Is Faith a Gift or a Reliance?
From one essay I recently read came the following: “Ephesians 2:8 – for by grace you are saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; – Grace means salvation comes through Faith which is an unmeritorious gift that is not inherently part of natural man; a spiritually dead man to the True God, True Gospel and The True Jesus Christ.” Is Faith a Gift from God? – Scripture interprets Scripture (2to3scriptures.com)
The author’s assertion was that faith is the gift. Many others have said
that faith in Jesus was a gift. All that have come to believe the Gospel (Good
News) was by hearing or reading it. There are very few exceptions as it was with Paul. Then there is the subject of faith without works being a dead faith. (James 2:20) That’s a different subject.
The part I disagree with is “…which is an unmeritorious gift that is not inherently part of…”. Salvation does indeed come through faith and natural man is “spiritually dead to the True God, True Gospel and The True Jesus Christ.” The “…and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” is in reference to and descriptive of “for by grace you are saved”, however, “it is through faith”. The Ephesians were a group of believers that were rich beyond measure in Jesus Christ, but living as beggars not knowing their true wealth. They had to be reminded that the spiritual walk by faith was rooted in their spiritual wealth given by grace and not of themselves.
Faith by definition in the New Testament is from the Greek term:
G4102 – πίστις – persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself Derivation: from G3982; KJV Usage: assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
>G3982 – πείθωto – convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty) Derivation: a primary verb; KJV Usage: agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
Faith begins when one agrees with the Gospel (Good News). One cannot agree with something until they either hear or read that which they agree with. When one hears and agrees with the Gospel; it is like a seed is planted. (Acts 18:8, Matt. 13:1-23) When the people of Berea heard, they searched the scriptures daily and many believed. When a seed (hearing) falls on good ground (ears), it is nourished and tended (Scripture and Scriptural teaching), and it continues to grow, hence the expression – growing in faith. (2 Thess. 1:3) One must cultivate and tend their faith or it will wither and die. When one is convinced by the Word of God, credence (confidence) is increased and reliance upon Christ becomes a moral conviction. The confidence of Jesus (Faith of Jesus) was to hang on the cross for the forgiveness of sin and be the Firstfruit of our salvation. (Rev. 12:17. 14:12. 22:14)
God gave his only begotten son, so that whoever believes in him may not
perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Salvation is by God’s grace. That
is the gift! Faith is the belief and trust in that gift! There is a lot of philosophy out there that loves to mingle. (Col. 2:8, 2 Cor. 11:14-15) How can
faith in something be a gift when that something to believe in is the gift?
Isn’t that like having your cake and eating too? That’s not philosophy or
theology. It’s common sense – wisdom 101.
Paul and company was comforted by the Thessalonians’ faith concerning their affliction and distress, yet they were praying night and day for the
opportunity to see them and maybe perfect what was lacking in theirs. (1 Thess. 3:7-10) Faith is not only something we have towards God, it is also something we can have towards one another.
Can gifts be given by grace according to one’s proportion of faith? (Romans
12:3-18) Before jumping he gun on “dealt (G3207)” let’s see the definition.
G3207 – μερίζωto – part, i.e. (literally) to apportion, bestow, share, or (figuratively) to disunite, differ Derivation: from G3313; – KJV Usage: deal, be difference between, distribute, divide, give participle
>G3313 – μέροςa – division or share (literally or figuratively, in a wide application) Derivation: from an obsolete but more primary form of μείρομαι (to get as a section or allotment); KJV Usage: behalf, course, coast, craft, particular (+ -ly), part (+ -ly), piece, portion, respect, side, some sort(-what).
According to the definition of the term Paul used, faith is nourished and the degree of nourishment is according to the gifts God gives. (verse 6) If one overwaters a seedling; it drowns. God is not only all loving with mercies, he is all knowing and all wise. [God knows how to tend HIS garden, and will soon will send HIS SON with a two edged hoe to do some weeding!]
The only thing that I can find in Scripture that The Lord actually gave faith to from the foundation of the earth is a mustard seed. (Genesis 1:11-13, Matt. 17:20, Mark 11:23, Gal. 3:16)
Have a restful Sabbath.