Is Our Faith A Gift or A Free Choice?

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Hi K____,

It’s good to hear from you again.

I’m afraid that I have no in- depth paper on the subject of faith. I would only point out that only 3 verses prior to the verse from which I take the title of my paper After The Counsel of His Own Will we are told this:

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [ faith] not of yourselves: it [ even the faith] is the gift of God:

The Truth is that we contribute nothing whatsoever to our salvation. We don’t even have the faith to be saved if it is not given to us as a gift from God. The entirety of scripture brings this out. Here is Christ’s assessment of how capable we are of ourselves:

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw [ Greek – drag] him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Mankind is in a hopeless, catch-22 position. He is born with a carnal mind which is “enmity against God.”

Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

The Greek word for ‘enmity’ is Strong’s # 2189 – echthra. It is defined as “hostility, opposition, and hatred.” And Paul tells us that as such “It… cannot be subject to the law of God.” So we cannot possibly have the faith necessary to please God because we are all born with a carnal mind that cannot possibly be subject to God. So sure enough, Christ was right. “No man can come to Him, except the spirit drags him.” Yes, the word is “drag.” It is not saying that we cannot come to God unless He coaxes us. God must cause us to want to come to Him. But He must first overcome our hate- filled, hostile, opposing, carnal mind. Then He must donate to us the faith of Jesus Christ, and then He must, through “Christ in us” perform the works which He has also predestined that we would walk in them.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

This process we call salvation was “before ordained that we should walk in… [ it].” We, of ourselves, bring nothing to the table. It is all entirely of God. There is no room anywhere in scripture for such a thing as “free” will. A ‘will?’ Yes, indeed. We do have the ‘will’ to come to God. But a “free will” independent of the “dragging” of God’s spirit? Absolutely not! To think otherwise is to still give the ‘beast’ a place of prominence in our lives. The ‘beast’ within us all, is the “man of sin… let him that reads understand…” that is “sitting in the temple of God saying that he is God.” Anyone who thinks that he contributes the faith to be saved has yet to cast that idolatrous beast out of that temple of God:

2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place [ saying that your salvation depends, not on the work of Christ, but on your unscriptural ‘free moral agency’];, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Anyone can read these words, but very few indeed understand that the holy place is in the temple of our hearts and minds. “Ye are the temple of God…”

The Truth of God’s Word on this subject is that if God has mercy on us He will soften our hearts and give us the faith to be drug to Him. If not He hardens our hearts to resist Him and continue to claim that the faith to be saved is our own faith, and the only reason we come to Him is because we, of our own free will, without the dragging influence of His spirit, have decided through our own faith, to come to Him. This is a lie that God will not abide. He will allow the flesh no room to boast:

1Co 1:27 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;
1Co 1:28 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:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
1Co 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
1Co 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

It is all “of Him” and all “in Christ.” There is no room for the flesh to boast. We cannot even claim the faith:

Rom 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:

Our faith is “of Jesus Christ.” It is not of Mike Vinson. To think otherwise will rob Mike Vinson of any hope of being in that “blessed and holy first resurrection.”

This certainly is not “in depth,” but I hope this is of some help to you.

Stay in touch.

Mike >

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