Sunday, December 19, 2010

Is Faith the Gift of God? What Does Jesus Say?

I found this article and thought it would be a good response to a post by Jeremy Jernigan at his blog.  Too much talk over there about how much our personalities determine our faith in God. It's concerning that the subject of God's will and sovereignty never came up. This question has always been a controversial one, yet this is puzzling considering how plainly the answer to this question is granted to us in the Holy Scriptures. Some modern Evangelicals seem to think that faith is something that arises out of the fallen natures of some persons but not others ... and that this difference in response is not due to grace (for all had grace), but rather, some inherent difference in the persons themselves. But Jesus puts this kind of speculation to rest:

Jesus declares "no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father." (John 6:65) In the same passage Jesus declares: " all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me." (John 6:37) In both verses the phrase "come to Me" simply means "believe in Me" and so taken together Jesus is stating that no one can believe in Him unless God grants it, and all to whom God grants it will believe". According to this passage, then, God grants faith, a faith that will infallibly arise in the heart of those He has given His Son...

Faith is not the product of an unregenerated human nature. If a person becomes humble enough to submit to God it is because the Holy Spirit has given that person a new, humble nature ... not because some men are more humble than others. It was not by chance that one person believed the gospel and not the other, nor was it because one had some innate virtue that the other lacked. It is grace and grace ALONE that makes men to differ, not the exertion of men's wills. While God requires faith of all men He promises to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit (John 6:63-65), which quickens and disarms hostility so they are willing, and able to believe.

(Also see 2 Chronicles 30:11-12; Phil 1:29, 2 Tim 2:25, Acts 13:48, Rom 9:15-18; John 1:13; 1 John 5:1)

HT: Reformation Theology