Is faith a specific gift of God given to the believer?

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Is faith a gift of God?

  • Yes, faith is a spiritual gift of God to the believer only.

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • Yes, faith is a spiritual gift of God to all. Each man decides whether to exercise this gift.

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • No, faith is not a spiritual gift of God. Faith is a free-will decision produced by the believer.

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • I don't know.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    7

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
3,744
1,928
113
#1
The question is simple.

Is faith a specific gift, given by God, to the believer?

Or, does the believer dredge this up from the resources of his stony heart, in order to receive salvation?

This question might sound like an academic, meaningless question to some people, but it is actually the fundamental difference between two major divisions within Christianity, Reformed and free-willers.

The Reformed believe that faith is a spiritual gift that is imparted to the believer, which causes salvation. More specifically, they believe that the gospel is preached to the person, the Spirit regenerates the person, which imparts faith and repentance to them. This results in confession.

Free-willers believe that faith is something the believer supplies from his own resources, and when the person exercises faith through their own free-will decision, God regenerates them as a result.

So, regeneration causes faith and repentance in the Reformed belief system, and regeneration is a result of faith and repentance in the free-willer system.

One big factor in this issue is the person's view of man's nature due to the Fall. Reformed theology teaches that man is radically corrupted by the Fall, and that he is spiritually dead and unable to respond positively to God, unless he is made alive again. This process of being "made alive again" is the same thing as regeneration.

Free-willers have a lesser view of the effect of the Fall. They do not believe man's nature has been severely affected by the Fall. They believe that man is capable of making a moral decision to follow God, without regeneration.

I hold the Reformed position. What position do you hold, and why? Can you provide your Scriptural support?

I think Ephesians 2:1-10 is clear in this regard:


Ephesians 2:1-10 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 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— 3 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. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Additionally, Ezekiel prophesies about this condition, which requires a new heart to respond:

Ezekiel 36:26-27 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
(ESV Strong's)

Notice that it is God who is the actor, not man.

Some will claim that this Scripture is only about the Israelites, and not about Gentiles. I think this is a silly argument. It's obvious from Ephesians 2 that deadness is associated with Gentiles too.

Here's a summary from a paper I did on salvation regarding the effects of the Fall:


The results of original sin include the following:

  • The unsaved live in spiritual darkness (Acts 26:18, Ephesians 4:17-18, Colossians 1:13)
  • The unsaved are spiritually dead and alienated from the life of God(Ephesians 2:1-2, 4:17-18, 5:8, Colossians 2:13)
  • The unsaved hate God, are hostile toward him and his law and are under his wrath (Romans 1:30, 5:9, 8:7, Ephesians 2:1-3, 5:6, Colossians 1:21)
  • The unsaved are slaves to sin (John 8:34, Romans 6:20)
  • The unsaved reflect the character of Satan, and as such reject God’s authority over their lives (John 8:43-44, I John 3:8-10)
  • The unsaved are spiritually deaf and blind and cannot understand the gospel message without God’s direct intervention (Isaiah 6:10, Jeremiah 6:10, Ezekiel 12:2, Mark 4:9-12, Luke 8:10, John 8:47, Deuteronomy 29:4, Matthew 13:13-15, John 12:37-40, Acts 28:26-27, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Here's another segment that provides Scriptures proving that both faith and repentance are gifts of God:

The amazing thing is that God himself gives us faith (Acts 16:14, Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Peter 1:1, Philippians 1:29, Acts 3:16) and grants us repentance (Acts 11:18, 2 Timothy 2:25). Those who are saved have nothing to boast about whatsoever because of this; it is not about human works (Romans 3:20, 27-28, 4:5, 1 Corinthians 1:31, Galatians 2:16). Salvation is God’s work.

Some will claim that it is only salvation that God gives, and not faith. It is true that Ephesians 2:8-9 isn't referring specifically to faith, but it includes faith. The salvation is the gift, but the salvation includes faith. None of this was caused by the believer, and that is Paul's point. There is nothing for a believer to boast about, even his own alleged autonomous free-will decision.

Some claim that faith is provided to all men, according to Romans 12:3. The problem with this view is that Romans 12:3 is referring to individuals within the Church. The context is clear in this regard. All men within the Church have been given the gift of faith, and other gifts.

Additionally, some will claim that general revelation is basically equivalent to the faith that all men possess. I would not agree with this. I acknowledge that there are no true atheists, and that all men know that there is a God, and that they are in violation of his moral precepts and deserve the wrath and condemnation of God. However, I do not think that this knowledge is "faith" in a biblical sense. It is merely general revelation and is not the same thing as depending on Jesus' atoning work on the Cross for salvation. Most of mankind throughout time has never even heard of Christ.

Anyways, what do you think on this topic?

Here are the four choices:

1. Faith is a spiritual gift that is given to believers only. This view is my view.
2. Faith is a spiritual gift that is given to all. All men must decide what they do with the faith.
3. Faith is not a spiritual gift that is given by God. It is a free-will decision produced by the man.
4. I don't know.
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
3,744
1,928
113
#2
In regards to those who claim that faith is not a gift of God, and that the Reformed concept of regeneration preceding faith being unbiblical, here's a good response by the Monergism website on this matter:


Visitor comment:
God didn’t make me believe and he STILL gets all the glory. God is that good. God does not make automatons. The only way there can be love is if when God draws us he gives us the freedom to choose.

Response:

So if your toddler ran out in the street against your wishes and you ran out into oncoming traffic at the risk of your life to scoop him up, regardless of his will or wishes at the time, does that make him an automaton? Let's say another parent in the same situation simply stands at the curb and only yelled out to give the toddler a choice but did nothing more to help. Which of the two parents loved? Obviously the one who did not give him a choice but risked his life to MAKE CERTAIN the toddler was saved. That is the one who loved.

Just this one simple example from something that could happen in everyday life reveals a kind of flawed logic about love that can be easily refuted. As such you should probably never use this argument. It is not biblical and fails an easy test of logic.
The whole "man must have a free will for their to be love" is actually nowhere found in the bible. The bible teaches, rather, that while we were still sinners in rebellion God quickened us, opened our eyes, ears and heart to the gospel. We believed. (Deut 29:4, 30:6, Eph 2:5, 8). It is written, No one comes to Christ or says "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3)
Jesus says "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing...that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it." John 6:63, 65

Left to himself no man comes to Christ when he hears the gospel but to those who are called, it is the power of God unto salvation (1 Cor 1:23-24, 2:14) So you cannot ascribe your repenting and believing, even partly, to your own wisdom, humility, sound judgement or good sense, but to Christ alone. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus... so let him who boasts, boast in the Lord" - 1 Cor 1:29-31
 
Jan 17, 2020
4,792
733
113
#3
The question is simple.

Is faith a specific gift, given by God, to the believer?

Or, does the believer dredge this up from the resources of his stony heart, in order to receive salvation?

This question might sound like an academic, meaningless question to some people, but it is actually the fundamental difference between two major divisions within Christianity, Reformed and free-willers.

The Reformed believe that faith is a spiritual gift that is imparted to the believer, which causes salvation. More specifically, they believe that the gospel is preached to the person, the Spirit regenerates the person, which imparts faith and repentance to them. This results in confession.

Free-willers believe that faith is something the believer supplies from his own resources, and when the person exercises faith through their own free-will decision, God regenerates them as a result.

So, regeneration causes faith and repentance in the Reformed belief system, and regeneration is a result of faith and repentance in the free-willer system.

One big factor in this issue is the person's view of man's nature due to the Fall. Reformed theology teaches that man is radically corrupted by the Fall, and that he is spiritually dead and unable to respond positively to God, unless he is made alive again. This process of being "made alive again" is the same thing as regeneration.

Free-willers have a lesser view of the effect of the Fall. They do not believe man's nature has been severely affected by the Fall. They believe that man is capable of making a moral decision to follow God, without regeneration.

I hold the Reformed position. What position do you hold, and why? Can you provide your Scriptural support?

I think Ephesians 2:1-10 is clear in this regard:


Ephesians 2:1-10 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 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— 3 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. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Additionally, Ezekiel prophesies about this condition, which requires a new heart to respond:

Ezekiel 36:26-27 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
(ESV Strong's)

Notice that it is God who is the actor, not man.

Some will claim that this Scripture is only about the Israelites, and not about Gentiles. I think this is a silly argument. It's obvious from Ephesians 2 that deadness is associated with Gentiles too.

Here's a summary from a paper I did on salvation regarding the effects of the Fall:


The results of original sin include the following:

  • The unsaved live in spiritual darkness (Acts 26:18, Ephesians 4:17-18, Colossians 1:13)
  • The unsaved are spiritually dead and alienated from the life of God(Ephesians 2:1-2, 4:17-18, 5:8, Colossians 2:13)
  • The unsaved hate God, are hostile toward him and his law and are under his wrath (Romans 1:30, 5:9, 8:7, Ephesians 2:1-3, 5:6, Colossians 1:21)
  • The unsaved are slaves to sin (John 8:34, Romans 6:20)
  • The unsaved reflect the character of Satan, and as such reject God’s authority over their lives (John 8:43-44, I John 3:8-10)
  • The unsaved are spiritually deaf and blind and cannot understand the gospel message without God’s direct intervention (Isaiah 6:10, Jeremiah 6:10, Ezekiel 12:2, Mark 4:9-12, Luke 8:10, John 8:47, Deuteronomy 29:4, Matthew 13:13-15, John 12:37-40, Acts 28:26-27, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Here's another segment that provides Scriptures proving that both faith and repentance are gifts of God:

The amazing thing is that God himself gives us faith (Acts 16:14, Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Peter 1:1, Philippians 1:29, Acts 3:16) and grants us repentance (Acts 11:18, 2 Timothy 2:25). Those who are saved have nothing to boast about whatsoever because of this; it is not about human works (Romans 3:20, 27-28, 4:5, 1 Corinthians 1:31, Galatians 2:16). Salvation is God’s work.

Some will claim that it is only salvation that God gives, and not faith. It is true that Ephesians 2:8-9 isn't referring specifically to faith, but it includes faith. The salvation is the gift, but the salvation includes faith. None of this was caused by the believer, and that is Paul's point. There is nothing for a believer to boast about, even his own alleged autonomous free-will decision.

Some claim that faith is provided to all men, according to Romans 12:3. The problem with this view is that Romans 12:3 is referring to individuals within the Church. The context is clear in this regard. All men within the Church have been given the gift of faith, and other gifts.

Additionally, some will claim that general revelation is basically equivalent to the faith that all men possess. I would not agree with this. I acknowledge that there are no true atheists, and that all men know that there is a God, and that they are in violation of his moral precepts and deserve the wrath and condemnation of God. However, I do not think that this knowledge is "faith" in a biblical sense. It is merely general revelation and is not the same thing as depending on Jesus' atoning work on the Cross for salvation. Most of mankind throughout time has never even heard of Christ.

Anyways, what do you think on this topic?

Here are the four choices:

1. Faith is a spiritual gift that is given to believers only. This view is my view.
2. Faith is a spiritual gift that is given to all. All men must decide what they do with the faith.
3. Faith is not a spiritual gift that is given by God. It is a free-will decision produced by the man.
4. I don't know.
Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit God gives to those who cannot believe. It causes them to believe based on that experience.
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
19,325
10,617
113
#4
In regards to those who claim that faith is not a gift of God, and that the Reformed concept of regeneration preceding faith being unbiblical, here's a good response by the Monergism website on this matter:

Visitor comment:
God didn’t make me believe and he STILL gets all the glory. God is that good. God does not make automatons. The only way there can be love is if when God draws us he gives us the freedom to choose.

Response:

So if your toddler ran out in the street against your wishes and you ran out into oncoming traffic at the risk of your life to scoop him up, regardless of his will or wishes at the time, does that make him an automaton? Let's say another parent in the same situation simply stands at the curb and only yelled out to give the toddler a choice but did nothing more to help. Which of the two parents loved? Obviously the one who did not give him a choice but risked his life to MAKE CERTAIN the toddler was saved. That is the one who loved.

Just this one simple example from something that could happen in everyday life reveals a kind of flawed logic about love that can be easily refuted. As such you should probably never use this argument. It is not biblical and fails an easy test of logic.
The example is "flawed logic" because it is irrelevant to the question of faith. At no time does the toddler in the example exercise anything resembling faith, but is simply rescued. If it's taken as exemplary, faith is completely irrelevant.
 

p_rehbein

Senior Member
Sep 4, 2013
28,147
5,308
113
#5
There is human faith and there is Godly faith.

Man is born with a certain faith, but that faith is far weaker than the faith given by God to new believers upon their conversion.
 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
7,006
3,463
113
#6
The poll is flawed. In scripture there are two types of faith and another word altogether for belief. One is a gift. The others require the human response.
 

Blain

The Word Weaver
Aug 28, 2012
17,430
1,833
113
#7
Well honestly I did vote but was not really satisfied with the choices because it isn't as simple as that it appears regardless of the choices picked you already have your stance on it and can't see who voted what so I guess I'm not sure what the point is but...
I wasn't because of faith not specifically. Honestly it wasn't about faith for me I was desperate I didn't even know if he would save me or not I worried so much I even tried to bargain with him to save me. Once a person is saved yes they are given the gift of faith but it is only as a small seed a very small seed. Trust and faith in him is not something that comes easily it takes a lot of time and work building up that relationship with him so for any new believer they can seem like they are full of doubt and lacking greatly in faith.

But also as I have learned in this last year of a horrible dark storm the likes of which I have never been through there are times when faith doesn't come naturally sometimes it is a choice, a will. I have always naturally tursted him and had strong faith but in this last year it was so bad that I had to choose to trust him I had to decide if my will was to let the doubts fear agony and sadness overtake me or trust him and believe me it seems like an easy choice on paper but these kind of attacks can be very strong and it is easy to let them choose for you.
 

FlyingDove

Senior Member
Dec 27, 2017
1,013
344
83
#8
The true gift of faith given to man is found in God's Son.

John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

(NOTE: Jesus received an UNLIMITED measure of faith)

Rom 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.

(NOTE: Everyone receives a measure (exception noted above) of faith. You can choose to use it, believe & accept God's gift of grace via your faith placed in Christ's sin payment & resurrection. Or you can choose to reject & deny God's gift & Christ's payment.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
 

Blade

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2019
712
280
63
#9
Thanks UWC.. "
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.

There is the gift of faith "To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; "

Faith is something we need to work :)
 

notuptome

Senior Member
May 17, 2013
15,050
2,527
113
#10
We are saved by grace through faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.

All men coming into the world have light given them by the true Light. John 1:9

To believe or have faith we must knowledge. All men know there is God. Romans 1.

Salvation is a gift by grace. Faith to receive it comes from hearing Gods word. The Holy Spirit works in the stony rebellious heart to bring conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment. John 16:8-11

For the cause of Christ
Roger
 

Blain

The Word Weaver
Aug 28, 2012
17,430
1,833
113
#11
I have a question concerning faith or maybe more of a thought to ponder on. We are all given a measure of faith this is true but is all measures of faith initially equal? Like for instance have you ever noticed how when a person is a born again some of them are able to have faith and trust in him easier and sometimes even more than others?
I wonder if just as everyone is born into this life with different abilities skills and traits but some more or less than others the same might go for the believer?
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
16,156
7,961
113
#12
Is faith a specific gift, given by God, to the believer?
You omitted the most critical option from your poll: "Is saving faith generated by the preaching and hearing of the Gospel?" since that is exactly what we find in Scripture. So your poll is bogus.

ROMANS 10: SAVING FAITH IS GENERATED BY THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL
WITH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKING ON THE HEARER

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.