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  1. #1
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    Faith is a Gift—Not a Work! –NC

    Though it will manifest works (Jam 2:18), faith in God is not something which can be produced, only desired; and even the desire for faith does not originate from man because it too must be given from God. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will (desire) and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). All this is also readily confirmed by what John the Baptist said; “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

    If faith was a work it could not be used in delivering saving grace, by virtue of Ephesians 2:8, 9—“not of works”. ”Works” have no part in obtaining nor retaining grace but rather are products of the evidence of grace, same as “faith is the evidence” of grace, which cannot be seen except by works (Heb 11:1).

    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (faith) not of yourselves: it (faith) is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” A good example of faith being a gift (not faith as one of the gifts of the Spirit) is Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . faith.” Another point of interest is the fact that Christ “has the preeminence” in all things (Col 1:18).

    When the Bible commentator John Gill (1697–1771) asked a Greek/Hebrew professor what the word “that” in Ephesians 2:8 referred to His reply was: "Here you ask a wonderful theological/exegetical question to which I can only give an opinion, and not a definitive answer. The problem is that there is NO precise referent. Grace is feminine. Faith is feminine. And even Salvation (as a noun) is feminine. Yet it must be one of these three at least, and maybe more than one, or all three in conjunction.

    “Since all three come from God and not from man, the latter might seem the more likely. However, it is a tautology (needless repetition of an idea or statement) to say salvation and grace are "not of yourselves," and in that case it certainly looks more like the passage is really pointing out that man cannot even take credit for his own act of faith, but that faith was itself created by God and implanted in us that we might believe. So, that is basically my opinion, though others obviously disagree strenuously, but from an exegetical standpoint, the other positions have to explain away the matter of the tautology."

    There is no better prospective concerning our security in Christ than to realize that we have nothing to offer God other than ourselves. As it has been well stated, “When Christ comes to us He does not use anything He sees, but what He brings.” Understanding and maintaining this scenario throughout our earthly fellowship with God is the sole means by which a Christian can “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18). Otherwise one is bereft to bare the bondage of self-sufficiency, thus lacking the “all sufficiency” which abounds only if it is “all grace”; “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor 8:9).

    When we think God’s blessings have to be deserved, we place emphasis on man, which results in “little faith” (Mat 6:30); when we realize none of His blessings in this life require merit, it evidences “great faith” (Mat 8:10). I believe many Christians have not fully enjoyed God’s blessings because they think they have to deserve them, in which case it would void of grace. It should be common knowledge in Christendom that justice is receiving what we deserve. Mercy is not receiving what we deserve and grace is receiving what we do not deserve.
    The Christian life is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.

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  3. #2
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    So I have some questions here.

    1 Tim 1:19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
    Was it God that shipwrecked their faith, or was it the man himself?

    1 Tim 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
    Was it God who caused these people to lose their faith, or was it their choice? ( 1 Tim 6:21 )

    Heb 10:38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.
    If God gives us the faith, is it he who also takes away our faith?

    Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
    Does God have to believe in God, or do we have to believe in God?

    Jas 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
    Why would God test what comes from himself?

    Rev 14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
    It says here, those who keep the commandments and keep their faith. If God gave the faith to them, how could they lose it?

    As to your statement, faith is not a work, I humbly disagree. Sometimes it is.
    Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;
    Heb 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.
    Heb 11:21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
    Heb 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.
    Heb 11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's edict.
    Heb 11:24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,

    When the disciples asked Jesus for more faith, did he give them more, or say "even a little is enough".
    Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
    Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.

    2 Tim 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
    Last edited by B-A-C; 01-25-13 at 05:51 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NetChaplain View Post
    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (faith) not of yourselves: it (faith) is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” A good example of faith being a gift (not faith as one of the gifts of the Spirit) is Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . faith.” Another point of interest is the fact that Christ “has the preeminence” in all things (Col 1:18).
    So in Eph 2:8, there are three things mentioned here. Grace, Salvation, and Faith, notice the ; It separates the word faith from the other two words grace and saved (salvation).
    So if God gives us the faith, he doesn't give us the grace and salvation? Those are a gift from us?
    Or is grace and salvation the gift from God and the faith comes from us?

    In Galations 5:22 it says faith is FRUIT of the spirit. A fruit is the opposite of a gift. It's what is produced, not what is given.
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    Quote Originally Posted by B-A-C View Post
    1 Tim 1:19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

    Was it God that shipwrecked their faith, or was it the man himself?
    Hi BAC - Thanks for your reply, which I find very applicable to the thread. I've learned there is a grace of faith "through" which we are saved (Eph 2:8) and a doctrine of faith which is Soteriology--the study of Scriptures (1 Tim 3:9). Hymenaeus and Alexander are the ones who have caused the shipwreck for not "keeping faith (doctrine, not grace of faith) and a good conscience".

    If one has never received the grace of faith, they will inevitably apostatize the doctrine of faith, which is the written Word and I believe the grace of faith is a "calling and a gift of God and is irrevocable" (Rom 11:29), in which one would not walk away from or reject God's Word.

    One who has the former will never reject the latter; but one lacking the former can and will reject the latter. Hence the term "reject", same as the Jews rejecting the doctrine of faith--which is the word of God (in this case the gospel of Christ) as displayed in Acts 13:46. This apostatizing is always presented in a way that depicts one as departing from the doctrine, which is evidence of lacking grace (1 John 2:19).

    Such is the case if one only professes the grace of faith but has never possessed it, as James 2:18 notes that "a man may say he has faith", but "in works deny" it (Titus 1:16).
    The Christian life is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B-A-C View Post
    So in Eph 2:8, there are three things mentioned here. Grace, Salvation, and Faith, notice the ; It separates the word faith from the other two words grace and saved (salvation).

    In Galations 5:22 it says faith is FRUIT of the spirit. A fruit is the opposite of a gift. It's what is produced, not what is given.
    Eph 2:8, 9 depicts all three coming from God because none of them are works of man but of God, which He works in us first, then through us to others. The fruit of the Spirit is the same as the Spirit, which is given (gift), not produced.
    The Christian life is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NetChaplain View Post
    If one has never received the grace of faith, they will inevitably apostatize the doctrine of faith, which is the written Word and I believe the grace of faith is a "calling and a gift of God and is irrevocable" (Rom 11:29), in which one would not walk away from or reject God's Word.
    Some would argue that this verse means, because faith can be lost, it must not be a gift from him. 1 Tim 4:1; 1 Tim 6:10;

    So, then if some are never saved in the first place, how does anyone know they are saved?

    If God "forces" some to be saved, and he "forces" others not to be saved, how does this verse fit in?
    2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    The Bible teaches over and over again that those who are saved can choose to walk away from God should they choose to do so.
    The nation of Israel did it literally dozens of times. The prodigal son did it. Some of the seeds in the parable of the sower did it. Judas did it.
    You can't "fall away from" something you never had in the first place. I can't leave New York City if I've never been there.
    The Bible talks about those who "remain in the faith" and those who don't. Again, I can't remain some place I've never been.

    Mat 13:20 "The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
    Mat 13:21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
    Mat 13:22 "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

    notice this temporary acceptance is totally different from those who totally reject it.

    Mat 13:19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

    The word "backsliding" is mentioned a dozen times in the OT. Jer 3:6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 22; Jer 8:5 ; Jer 31:22; Jer 49:4; Hos 4:16; Hos 11:7; Hos 14:4

    In Romans 11; verse 20 we see that people can be “broken off” because of unbelief.
    In verse 23 even though they were broken off, they believed again, thus God was able to “graft them in again.”
    Rom 11:16 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.
    Rom 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,
    Rom 11:18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
    Rom 11:19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
    Rom 11:20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
    Rom 11:21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
    Rom 11:22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
    Rom 11:23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
    A person cannot be something “again” for the first time. They would have had to be that something once already in order to be it “again.”

    Gal 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel
    How can you desert a team that you've never been a part of? Can a deserter who has never been in the military be a deserter?

    1 Tim 5:15 for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.
    Turned aside from what? Something they never had in the first place?

    Apparently just because your name was written in the book of life, it doesn’t mean it will always stay there forever, it can be removed.
    Psa 69:28 May they be blotted out of the book of life And may they not be recorded with the righteous

    The verse below aren't talking about someone who isn't a believer or hasn't accomplished anything in their faith.
    2 Jn 1:8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
    2 Jn 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
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    Quote Originally Posted by B-A-C View Post
    Some would argue that this verse means, because faith can be lost, it must not be a gift from him. 1 Tim 4:1; 1 Tim 6:10;

    So, then if some are never saved in the first place, how does anyone know they are saved?

    If God "forces" some to be saved, and he "forces" others not to be saved, how does this verse fit in?
    2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    The Bible teaches over and over again that those who are saved can choose to walk away from God should they choose to do so.
    The nation of Israel did it literally dozens of times. The prodigal son did it. Some of the seeds in the parable of the sower did it. Judas did it.
    You can't "fall away from" something you never had in the first place. I can't leave New York City if I've never been there.
    The Bible talks about those who "remain in the faith" and those who don't. Again, I can't remain some place I've never been.

    Mat 13:20 "The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
    Mat 13:21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
    Mat 13:22 "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

    notice this temporary acceptance is totally different from those who totally reject it.

    Mat 13:19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

    The word "backsliding" is mentioned a dozen times in the OT. Jer 3:6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 22; Jer 8:5 ; Jer 31:22; Jer 49:4; Hos 4:16; Hos 11:7; Hos 14:4

    In Romans 11; verse 20 we see that people can be “broken off” because of unbelief.
    In verse 23 even though they were broken off, they believed again, thus God was able to “graft them in again.”
    Rom 11:16 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.
    Rom 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,
    Rom 11:18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
    Rom 11:19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
    Rom 11:20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
    Rom 11:21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
    Rom 11:22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
    Rom 11:23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
    A person cannot be something “again” for the first time. They would have had to be that something once already in order to be it “again.”

    Gal 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel
    How can you desert a team that you've never been a part of? Can a deserter who has never been in the military be a deserter?

    1 Tim 5:15 for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.
    Turned aside from what? Something they never had in the first place?

    Apparently just because your name was written in the book of life, it doesn’t mean it will always stay there forever, it can be removed.
    Psa 69:28 May they be blotted out of the book of life And may they not be recorded with the righteous

    The verse below aren't talking about someone who isn't a believer or hasn't accomplished anything in their faith.
    2 Jn 1:8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
    2 Jn 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
    Hi BAC. Rejecting grace , though difficult, I agree with you is possible.But it takes determined deliberate effort on our art to do so. Once jsutified, we do not lose our salvation by default, by accident,neither by any stretch of the imagination through anything God does. Because God's love is such that He does all He possibly can within the realms and parameters set by Himself regarding our freewill to choose our own destiny, thus He makes it as hard as possible for us to turn away from Him. The OT is full of examples where God sent His servants the prophets to plead with Israel to return to Him and accpet once again His grace. Israel turned to sin only through persistent and stubborn effort, rejecting God's counsel, blocking their ears from His rebukes, and killing His messengers. The NT and the incarnation didn't even change their determined rebellious wickedness, as exemplfied in the killing of the Son, and the stoning of Stephen.
    Acts 7:51 ¶ Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
    52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
    53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
    54 ¶ When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
    55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
    56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
    57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
    58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him:
    and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

    Right up to this time,even after Calvary, God was still working in His apostles and disciples pleading for Israel to accept His grace. And though the nation of Israel after this was rejected as God's vehicle for sharing the good news of God's love and redemption, yet today, even after all the millenia of rejection and disbelief, God is still pleading with individual Jews to believe in His Son. And praise God, many are. Hallelujah! But this history of acceptance and rejection on the part of man with regards God's salvation reveals one thing above all others: the grace of God is deep, profound, all-encompassing, and very very hard to turn away from once found.
    That said however, as the Galatians proved, it is deception that we need to be wary of. We can so easily be deceived into error that can affect our salvation, by trusting in ourselves apart from grace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NetChaplain View Post
    “Since all three come from God and not from man, the latter might seem the more likely. However, it is a tautology (needless repetition of an idea or statement) to say salvation and grace are "not of yourselves," and in that case it certainly looks more like the passage is really pointing out that man cannot even take credit for his own act of faith, but that faith was itself created by God and implanted in us that we might believe. So, that is basically my opinion, though others obviously disagree strenuously, but from an exegetical standpoint, the other positions have to explain away the matter of the tautology."
    Very nice thread NC. Here's another scripture that indicates faith is a gift from Father.

    3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us
    Romans 12:3 (NLT)
    Last edited by jiggyfly; 01-26-13 at 09:12 AM.
    Religion is an ugly tyrant.

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    Measuring ourselves by the faith God has given us.
    Is this measuring how much faith we have? Or is this measuring ourselves against the 'the faith"? As in the "religion" he has given us.

    Acts 16:5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.
    Is this verse talking about individual belief? Or about the beliefs of the church?

    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

    Php 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,

    Col 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

    Here are some other versions of Rom 12:3
    (GW) Because of the kindness that God has shown me, I ask you not to think of yourselves more highly than you should. Instead, your thoughts should lead you to use good judgment based on what God has given each of you as believers.

    (MSG) I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
    Last edited by B-A-C; 01-26-13 at 10:23 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by B-A-C View Post
    Some would argue that this verse means, because faith can be lost, it must not be a gift from him. 1 Tim 4:1; 1 Tim 6:10;

    So, then if some are never saved in the first place, how does anyone know they are saved?

    If God "forces" some to be saved, and he "forces" others not to be saved, how does this verse fit in?
    2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    The Bible teaches over and over again that those who are saved can choose to walk away from God should they choose to do so.
    It bears repeating that one will leave the teachings of grace through faith, having never chosen to experience saving grace through the teaching of faith. One can know the teachings of faith in Scripture and choose not live in them, which will eventuate in their departure from them, in which case they are not departing grace, which they did not have, but the teachings of faith and grace.
    The Christian life is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.

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