Faith is a gift from God. Those who believe "Of my own free will I chose to believe the gospel" are always telling us that man has the ability in himself to both repent and believe and that God commands us to do both, so (in their "natural man" (1 Cor. 2:14) way of looking at things) they tell us that God never commands us to do something that we are incapable of doing. However the Bible is full of things God commands that are utterly impossible for the fallen nature of man to do. By the law is the knowledge of sin.
IF MAN HAD THE ABILITY TO BOTH REPENT AND BELIEVE, THEN GOD WOULD NOT HAVE TO GIVE BOTH REPENTANCE AND FAITH. Think about it. If you preach the gospel to 100 people and command them all the "Repent and Believe the gospel!", let's say that 10 people believe and are saved and 90 of them do not believe. The question to ask ourselves is this: Why did some believe and others did not? Does the Bible itself tell us? I believe it CLEARLY tells us both why some believe and why others do not.
“Now faith cometh not of our free-will; but is the gift of God, given us by grace, ere there be any will in our hearts to do the law of God. And why God giveth it not every man, I can give no reckoning of his judgments. But well I know, I never deserved it, nor prepared myself unto it; but ran another way clean contrary in my blindness, and sought not that way; but he sought me, and found me out, and showed it me, and therewith drew me to him. And I bow the knees of my heart unto God night and day, that he will show it all other men; and I suffer all that I can, to be a servant to open their eyes. For well I know they cannot see of themselves, before God hath prevented [that is, to go before] them with his grace." - William Tyndale
Read online: William Tyndale, "Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue"
The First London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1646
Faith is the gift of God, wrought in the hearts of the elect by the Spirit of God; by which faith they come to know and believe the truth of the Scriptures, and the excellency of them above all other writings, and all things in the world, as they hold forth the glory of God in His attributes, the execellency of Christ in His nature and offices, and of the power and fulness of the Spirit in its workings and operations; and so are enabled to cast their souls upon His truth thus believed.
Eph. 2:8; John 6:29, 4:10; Phil. 1:29; Gal. 5:22; John 17:17; Heb. 4:11,12; John 6:63.
Faith or belief is a gift from God. Faith is not something we can produce on our own. God has to give it to us. Those who are not His sheep do not believe because they are not His sheep. John 10:26. Jesus said to the Pharisees "BUT YE BELIEVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF MY SHEEP, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
Please notice it does not say "you are not My sheep because you do not believe", as if by believing they would become His sheep, but rather THE REASON THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT HIS SHEEP.
Jesus calls His people His sheep even before they hear His voice. John 10:16. "And other sheep I HAVE, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."
I have heard some of my "I chose of my own free will to believe in Christ" brethren try to get around the clear teaching of Scripture that we were chosen IN CHRIST before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Ephesians 1:4-5) by telling us that we "get in Christ by believing the gospel".
Well, though there is not a single verse in Scripture that teaches this, even if it were so, the questions come down to two: 1. How did we get "in Christ" and 2. Why do we believe and others do not?
The way we get "in Christ" is pretty simple. It is GOD who puts us in Christ. Scripture tells us that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 we read: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: BUT GOD HATH CHOSEN the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and GOD HATH CHOSEN the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, HATH GOD CHOSEN, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are; That no flesh should glory in His presence. BUT OF HIM ARE YE IN CHRIST JESUS who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
It is God Himself who puts us "in Christ" both in time and before the foundation of the world, and it is God Himself who gives us the faith to believe in His Son as our Redeemer. ALL the glory goes to Him and none to ourselves for this wonderful salvation we have.
Another reason given in Scripture why SOME CANNOT BELIEVE is because God blinds their eyes and hardens their hearts.
John 12:37-40 "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him; That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE, BECAUSE that Esaias said again, HE (God) HATH BLINDED THEIR EYES, AND HARDENED THEIR HEART; THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE with their eyes, NOR UNDERSTAND with their heart, AND BE CONVERTED, and I should heal them."
Does God appoint certain men to unbelief? Yes, Scripture says that He does. In 1 Peter 2:7-9 we read: "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to THEM WHICH STUMBLE AT THE WORD, BEING DISOBEDIENT; WHEREUNTO ALSO THEY WERE APPOINTED, BUT YE ARE A CHOSEN GENERATION, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
Jude 4 tells us: "For there are certain men crept in unawares, WHO WERE BEFORE OF OLD ORDAINED TO THIS CONDEMNATION, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans chapter Nine makes these truths abundantly clear for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. Here we read:
"Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, AND WHOM HE WILL HE HARDENETH. Thous wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, OF THE SAME LUMP to make one vessel unto honour, AND ANOTHER UNTO DISHONOUR? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering THE VESSELS OF WRATH FITTED TO DESTRUCTION: And that he make know the riches of his glory on THE VESSELS OF MERCY, WHICH HE HAD AFORE PREPARED UNTO GLORY, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?" Romans 9:18-24
"What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but THE ELECTION HATH OBTAINED IT, AND THE REST WERE BLINDED. (According as it is written, GOD HATH GIVEN THEM THE SPIRIT OF SLUMBER, EYES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE, AND EARS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT HEAR) unto this day." Romans 11:7-9
The reason you and I believe the gospel is because God Himself gives us faith.
Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, TO EVERY MAN THAT IS AMONG YOU, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH."
The "every man" in the context is the "every man among you" or those who are already Christians. Not everyone has faith. 2 Thessalonians 3:2 "for all men have not faith" and obviously there are unbelievers.
If you think you got this faith to believe all on your own, then you are guilty of the very thing Paul cautions us against. You are thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to think.
Philippians 1:29 "For UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also to suffer for his sake."
Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD."
As a side note, some argue that the gift is not faith, and I actually agree with them on this. The word "that" in "and that not of yourselves" is the neuter singular Touto. It cannot refer specifically to faith, which is feminine, nor to grace, which also is feminine, and certainly not to "ye are saved" because this is a verb and not a noun. Rather the word "that" refers back to the whole idea encompassed by the phrase "by grace ye are saved through faith" and THAT not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 1:19 "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power TO US-WARD THAT BELIEVE, ACCORDING TO HIS MIGHTY POWER."
Tyndale notes in the margin of his translation of this verse: "Faith is the work of God only, even as the raising up of Christ."
The same power that raised up Christ, is the power of God that causes us to believe the gospel. This truth has been obscured in the NASB and NIV.
John Gill comments on Ephesians 1:19 " And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe,.... The objects of the divine power here intended, are believers in Christ... and shows, that this power is that which is exerted in the implantation of faith, and in the continuance of it, and in the finishing of that work; and that this is a great power, an exceeding great one: the greatness of this power as displayed in the work of conversion and faith appears, if it be considered what the work itself is called, a creation, a resurrection from the dead, a regeneration, and a transformation of the man into another man, which must needs require almighty power."
Ephesians 3:12 - KJB "In whom (Christ Jesus) we have boldness and access with confidence BY THE FAITH OF HIM."
The underlying Greek phrase here is very clear, yet many modern versions have totally mistranslated it. "By the faith of him" is δια της πιστεως αυτου. This is quite literally "through the faith of him". That is exactly what it says. And this is also the reading of Wycliffe 1395 - "bi the feith of hym.", the Great Bible 1540 -"which is by the fayth of hym.", even the Douay-Rheims! 1582 "by the faith of him", The Beza N.T. 1599, Whiston's N.T. 1745 "by the faith of him.", Webster's Translation 1833, Darby 1890 "by the faith of him", Rotherham's Emphasized bible 1902, the KJV 21st Century 1994, The Work of God's Children Bible 2011 and the Jubilee Bible 2010 -"by the faith of him."
However there are many versions that do not give us the correct translation here. The Revised Version 1881, RSV and ESV say "through OUR faith IN him." There is NO text that reads this way. There is no word "our" and no word for "in". The whole meaning of the verse is changed.
The NKJV, NASB, NIV and Holman unite in saying "through faith IN him." Again, this is not an accurate translation at all.
And others go even further in changing the meaning. The brand new International Standard Version says: "through HIS FAITHFULNESS." and Dan Wallace's goofy NET version says: "In whom we have boldness and confident access TO GOD BECAUSE OF CHRIST'S FAITHFULNESS." Dan Wallace has added the words "TO GOD", "BECAUSE OF" and CHRIST'S" to the verse with ZERO textual support. He just made this up and it totally changes the meaning of the verse.
Scripture speaks of "THE FAITH OF GOD'S ELECT" Titus 1:1
We are told that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith - Hebrews 12:2 "Looking unto JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH."
If you go through the book of Acts where the recorded preaching occurred, there is not a single example that follows anything like the so called Four Spiritual Laws. You will never find the phrase "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life."
In fact, the word "love" is not even found in the entire book of Acts at all. Instead what we see are the facts presented about who Jesus is and that wicked hands crucified him, but that he rose from the dead.
Neither is there any mention in the book of Acts about "choose Christ", BUT we do read God saying of the apostle Paul after he appeared to him on the road to Damascus when he was killing Christians - "he is A CHOSEN vessel unto me" (Acts 9:15) and "The God of our fathers HATH CHOSEN THEE, that thou shouldest know HIS WILL, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth."
Sometimes we see people ask "What shall we do?" or they are simply told to Repent and believe, and be converted so that their sins may be blotted out.
But only those who are God's elect people have ears to hear this message and respond to it.
And that is exactly what we see in places like -
Acts 3:16 "yea, THE FAITH WHICH IS BY HIM (not just 'in' him, but by Him") hath given him this perfect soundness "
Acts 18:27 "he helped them much WHICH HAD BELIEVED THROUGH GRACE." It wasn't just that they believed "in" grace, by it was 'through grace' that they believed.
Acts 14:27 "they rehearsed all that God had done among them, and how HE HAD OPENED THE DOOR OF FAITH unto the Gentiles." If God doesn't open the door, there is no faith.
Acts 16:14 "Lydia...WHOSE HEART THE LORD OPENED, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of by Paul"
Acts 15:9 "and put no difference between us (believing Jews) and them (believing Gentiles) PURIFYING THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH." God purified their hearts by faith, not 'because of' faith. God did it and He did it by faith which He himself gave them. It was not "their free will choosing to believe".
Acts 13:48 "and AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED." Their having been ordained to eternal life preceded their believing. The reason they believed is because God had ordained them to faith in the gospel.
So, IF "free will" theology is right, could you please explain for us what this verse means here in Acts 13:48?
Who ordained them to eternal life? Did this appointing to eternal life come before their believing the gospel or afterwards? And is there any mention at all about man's "free will" in the entire book of Acts at all?
John 6:29 - "Jesus answered and said unto them, THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD, THAT YE BELIEVE on him whom he hath sent.”
It is God’s work that we believe.
Matthew Henry - “This is the work of God that ye believe. Note, (1.) THE WORK OF FAITH IS THE WORK OF GOD. They enquire after the works of God (in the plural number), being careful about many things; but Christ directs them to one work, which includes all, the one thing needful: that you believe, which supersedes all the works of the ceremonial law; the work which is necessary to the acceptance of all the other works, and which produces them, for without faith you cannot please God. IT IS GOD’S WORK, FOR IT IS OF HIS WORKING IN US, IT SUBJECTS THE SOUL TO HIS WORKING ON US, and quickens the soul in working for him, (2.) THAT FAITH IS THE WORK OF GOD which closes with Christ, and relies upon him. It is to believe on him as one whom God hath sent, as God's commissioner in the great affair of peace between God and man, and as such to rest upon him, and resign ourselves to him.”
John Gill - “Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God,.... The main and principal one, and which is well pleasing in his sight; and without which it is impossible to please him; and without which no work whatever is a good work; AND THIS IS THE OPERATION OF GOD, WHICH HE HIMSELF WORKS IN MEN; IT IS NOT OF THEMSELVES, IT IS THE PURE GIFT OF GOD.”
1 Peter 1:21 "WHO BY HIM BELIEVE IN GOD that raised him up from the dead" Again, it is BY HIM that we believe in God.
2 Peter 1:1 "TO THEM THAT HAVE OBTAINED LIKE PRECIOUS FAITH WITH US through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ".
They obtained this faith, they did not have it to begin with and then did their part to exercise it.
1 Corinthians 12:9 "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom... TO ANOTHER FAITH BY THE SAME SPIRIT."
Galatians 5:22 one of the parts of the fruit of the Spirit is faith. The Spirit produces faith, though the new versions have changed this to 'faithfulness'.
1 Corinthians 3:5-6 "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but GOD GAVE THE INCREASE."
You can preach and teach gospel truths, but unless God Himself gives the increase and causes the seed to sprout and grow, there is no belief and no life. (The NASB & NIV have both changed the meaning of this section, added words not in any text, and don't even agree with each other.)
2 Corinthians 10:15 "when your faith is increased". This is a passive verb. Someone else increases our faith. It is the Lord, as even the apostles recognized when they said to Him in Luke 17:5 "Lord, increase our faith."
"The Faith OF Christ"
One of the many serious changes being made in the modern bible versions is how they are altering the phrase "the faith OF Christ". Many times the phrase "by the faith OF Jesus Christ" has been changed to "by faith IN Jesus Christ" by such versions as the NKJV, ESV, NIV, NASB, Jehovah Witness NWT, Holman, NET and the modern Catholic versions like the St. Joseph NAB 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985.
The older Catholic versions like the Douay-Rheims 1582 and even the Douay of 1950 got these verses right, reading: "the faith OF Christ".
See for example Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16, 20; 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 3:9; James 2:1; Revelation 2:13; and 14:12.
Romans 3:22 "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith OF Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference."
Galatians 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
Here the NKJV, NIV, NASB, Holman and the modern Catholic versions have all changed this to "faith IN Jesus Christ", thus changing the truth that this faith comes from Jesus Christ and instead implying that it comes from ourselves.
This is not a question of Greek texts differing, because they all say the same thing, δια πιστεως ιησου χριστου, the genitive of possession or source. We speak of the birth of Christ, the death of Christ, the resurrection of Jesus, the body of Jesus, the cross of Christ, the riches of Christ, the kingdom of Christ, the glory of Christ, and many other things using the same grammatical construction, but suddenly the NKJV, NAS, NIV, Holman, modern Catholic versions and the Jehovah Witness NWT and most modern bibles now have "through faith IN Jesus Christ."
"by faith OF Jesus Christ"
Reading "by faith OF Jesus Christ" are Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Douay-Rheims bible 1582, the Geneva Bible 1587, the Beza New Testament 1599, the Bill Bible 1671, Wesley's N.T. 1755, Webster's bible 1833, Morgan N.T. 1848, Julia Smith Translation 1855, the Emphatic Diaglott N.T. 1864, the Alford N.T. 1870, Davidson N.T. 1876, the Dillard N.T. 1885, Darby 1890, Young's 1898, Godbey N.T. 1902, the Douay Version 1950, The Word of Yah 1993 - "by faith OF Yahshua the Christ", Interlinear Greek N.T. 1997 (Larry Pierce), the Lawrie Translation 1998, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, God's First Truth 1999, the Tomson N.T. 2002, A Conservative Version Interlinear 2005, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, the Concordant Version 2006, the Bond Slave Version 2009, the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, the English Jubilee Bible 2010, the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, The Aramaic N.T. 2011, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011, the Revised Douay-Rheims Bible 2012 = "by faith OF Jesus Christ", The Hebraic Roots Bible 2012 - “even the righteousness of Elohim through the faith OF Yahshua Messiah”, and The Modern Literal New Testament 2014 - "through the faith OF Jesus Christ".
The Hebraic Transliteration Scriptures 2010 has “that we might be justified by the faith OF Mashiach, and not by the works of the Torah” (Gal. 2:16) and “I live by the faith OF the Ben Elohim” (Gal. 2:20)
The Aramaic Bible in Plain English 2012 says: "that we should be made right by the faith OF The Messiah"
The Italian Diodati of 1649 and La Nuova Diodati of 1991 Galatians 2:16 - is the same as the King James Bible, reading: "ma per la fede DI Gesù Cristo"
The Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569 and the Spanish Reina Valeras from 1602 to 1995 as well as the Reina Valera Gómez of 2010 all read just like the King James Bible with: "para ser justificados por la fe DE Cristo y no por las obras de la ley"
The French Martin Bible 1744 - "afin que nous fussions justifiés par la foi DE Christ"
The Portuguese La Biblia Sagrada em Portugués - " para sermos justificados pela fé DE Cristo"
The 2009 Romanian Fidela Bible - "ca sa fim declarati drepti prin credinta lui Cristos "
However the ASV of 1901 changed about half of these references to "the faith OF Jesus Christ" to faith IN Jesus Christ, and from then on all the references have been changed in the NKJV, RSV, NASB, ESV, Jehovah Witness NWT, the modern Catholic versions and the NIV.
The Catholic Connection
Among the Catholic versions we see the usual confusion. The older Douay-Rheims 1582 and the 1950 Douay both read like the King James Bible with: "that we may be justified by the faith OF Christ", but the more modern 1970 St. Joseph New American Bible and the 1985 New Jerusalem both read "justified by faith IN Christ".
Some recent modern versions have changed the meaning of the verse, but have retained the word "OF". The International Standard Version 2014, The Common English Bible 2011 and Dan Wallace and company's NET version of 2006 read: "so that we may be justified by THE FAITHFULNESS OF Christ and not by the works of the law"
Some then argue that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 It is true that God uses His word as the means to awaken the faith which He Himself gives to His elect. The question to ask is, Who gives us ears to "hear" the word of God? God does, of course. He opens the understanding of some and closes the eyes and ears of others.
"What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but THE ELECTION HATH OBTAINED IT, AND THE REST WERE BLINDED (According as it is written, GOD HATH GIVEN THEM THE SPIRIT OF SLUMBER, EYES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE, AND EARS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT HEAR;) unto this day." Romans 11:7-8.
"Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day." Deuteronomy 29:4
"Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures." Luke 24:45.
"Looking unto JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH" - Hebrews 12:2.
He is its source, its fountain, the giver, and the perfector of our faith. Every good and perfect gift is from above, and faith is a gift from God. "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." John 3:27.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-14 shows a great contrast between two groups of people. Verses 10-12 describe those who "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousnes."
Then verses 13-14 describe the other group in stark contrast. "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because GOD HATH FROM THE BEGINNING CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
This "whereunto" refers back to the whole process of salvation. We were chosen from the beginning, set aside by the Spirit and called to believe the truth, and it is God Himself who gives us the faith to believe. It is ALL of God and NOTHING IS OF US.
If you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again, then believe also what the Holy Bible says about Who gave you this saving faith to believe these things and let us give Him all the glory.
Repentance is also a gift of God
Just as God Himself gives us the faith to believe the gospel, so too He gives Repentance. In Acts 5:31 the apostle Peter says in his preaching: "Him (Christ) hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, FOR TO GIVE REPENTANCE to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
Again, in Acts 11:18 when Peter is before the brethren in Jerusalem telling them how God had sent him to preach to the Gentiles the gospel of the grace of God and how God had given them the Holy Ghost just as He had to the Jewish believers, we read: "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, THEN HATH GOD ALSO to the Gentiles GRANTED REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE."
In 2 Timothy 2:24-25 the apostle Paul writes to Timothy telling him how to deal with those who hold false doctrines. He tells him: "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; IF GOD PERADVENTURE WILL GIVE THEM REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the truth."
The same truth is taught in the Old Testament. In the book of Jeremiah we read: "Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; TURN THOU ME, AND I SHALL BE TURNED; for thou art the LORD my God. Surely AFTER I WAS TURNED, I REPENTED." Jeremiah 31:18-19.
Lamentations 5:21 "TURN THOU US UNTO THEE, O LORD, AND WE SHALL BE TURNED; renew our days as of old."
It is recorded in 1 Kings when the prophet Elijah was contending with the false prophets of Baal and telling the people of Israel - "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." In his prayer to the Lord God Elijah then says: Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and THAT THOU HAST TURNED THEIR HEART BACK AGAIN." 1 Kings 18:37
A Bible corrector, who thinks he can "correct" any and all bible versions out there according to his own understanding, wrote to me on a public forum saying: "It's NOT the faith "of" Christ...Christ has no faith, He has SURE KNOWLEDGE! Biblical faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen. What is not seen by CHRIST? What things require EVIDENCE for Him to know? Does he guess at or hope for ANYTHING? WHAT DOES CHRIST NOT KNOW?"
To whom I answered: For those who have ears to hear, let's take a closer look at what the Bible says regarding the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. The Book of Hebrews presents us with the Person of Jesus as our pattern to follow. (and much more of course too).
However in Hebrews 12:1-3 we read: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
We are to look to the human side of Jesus as he walked here on earth before He accomplished our redemption on the cross, and finally ascended up into heaven where He now sits at the Father's right hand.
Did Jesus have faith while on earth in his human body? Did He trust God and hope in His word when he underwent trials and persecution? Absolutely.
Psalm 22 is all about the Lord Jesus and there we read in verses 7-9 "All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He TRUSTED ON the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou are he that took me out of the womb: THOU DIDST MAKE ME HOPE when I was upon my mother's breasts." (The verse is again referenced in Matthew 27:43)
When Scripture later on talks about "the righteousness of God which is by faith OF Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe" (Romans 3:22) it is teaching that this saving faith comes not from the fallen and spiritually dead natural man, but rather the source and fount of this faith is Jesus Christ Himself.
The construction of the language here in Romans 3:22 where it speaks of "the righteousness OF God" is the same when it speaks of "the faith OF Jesus Christ". Both the righteousness and the faith come from the godhead, not man.
Saving faith is a gift from God to His elect sheep and children. Jesus Himself is the Author and Finisher of this faith that God gives to His people. That is why the King James Bible and several others are theologically correct when they call this "the faith OF the Son of God" - He is the source and originator (author) of this faith. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above." James 1:17
"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 11:15
Notes From the Internet
I got this response from a man about Romans 12:3 where the apostle says: "For I say, through the grace given unto me, TO EVERY MAN THAT IS AMONG YOU, not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH." Here is his "explanation" of the passage. He writes:
Mr. C. wrote: "God has already given every man enough faith to believe the gospel (Romans 12:3; I Cor. 3:5). "All" means "all", and "every" means "every.""
This has got to be one of the most poorly thought out pieces of nonsense I have ever seen to try to "explain" Romans 12:3. If God has given to every single individual "enough faith to believe the gospel" then by necessity every individual without exception is a believer. If words have any meaning at all, then this is the only logical conclusion any person with two fingers of functioning forehead can come to. And it obviously is wrong, not to say even moronic and totally against the plain truth of Scripture to affirm that God has given to every man enough faith to believe. IF God gave the faith to believe, then they believe. If words have any meaning at all, then it is as simple as that.
Mr. C's totally illogical and self contradictory statements illustrate the extremes the "I chose of my own free will to believe" side will go in a vain and silly attempt to "explain away with meaningless and self contradictory nonsense" what the Scriptures clearly say.
His absurd statement also affirms to some degree that it IS GOD HIMSELF who gives this faith, and to this part I agree. That is what the Scripture in Romans 12:3 SAYS. But Mr. C's absurd assumption with NO Scripture to back it up at all, is that even though God gave every individual the faith to believe the gospel, yet many somehow magically still do NOT believe and will be lost.
The only thing "lost" here is the presence of any semblance of God given common sense and logic. And the free will side calls something like what Mr. C just gave us "an explanation"!
Once a born again Christian sees the absolute truth of God's electing grace unto salvation and that it is totally of God's doing, the free will side's arguments are seen as the complete nonsense and utter absurdity that they are. We are indeed dumb as rocks until God opens our understanding and reveals what the Scriptures so plainly say and teach.
May God give us the grace to pray as David did - "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Psalm 119:18
More Notes From The Internet
Art posts: "Believing makes the difference between heaven and hell."
Art, WHO gives us the faith to believe and WHO hardens the hearts of others so that they cannot believe? Hint: "unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ...to believe on Him" (Phil. 1:29) - "Therefore THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE, because He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart" John 12:39-40.
No where else is the natural state of rebellion, hatred towards God and blindness of the human heart seen so clearly then when it refuses to believe in God's numerous references to the fact that it is HE who does the choosing unto salvation - "God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation" - 2 Thes. 2:13; "Ye have NOT chosen Me, but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU" - John 15:16; that the new birth is "NOT OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD" - John 1:13, and that the purpose of God according to election is "NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, not of him that runneth, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy." - Romans 9:16
If God's election is not the truth and He did not want to confuse us, Why does God Himself so many times call His people "the elect" and "the elect whom He hath chosen" - Mark 13:20; "mine elect" - Isaiah 45:4; 65:9, 22? Why even use the word if it doesn't mean what a plain reading of the Scriptures would have us believe?
As God says to Job "Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it." - Job 40:2. And as recorded in that classic chapter on the election of God even from the womb, He writes: "Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will? Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?" - Romans 9:19-20.
Notes from the Internet
Concerning Acts 13:48
Betty posts: "Will, you said to me, "and AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED." Acts 13:48
Does "ORDAINED" mean the same as "PREORDAINED"? I don't think it does. God did preordain that as many as come to Him, receive Him and trust Him for their salvation, He gives them eternal life." (end of comments by Betty)
Betty, once again you have completely perverted and misread the Scripture. Acts 13:48 says no such thing as you just "explained" it. In typical fashion you have put the cart in front of the horse. John Henry does the same thing.
It would not change the meaning in the slightest if it say "ordained" or "pre-ordained". The words "were ordained" are in the passive voice. This means that the people who ended up believing did NOT do this action themselves. Rather, Someone else did it TO them, and this Someone was God. The action of "were ordained" PRECEDED their believing the gospel. That is what the TEXT says.
The words "were ordained" is from the Greek word tasso and it is only used 8 times in the N.T. Sometimes it is active - meaning the people themselves are doing the action. And sometimes it is passive - meaning that somebody else did the action TO somebody else.
It is used in Matthew 28:16 in the active voice - "the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus HAD APPOINTED them."
It is used in the passive voice in Luke 7:8 "I am a man SET under authority"
It is used in Acts 13:48 in the passive voice - "as many as WERE ORDAINED to eternal life believed."
It is used again in Acts 22:10 in the passive voice where the Lord Jesus speaks directly to the newly converted apostle Paul and tells him -: Arise, and go to Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which ARE APPOINTED for thee to do."
It is used in Acts 28:23 in the active voice where it says: "And when they HAD APPOINTED him a day, there came many to him in his lodging..."
And it is used in Romans 13:1 in the passive voice where it speaks of governments and says: "the powers that be ARE ORDAINED of God."
Acts 13:48 clearly says: ""and AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED."
Those who believed the preaching of Paul and the gospel were a specific number out of the multitude that heard and the Book tells us that this specific number of people who "were ordained to eternal life believed."
Somebody else "ordained" or "appointed" them to eternal life PREVIOUS to their believing. That is what the Book clearly says. You just don't believe the Book and so you and others do all in your power to try to tell us that it doesn't really mean what it clearly says.
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