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 any of 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 would void 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.