“For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not of yourselves…” (Ephesians 2:8)
The New Testament paints the clear picture that our salvation has nothing to do with us. It is entirely the work of God, motivated by the love of God, and can only be received as a gift of God.
Salvation is God’s grace on full display. Unearned. Undeserved. Only because HE chose to offer it to us.
But the work (and gift) of God goes even deeper still. Our faith is also a gift of God. We cannot respond to God’s offer of salvation except by faith – and He gave us the faith to respond to Him.
This alleviates one of the sources of pride that sometimes occurs within us. “Well, God did His part (in providing salvation) but I had to do my part by trusting in God’s part. So look at what I did… I accepted what God did.”
This would be like a movie actor boasting of the profound words coming out of his mouth in an award-winning film. They weren’t his words. They were written for him, and given to him, to play a role in a film. The profound words were from someone else – the actor deserves no credit for their content.
Salvation is a gift. Faith to receive salvation is also a gift. All provided by the gracious actions of a loving God.
Faith, in Scripture, is a noun. It is a thing. A possession. A perfectly working “receiver” to what the King of the Kingdom is “transmitting” to us. It is a gift from God to connect us with Him – to respond to Him – to receive from Him.
But never the things WE want.
We want crazy stuff. Selfish stuff. Temporary stuff.
God’s reason behind giving us the gift of faith was so that we might access His abundant provision for our lives – for His purposes – for eternal reasons. So that His Kingdom might advance… both in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.
Faith is the key of the Kingdom – to receiving what (and only what) God offers us, but we must use it… and we must use it as God intends for us to use it.
Christians tend to distort faith into something self-serving. We tend to treat it as a magic wand to get “the desires of our heart.” Or as a way to coerce God into doing things for us. We tend to turn Scriptures about faith into our magic formulas… in our attempts at bringing enjoyment, pleasure, ease, or happiness into our lives.
But the gift of faith is intended for one purpose only… to receive what God has already provided to us through the complete and completed work of Jesus.
Everything we need for this life is already provided, because of what Jesus has done for us through God’s immeasurable act of grace.
Forgiveness. Deliverance. Freedom. Holiness. Righteousness. Healing. Blessing. Protection. Resources for Kingdom work. All provided. In perpetuity. For all of time. For every believer.
All accessed by the gift of faith… given by a gracious God.