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What the Bible says about Faith as a Spiritual Gift
(From Forerunner Commentary)

John 6:36-37

He understands that those standing before Him and listening to the very words of life do not have this kind of faith. Thus, they have no commitment. However, verse 37 makes a first encouraging step, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." He is speaking of those whom the Father would give Him as disciples from that time forward, including us, and all these can have this faith and commitment. The Father Himself elects, chooses, each one, giving each the necessary gift of faith, as Ephesians 2:8 shows.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Four)

Romans 10:6-13

Christ's justification of a sinner becomes personal “by faith” (Romans 5:1). Faith requires our acceptance of the substitutionary sacrifice Christ performed on our behalf to accomplish what we are unable to achieve on our own—reconciliation with God. It is not inherent, but the result of our individual belief—our acceptance and appropriate response to the calling we receive from the Father (Romans 4; 3:22; 10:4, 9-11; Ephesians 1:13, 19; Acts 16:31).

This faith is not some impersonal, abstract phenomenon. Instead, it is a concrete, spiritual manifestation of the will of God, given by God personally and individually through His Son and must also be received personally and individually by the one being reconciled to Him (I Peter 1:7). Nor is it faith in anyone else, but only in Jesus Christ, personally. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (emphasis ours). Faith in anyone else will not declare a person justified. Our faith must be in the One who bore our sin in His own body, the One in whom the fullness of the divine nature dwelt (Colossians 2:9; Romans 8:3; Galatians 1:4; I Peter 3:18; I John 1:9; 4:10; Revelation 1:5).

Martin G. Collins
Are You Justified?

2 Corinthians 5:7

There is a similarity between eyesight and faith simply in the effect that they have—one on the physical, the other on the spiritual. Nevertheless, in terms of II Corinthians 5:7, faith and eyesight are opposites. Recall that Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith is . . . the evidence of things not seen." Faith is the conviction of what we have heard but cannot see. "Faith comes by hearing" (Romans 10:17).

Man says. "Seeing is believing." So when a man sees something, he is convicted, and his mind, then, is inclined to what he has seen. In the life of the righteous, faith is the controlling factor that motivates his conduct. The importance of eyesight is true in the physical realm, but it means almost nothing in the spiritual realm.

Consider physical Israel. The Israelites saw multiple miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness, but they seem to have profited them almost nothing. They saw the Nile turn to blood. They saw the frogs. They saw the lice. They saw the darkness. They saw the hail. They saw the fire on the ground. They saw the murrain kill the cattle. They saw the firstborn die. They saw the Red Sea part. They saw the pillar of fire and the cloud. They saw water coming out of the rock. They saw manna on the ground every day for forty years. They saw all those things.

Yet, what they saw did not affect their minds spiritually at all because eyesight means almost nothing in terms of the spiritual. Faith is the foundation, the assurance, the substance, the confidence, of things not seen—the invisible realm of God. In terms of faith, what a person can see with his eyes is more likely to frighten him and create doubt than it is to build faith.

Faith, according to Ephesians 2:8, is a gift of God. It is a gift because we did not have real spiritual faith until God began to call us. It is a gift because, by a mighty miracle, God opened our minds to enable us to understand His Word so that we can process the evidence we hear from His Word and make right choices relevant to His Kingdom.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part Two)

Hebrews 11:7

The Bible does not explain how Noah became aware of the grace he had been given. Even so, it enabled him, first, by sanctifying him and giving him the spiritual faith to respond properly to the warning God gave. Hebrews 11:7 reveals that Noah reacted by moving with godly fear, that is, with a deep reverential respect, indicating that, though he was awed by the complexity and size of what God had charged him to do, he nonetheless immediately accepted the task and began doing what he could.

Genesis 6:9 adds detail to Noah's character, describing him as “just,” “righteous,” or “godly,” and saying that he “walked with God.” The latter phrase suggests that, despite all the conflicting corruption surrounding him, he moved through life in step with God, doing his work alongside Him.

It also says he was “perfect in his generations” or “blameless among his contemporaries.” “Blameless” is a kind of code word that indicates he was justified by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. He was a converted man.

Notice that the verse does not say Noah received grace as a result of already conducting his life with all those good attributes. Instead, he was leading his life righteously because he had first found God's grace, the gifting by which God enabled him. The way he lived his life is the proof that he had found God's favor and then began conducting his life as Scripture describes. The favor, the grace, empowered him to accomplish what is recorded. God follows this pattern with everyone He sanctifies.

James 2:17-18 tells us that true faith will reveal itself by what it produces. The product will be in agreement with God's righteousness, and it will separate, set apart, that person from those around him who do not have the same faith. The grace, the favor, the gifts of God, always precede anything produced within the purpose and calling of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Ten)


 




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