men can believe because God only gives some men the gift of faith.
HP: God give to all men (or would Biblicist demand I say 'man,' or limit the text to only Adam and Eve?)the measure of faith. Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
And to your last question, my answer would be no. I am certainly not a universalist.
God did not give to every man "a measure of faith? (Rom.12:3). In verse two does Paul tell "every man" "not to be conformed to this world but to be renewed by the Holy Spirit?" Of course not. He is writing to believers, and believers only. After salvation, God gives believers a measure of faith, and that according to their growth. It is different with each one. If this is a Calvinistic proof-text it certainly is yanked way out of context. There is no verse that says God gives faith to unbelievers. God does not give faith (a spiritual gift, or fruit of the spirit) to the unsaved.
As DHK has indicated, the context bears out that Paul is speaking to believers in Rom. 12. In 12:1 Paul says "I beseech you therefore, brethren...". In 12:2 Paul again contrasts his audience with those who are "conformed to this world". And finally in 12:3 Paul indicates his intended audience is "everyone who is among you". Who is the "you"? It is found in verse 1. Paul is beseeching the "brethren".
Likewise we find Paul comforting the Thessalonians with these words, " Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith". - 2 Thess. 3:2
I pray this helps.
HP: Where are the words stated or implied that the statement made is 'ONLY" to 'everyone around you' or to a 'selective audience?' Show us from the text, and not from some philosophically convenient position.
Are we to suppose that if an audience is such and such that one can reasonably assume that if one uses the words "every man" that it only applies to "everyone who is among you?" No such thing can reasonably be established from reason or the text itself. What utter foolishness that could gender if such was used as a principle to be followed in Scriptural interpretation. Think about it carefully.
The words are stated in the Bibilical text cited; Romans 12:1-3. The context always tells us who we are to consider the audience to be.
HP: Now I realize that a man convinced against his will remains of the same opinion still, but I will attempt to reason with you for a minute.
You are a pastor. Are all of your remarks from the pulpit addressed to a single group? Do you ever address your audience, speaking in the first person, to soften an illustration? Do you sometimes address them as a body of believers, knowing full well that sinners are in the congregation? Do you ever speak of the sin that lies within the congregation when you know full well there is a mixed audience or that most of them are walking pure before the Lord?
Like it or not, Scripture is no different. It is a book written in common parlance with mixed audiences. Yes there were unbelievers then present as there are today. Certainly some remarks are only applicable to believers or sinners yet just because one speaks of 'all men' in an audience of all believers in no wise suggests or indicates that the 'all men' is not a universal statement. If one is going to establish proof 'all men' is not in reality 'all men,' it is going to have to be based on some other evidence than the group such remarks are made to.
HP: "Are all of your remarks from the pulpit addressed to a single group?"
HP: "Do you ever address your audience, speaking in the first person, to soften an illustration?"
Me: I occasionally use myself as an example.
HP: "Do you sometimes address them as a body of believers, knowing full well that sinners are in the congregation?"
Me: I always address them as a body of believers, knowing full well there are sinners in the congregation, myself included.
HP: "Do you ever speak of the sin that lies within the congregation when you know full well there is a mixed audience or that most of them are walking pure before the Lord?"
Me: I know no man on this side of glory walks perfectly pure before the Lord. And therefore I speak every week on the sin that lies within the congregation.
Like the Bible, I have an intended message for an intended audience. The fact the audience may be mixed doesn't negate the impetus of the message nor to whom it is intended.
Pastor David, if you use the words 'all men' in a small group that you KNOW are all believers, can I wisely assume your remark is only speaking to those in the group I am addressing? For instance if you said, "All have sinned,' is that limited to just those in that specific group being addressed, or are you making a univeral statement? Paul stated "all men have received a measure of faith." You have produced anything to suggest that such is not a universal statement period. You can assume it via a presupposition, but you cannot reasonably support your stated position by the text itself or the specific audience it was spoken to.