But how do we get faith in the first place?

So many verses talk about us having belief and faith. For example: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,” John 3:36; Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” Galatians 3:6, and in Romans 4:3, “to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”

Faith is hugely important, then, but in all these verses it sounds like the faith we need has to come from us, and it’s OUR belief that saves us. Or that we have to believe before justification, eternal life and righteousness kick in for us personally.

But if that’s true, then we’re saying faith is a work we must perform from within ourselves. So is that possible? Can we produce the faith we need? Is it something we can do?

No it isn’t, says Paul, and he uses his own life as an example. He never became a Christian because of his faith. Instead, as he himself admits, “I acted in ignorance and unbelief,” 1 Timothy 1:13. No faith, just dumb. So how did he end up with faith, then? Verse 14: “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, ALONG WITH the faith and love that are IN CHRIST JESUS.” Where did his faith come from? From Christ.

So Paul wasn’t about to preach that it’s our faith that saves us. And he didn’t, either. Instead, in Ephesians 2:1, he laid out the facts for us: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,” and in verses 2 and 3 we were puppets of the devil, controlled entirely by our sinful desires and thoughts. We were completely incapable of faith, in other words. But, verse 5, it was IN our state of total ignorance, unbelief and incapability of trusting God, that “GOD who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions.” And why did he do that? Because “it is by grace you have been saved.”

Ah but, isn’t it through faith in his grace that we’re saved? Oh yes, and Paul admits that too in verse 8: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith,” so faith is still required, isn’t it? Yes. But where does this faith come from? “Not from yourselves,” Paul continues in verse 8, “IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD.” God gives us the faith to believe in his grace, because we would never have believed in it ourselves.

Like Paul we are given faith, so that we get the point that salvation is ALL God’s doing, because even the faith that enables us to believe is a gift too.

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