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Is faith a gift from God?

by Stephen Davey

Don asks, "Based on Ephesians 2:8, does God supply the faith needed for salvation in addition to the grace?

Ephesians 2:8 is a significant verse in understanding the nature of salvation according to Christian theology. The verse reads:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8 ESV).

To address your question about whether God supplies the faith for salvation as well as the grace for salvation, I want to begin by defining some terms.

Grace: Grace refers to the unmerited favor of God. It’s by God’s grace that salvation is offered to humanity. This grace is entirely a gift from God and not something we can earn or deserve.

Faith: Faith is the means by which we receive salvation. It involves trusting and believing in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.
Gift of God:

The phrase "it is the gift of God" refers to the entirety of salvation, which includes both grace and faith. The Greek grammar and context suggest that the whole process of being saved (by grace through faith) is a gift from God.

This passage does in fact teach that both the grace for salvation and the faith to receive it are gifts from God. Because of the pervasive nature of sin, which is our natural state, we are incapable of coming to God on our own. Therefore, even the ability to have faith is seen as something God grants.

Here are some additional passages that speak to this:

"For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake" (Philippians 1:29 ESV).

"Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).

These verses support the idea that faith itself is granted or given by God.

So yes, Ephesians 2:8 emphasizes that salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace, and even the faith we exercise is part of that gracious gift. This understanding underscores the complete reliance on God for salvation, removing any basis for boasting in our own efforts or abilities.

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