What is the source of faith?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by William C, Feb 13, 2003.

  1. William C

    William C
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    What is the source of faith? This seems like the real dividing line in the Calvinism vs. Arminian debate.

    We all agree that Grace is from God, but from where does faith come?

    Some Arminians argue that faith is not from God, but what does the scripture say?

    The Arminian who attempts to fight this battle does so in vain. For he does not fight man, but he fights the very words of God. For faith is no less than God's gift to his creation. Who could question that in light of the Biblical revelation?

    The ability to see the sky, moon, stars, rivers, mountains and think to ourselves there must be someone who ordered this beautiful creation. There must be something greater than ourselves. It's our God given faith that hopes in the unseen things, and gives us that certainty that hope is true.

    However, scripture's handling of faith is much different than many Calvinists are willing to acknowledge. For if in salvation faith was given to us in the same manner as grace was given; why is it that faith is always seen as man's possession. For example, when faith is spoken of in the scripture it's, "your faith," or "our faith," or "the faith of man." Never is it refered to as "His faith" or the "faith of God," as is grace. Scripture always says, "by his grace" or "the grace of God," but never refers to faith as being in God's possession. Why?

    Faith is different from Grace in that God has given faith to everyone as a part of His image in them. This, I believe, is what Paul speaks of in Romans 1:18 and following when he speaks of the wrath of God being poured out upon mankind so that "what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew of God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him..."

    It says, "they knew God." The Bible clearly teaches that no one has seen God, for God is Spirit. How would anyone "know God" expect that they have faith he exists? Now, I'm not speaking of "saving faith" for faith in and of itself cannot save. It's only a means by which Grace is applied. Once Grace has been applied then and only then does it become "saving" and "effectual" and all the things mentioned in the epistle of James.

    Faith is a universal gift to all mankind so that no man has an excuse. Like other gifts from God, we must be good stewards of it. We must apply faith just as we apply hope or love. If our faith is placed in the Lord Jesus Christ we will receive everlasting life. But, if our faith is placed in darwinism, buddism, or even atheism it is good for nothing.

    So, faith is a gift from God, but the scripture clearly calls and fully expects us to place our faith in Christ. This is the "will" by which God has allowed man the responsibility to determine his own fate.

    What say ye?

    With Respect,
    Bro. Bill
     
  2. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    Heb.12

    [1] Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

    [2] Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Since he is the author and finisher of our faith what more need be said... IMHO!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  3. William C

    William C
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    You are correct sir. He is the one who authors and perfects our faith in Him. Thanks for the support text.

    With Respect,
    Brother Bill
     
  4. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    No you misunderstand... He is the perfection of Faith... Not only the author but he is the finisher also... Without him there is no Faith!... He is the reason for your faith and not your faith is the reason for him!... Even if you had no faith he is the embodiment of pure Faith!... Would not the definition of our faith... Be the Living Gospel of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  5. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Amen, Brother Glen.

    Bill,

    More funky word games courtesy of Billism.

    Grace = gift. If you give something to someone, they gain possession of it.

    Here we not only see "your salvation" referring to God's salvation but to OUR salvation, and we also see from where we get OUR salvation.

    Given your propensity to build an entire theology around "us", "you", etc., perhaps I should be calling this "Pronounism" instead of "Billism".
     
  6. William C

    William C
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    No I think you misunderstood. He is the prefection of "OUR FAITH" which is place in Him. Without Him our faith could not "abide" in Him.

    You wrote: "He is the embodiment of pure faith." I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Are you saying that Jesus was fully God, fully man AND FULLY FAITH? That doesn't make any sense. Or, do you mean by this that he is the perfect example of faithfulness? That makes sense. Please explain.

    The writer of Hebrews is using an analogy here in 12:2, literally comparing Jesus to the writer of a book calling him the "author" and the "editior." He is the Word (logos); the very words of our faith. If you spoke to a Muslim and said, "What faith do you hold to?" They might say, "The faith written in the Koran." Of course, we know that is misdirected, misguided, dead faith. But by the defination of faith being "the substance of things hope for and the evidence of things unseen." They are still practicing a type of faith in a non-existant unseen force.

    So when we say that our faith is in Christ. It doesn't mean that Jesus literally becomes faith. He is not "faith," for faith is a possession of man given by God. Faith and Christ are not one in the same as Christ and God are. You could say that Christ is the embodiment of God, in that they are one in the same, you can't say that about faith. Instead he is the object of our faith. He is the one we beleive in. He is the author and prefector of the divine book that reveals our faith. The words describe and define our faith, but scripture is clear that it is our responsiblity to place our faith in Him and his Words.

    With Respect,
    Bro. Bill
     
  7. William C

    William C
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    If faith is not a God given charactertic in man from birth how do we explain how tribes in the remotest parts of the world sense time began have believed in a higher unseen force. No doubt their faith is misguided, but just has Romans 1 says they "knew God" because of the eternal qualities that are revealed in his creation. The only way someone could "know God" is by the means of faith. This once again is not "saving faith" but it is a means by which Grace is applied once someone places their faith in Christ.

    What say ye?

    Bro. Bill
     
  8. npetreley

    npetreley
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    You're saying he is the roman magistrate of our faith? ;)

    And here we go again with building a theology on "OUR". At least Pronounism is consistent in its approach, if not in its logic or results.
     
  9. npetreley

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    Oh, and you obviously missed this pronoun, which I assume you'll be yanking from the Pronounism version of the Bible.

    YOUR salvation? According to Pronounism, salvation comes from us, then. But wait. Psalm 119 suggests that salvation is God's.

    But Billism comes to the rescue here. Notice that Psalm 119 occurs in the OLD testament. Obviously that was meant only for the Jews, since the writer was speaking ONLY of the Jews. But in the NEW testament, as in 1 Peter, the writer is speaking to people in apostolic times. So when he says "YOUR SALVATION" he obviously means that this is a special dispensation when salvation originates with either the NT people, the apostles, or the Gentiles.

    So my point stands.

    Wow, now I see why you created Billism/Pronounism. It can be fun! You get to make up anything you want based on pronouns and then when other people are left speechless by the absurdity of it, you assert that your point stands!
     
  10. William C

    William C
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    YOUR salvation? According to Pronounism, salvation comes from us, then. But wait. Psalm 119 suggests that salvation is God's. </font>[/QUOTE]I said faith comes from God. If you would actually read my posts you might see the arguments I'm making instead of the ones you ASSUME I am. Salvation is from God, given to man; thus, it is His plan of salvation, given to man thus becoming "your salvation." Just as faith is from God and given to man, thus becoming "your faith." Thanks for making my point for me.

    You don't agree that faith comes from God? I do. But, that is the only argument of mine you attack, which just so happens to be the part of the argument we agree on.

    If your going to debate me, may I suggest you stick to our points of contention instead of the points in which we agree upon. It's easier that way. [​IMG]

    How about you consider my argument based out of Romans 1. Or debate my point that faith is given by God to all men. Neither of these points are contended.

    God bless, I await you answer.

    Bill
     
  11. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    Okay Brother Bill I disagree with that last statement... All men have faith!

    2Thes.3

    [1] Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

    [2] And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

    I much as we would like to believe that all men are capable of obtaining faith the scriptures plainly state this is not true. Since the scripture is of no private interpretation... scripture which is the standard and measurement of all doctrine... States all men have not faith!... Unless the all men is only the elect... Then all men have faith!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  12. npetreley

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    I've made your point for you? Cool! That would mean I've echoed your analysis, which follows. Your premise, according to Pronounism, is that since faith is referred to as OUR faith...

    Therefore, according to the same reasoning, since salvation is referred to as OUR salvation, and we both agree that faith and salvation come from God, it follows that salvation is a universal gift to mankind and we either choose to exercise it or not.

    You can argue, as the Arminians do, that the term OUR salvation only means it is given to us as a gift from God after we exercise our faith. But that saws off the branch upon which your original and most ridiculous faith argument sits, because by saying OUR salvation is OURs only because it is given conditionally, you demonstrated that OUR faith doesn't imply it is given unversally to all mankind. Your point evaporates in the puff of smoke from whence it came.

    Give it up, Bill. Even an 8 year old can recognize that Pronounism is a crock.
     
  13. William C

    William C
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    Glen this is a great verse, especially in light of verse 1. For Paul is reminding the beleivers to pray for him so that the Word (of which our faith rests in) may spread rapidly just as it had with them before they had faith. Then he goes on to give a prayer request that they will be delivered from the evil men who have not heard of Christ and have yet to place faith in Him. The word faith in this verse is not speaking of a "knowledge and assent" of God's existance as is Romans 1, it is speaking of "the faith" that saves. The faith which has been placed in Christ. Paul is simply saying not all men have faith in Christ. He is in no way impling that these men are unable to have faith in Christ for why would he say in verse one to pray that the word of the Lord spreads rapidly, just as it did with you. If he was not intending to take his faith and preach it to these evil men so that they to might hear it and believe.

    "Whosoever will believe" is a geniune call for all men to place their faith in Christ. To deny that all men have that capasity is to make scripture into a deceptive book, saying on the one hand that "all can't have faith" but on the other hand that all are geniunly called to faith in Christ. This is absurd reasoning and not biblically founded.

    Your avoiding my point in Romans 1 about no man having an excuse because they all "know God" through his general revelation, which is a measure of faith, is it not?

    Bill
     
  14. rufus

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    I THINK IT WELL to turn a to observe adoringly the fountainhead of our salvation, which is the grace of God. “By grace are ye saved.” Because God is gracious, therefore sinful men are forgiven, converted, purified, and saved. It is not because of anything in them, or that ever can be in them, that they are saved; but because of the boundless love, goodness, pity, compassion, mercy, and grace of God. Wait a moment, then, at the well–head.

    What an abyss is the grace of God! Who can measure its breadth? Who can fathom its depth? Like all the rest of the divine attributes, it is infinite. God is full of love, for “God is love.” God is full of goodness; the very name “God” is short for “good.” Unbounded goodness and love enter into the very essence of the Godhead. It is because “his mercy endureth for ever” that men are not destroyed; because “his compassions fail not” that sinners are brought to Him and forgiven.

    Remember this; or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much on the faith which is the channel of salvation as to forget the grace which is the fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is the work of God’s grace in us. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost. “No man cometh unto me,” says Jesus, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” So that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the result of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last moving cause of salvation; and faith, essential as it is, is only an important part of the machinery which grace employs. We are saved “through faith,” but salvation is “by grace.” Sound forth those words as with the archangel’s trumpet: “By grace are ye saved.” What glad tidings for the undeserving!

    Faith occupies the position of a channel. Grace is the fountain and the stream; faith is the aqueduct along which the flood of mercy flows down to refresh the thirsty sons of men. It is a great pity when the aqueduct is broken. The aqueduct must be kept entire to convey the current; and, even so, faith must be true and sound, leading right up to God and coming right down to ourselves, that it may become a serviceable channel of mercy to our souls.

    Still, I again remind you that faith is only the channel or aqueduct and not the fountainhead, and we must not look so much to it as to exalt it above the divine source of all blessing which lies in the grace of God. Never make a Christ out of your faith nor think of it as if it were the independent source of your salvation. Our life is found in “looking unto Jesus,” not in looking to our own faith. By faith all things become possible to us; yet the power is not in the faith, but in the God on whom faith relies. Grace is the powerful engine, and faith is the chain by which the carriage of the soul is attached to the great motive power. The righteousness of faith is not the moral excellence of faith, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ which faith grasps and appropriates. The peace within the soul is not derived from the contemplation of our own faith; but it comes to us from Him who is our peace.

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  15. tyndale1946

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    Amen! [​IMG] Amen! [​IMG] and AMEN! [​IMG] ... Brother Rufus [​IMG]

    That's is me laughing with joy [​IMG] ... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  16. William C

    William C
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    Therefore, according to the same reasoning, since salvation is referred to as OUR salvation, and we both agree that faith and salvation come from God, it follows that salvation is a universal gift to mankind and we either choose to exercise it or not. </font>[/QUOTE]Yes, salvation is made available for all mankind but not all men have faith in Christ, so not all men have salvation applied to their lives and they cannot call in theirs. Salvation is God's and it can become man's through faith.

    You believe that faith is a gift of God at the time of their salvation or new birth. But man demonstrates faith in God apart from salvation otherwise how could the men in Romans 1 "know God" if not through the means of faith. Shoot even the demons according to James demonstate a faith in God's existance. Where does that faith come from and why is it given to the lost apart from salvation? The "dead faith" of merely believing God exists becomes saving once their is knowledge and assent to the truths that God reveals through the gospel.

    All mankind demonstates faith in something. It's the object of that faith that makes it salvific as the means by which the grace is applied.

    Oh brother! What is amazing to me about this is that I actually followed your logic through this cloudy maze of misapplied arguments. And let me say your logic fails miserably in appling to my arguments.

    Your contending that since salvation comes through faith (which we should both agree on), that faith can't be universally ginen to all, otherwise salvation would be universally given to all man as well. Which is a ridiculous conclusion to draw from my arguments. Every one can have faith without placing or exercising that faith in Christ. Universal faith in no way necessitates universal salvation, but only the opportunity for a geniune universal call, which is clearly seen throughout scripture.

    You have yet to address my argument in Romans 1.

    Don't put yourself down to an 8 year old level Npety, your at least at a 10 year old level in my opinion.

    Let's start talking about Universal atonement and the scriptures use of the word "all" and then we'll see who starts pulling out the pronouns.

    Bill
     
  17. William C

    William C
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    Once again, let me say you are avoiding the arguments.

    Faith is a gift of God's grace!!!!!!!!! I AGREE WITH YOU!

    Our next breath is a gift of grace. The grace of God that allows us to experience any joy or goodness in our sinful world is above and beyond what any of us deserve. Theologically this is refered to even by Calvinists as "common grace," or grace that everyman experiences from God's graciousness to his creation.

    It is within this common grace that God places within everyman the abilty to "know God." That knowledge of his existance is not salvific for even the demons believe that he exists. This is a faith apart from salvation that is inate within every man, making them without excuse and thus responsible to respond to the God they "know" by having faith in his Word.

    Once again, please address my arguments.

    If you keep saying faith comes from God, I'm going to keep agreeing with you. If you say that faith is a result of God's grace, I'm also going to agree with you. If you say that the Holy Spirit must move in the life of a man before he can have faith in Christ, I will agree with you.

    i know I don't fit your usual strawman, and that requires you to actually think before you attack, but it would be nice to deal with the issues that we disagree about, don't you think?

    Bro. Bill
     
  18. rufus

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    Bro. Bill said:

    If you keep saying faith comes from God, I'm going to keep agreeing with you. If you say that faith is a result of God's grace, I'm also going to agree with you. If you say that the Holy Spirit must move in the life of a man before he can have faith in Christ, I will agree with you.

    rufus is glad to know that you have finally come around to a Biblical view, brother. Wow! I didn't believe it possible.

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  19. William C

    William C
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    Once again Rufus you avoid the arguments your doctrinal system can't answer.

    Let me ask all of you a very simple question: Can a man "know God" without having any measure of faith? If so, how?

    Thanks,
    Bill
     
  20. Bible-belted

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    Bill,

    May I ask what you mean by "know God" and "faith"?

    After all demons know God, and have faith, and yet they shudder.

    The problem is that their knowledge of God has nothing to do with a relationship such as one would expect in a justified person. Nor does the demons' faith have any correspondance to that which justifes.

    So definitions would be helpful.
     

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