Your response to my post on the simplicity of believing as outlined by the Apostle’s Creed went in a direction I didn’t expect and so I’ve created a new post.
First of all – we need a definition for faith and the best definition of faith (that I know of) comes from Heb 11:1, which in the NIV says:
- Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Christian faith makes intrinsic sense (to me, at least) when boiled down to the simplicity of believing per the Apostle’s Creed. However, you surprised me stating that God is the giver of faith in the same way that God predetermines who’ll be saved (and conversely – who will not be saved). Perhaps from a Calvinist perspective that makes sense. In your response you stated that faith is a gift of God according to Eph 2:8-9 and that (I’m quoting you here) “the scriptures tell us that we must be asking God for that faith because it is His gift to give.” Really? The NIV reads:
- For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
That the English punctuation breaks Eph 2:8-9 into six “pieces” may or may not be significant. Nevertheless, it’s an easy way to dissect these verses and so here’s my $0.02 worth as to why I disagree with your premise that God withholds faith from some while giving it to others:
- For it is by grace you have been saved. This is a demonstrative statement without ambiguity. We are saved by grace. The author doesn’t say we are saved by grace AND faith.
- Through faith. My trusty Webster’s Dictionary tells me that the word “through” is not only a preposition, it is also a “function word” used to indicate any number of things such as movement, time, means, completion, exhaustion, as well as to indicate acceptance or approval. Could it be that God’s “approved way” of us receiving His grace (the free gift of salvation) is through faith? There’s no indication here that God gives faith to some and withholds faith from others.
- And this not from yourselves. Notice that the author uses the singular word “this” and not the plural word “these”. I believe that the author is referring only to grace here.
- It is the gift of God. Again, notice that the author uses the singular word “it” and not the plural word “they”. This would again seem to indicate that only one thought – in this case, grace, is being referenced.
- Not by works. Self-explanatory – good deeds won’t cut it.
- So that no one can boast. Self-explanatory.
You’ll probably chastise me for re-ordering Eph 2:8-9. However, it makes my point – the author isn’t saying we must ask God for faith and that God may (or may not) give that person faith.
- Through faith, you have been saved by God’s gift of grace. You didn’t earn God’s grace. Grace is God’s gift so don’t even bother boasting about your good deeds and actions.
With all due respect, Colleen, I think you’re making Eph 2:8-9 say something other than what it is saying. These two verses state – we’re saved by grace. Period. From Eph 2:8-9 I don’t see that faith is a gift of God given to some and not given to others. Rather, we’re saved by grace. We’re saved by grace through faith. We’re saved by grace through being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Well, there’s more I could add but this seems to be a good place to stop.
Take care, my friend. I welcome and await your response.