Friday, July 02, 2010

And now you must go into the forest and cut down the largest tree with ... a herring!

Previously, I dealt with the question of whether or not "faith is a gift" and what that means, and doesn't mean.

Along those lines, the Bible insists human beings do what they cannot in their natural state, which is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the necessary condition for justification, but just because we ought doesn't mean we can.

James Montgomery Boice explains a common misconception:
"Sometimes evangelicals express their ideas in the following fashion. They say that God first gave the law to see if anyone could keep it. But since no one did or can, God now comes to us with a slimmed-down or much-facilitated gospel, as if he were saying: ‘I know you can’t keep my law. So let me ask instead for something you can do. Just believe in Jesus. If you believe in Jesus, I’ll save you.’ If that is the way God operates, faith becomes a work—something you or I do on the basis of which we are saved—and there is ground for boasting." (Romans, 409)
In other words, the ability to believe is a gift enabled by the regenerating Holy Spirit.

See also:

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At 05 July, 2010 19:57, Blogger Matt said...

If belief is a gift from God, why is belief the gift that God gives, and not something else like love or obedience?

If God is generating in an individual the thing upon which salvation is conditioned, then presumably He could choose anything to be that condition. Salvation could be by grace through love, by grace through tithing, or by grace through wearing a T-shirt that says, "Jesus saves." Why has He chosen that thing to be belief? If our problem is rebellion against God, why is the solution Spirit-enabled belief instead of Spirit-enabled obedience?


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