Five Eternal Gifts from God - Faith 8

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)

Faith comes solely from God. It never originates within the sinner. Anyone who believes otherwise is misinterpreting the biblical text: not just this text but others also. Please note the following:

  • Acts 13:48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48, ESV)
  • Acts 14:24-28. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples. (Acts 14:24-28, ESV)
  • Philippians 1:29. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:29-30, ESV).
  • 2 Peter 1:1-2. Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:1-2, ESV)

Paul states that faith is not as a result of works. Faith does not originate from anything that can be attributed to the sinner as a result of their actions, behavior or deeds.  The negative particle “not” the grammar of the text clearly indicates that faith is not self-generating within man but is a result of the regenerating work by the Holy Spirit.

The reason for this is clear from the text: “So that no one may boast.” The purpose clause indicates that God ordained faith resulting in the sinner’s salvation is so the redeemed cannot lay claim to any credit whatsoever for his/her salvation.

One day in the local YMCA locker room, a young man claimed he independently came to faith in Christ solely by looking at the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There was no mention at all to the regenerating work by the Holy Spirit or the facts portrayed in Ephesians 2:8-9. The result was a seemingly boastful claim, perhaps unconsciously, that he was responsible for his conversion. This is what Ephesians 2:9 teaches against.

Salvation is solely of God and solely of grace. This results in salvation being solely to the glory of God.