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WHOSE FAITH? *by Pastor Kerry Kinman

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WHOSE FAITH? *by Pastor Kerry Kinman Empty WHOSE FAITH? *by Pastor Kerry Kinman

Post  Admin on Tue 01 Mar 2011, 3:03 pm

WHOSE FAITH? *
* by Pastor Kerry Kinman*
*

Does the faith which we exercise in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation
come from us, or does it come from God? In our unsaved state, upon
hearing the gospel, do we generate the faith to believe from within
ourselves, or does God give us that faith?

As I recently studied through and taught the Book of Ephesians, the
answer to these questions became very clear to me and I want to share it
with you.

The correct answer is that God gives us the faith to believe the gospel.
One proof for this is in correctly translating and understanding what is
being said in Ephesians 2:8. With this in mind let us examine this verse
in the light of the Greek text. The following would be a very literal
translation of that text. "For by grace you have been saved through
faith; and this is not out of you: the gift is of God."

The thing we want to look at for a clearer understanding of the verse is
the word we have translated this. Let us ask ourselves what is the this
that is the gift of God?

It is translated from the Greek word "rovro," which is a nominative or
accusative, singular, neuter, demonstrative pronoun. As many have
presupposed "rovro" does not have reference to the aspect of salvation
alone in this verse, but clearly refers to the entire concept of the
grace, the being saved, and the faith, all being the gift of God. We can
know this by understanding how Paul uses this word "rovro" throughout
all his writings.

He uses it most often to refer back to a grouping of nouns and verbs;
i.e., to an entire concept. Occasionally he uses it to refer ahead to
what he is going to say, as in the beginning of Ephesians 4:17. He
rarely uses it to refer to a single word, but when he does, it will
refer to a word of like case, number, and gender (i.e., nominative or
accusative, singular, neuter).

In Ephesians 2:8, there is no word of like case, number, and gender. In
fact, the noun forms of the three words preceding in the verse are all
feminine in gender; namely, the grace, the salvation, and the faith. Is
there a problem? No, not when we see "rovro" commonly used in this way
throughout the New Testament.

For some examples of its predominate usage let us look at Ephesians
5:17. In verse 16, we are told that we should be "redeeming the time
because the days are evil." Then beginning in verse 17, Paul says,
"because of this [rovro], do not be unwise ones, but know what the will
of the Lord is." Here "rovro" refers to the entire concept of verse 16.

Another instance is in Ephesians 6:1; "Children obey your parents in the
Lord, for this [rovro] is right." Again, "rovro" is referring to the
entire concept of children obeying their parents.

Lastly, let us examine its usage in Ephesians 6:13. In verse 12, Paul
says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against world rulers of this darkness,
against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies." Then beginning in verse
13, we read, "Because of this [rovro; i.e., all these things] take up
the whole armour of God."

There are many more examples which we could look at, but from those
already cited we can see that the word "rovro" is commonly used to refer
back to a grouping of things or thoughts being spoken about. This is the
way Paul has used it in Ephesians 2:8. In this verse, the grace, the
salvation, and the faith, this (rovro) is the gift of God.

As we are told in Ephesians 2:1, we were dead in our trespasses and our
sins. Dead persons can do nothing. They can make no responses and no
decisions. As those being spiritually dead, God had to reach in to us to
give us life. We could not reach out to Him (cf. John 6:44; Eph. 2:5).
As those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4)
our salvation is totally the work of God. Even to the point of giving us
the faith to believe (cf. Phil. 1:29). May the understanding of this
truth give each of us great joy in our God, thanking Him only for the
provisions He has made in effecting our eternal salvation.
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