Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Where Does Faith Come From?

Most readers of this blog will believe that we are saved by faith in Christ alone.  In a previous post I asked:

“if we are born with a sin nature (I strongly believe that we are), it our good work that allows us to have faith in Christ?  This would mean we would have to have some good in us in order to be able to make such a decision.”

I see two options here.  The first option is that each human has the power on his own to hear the gospel and make a conscious decision to have faith in Christ.  Here, the emphasis is on the individual.  Any person can put their faith in Christ at any time they choose.

The second option is that the ability to make the choice to have faith in Christ is a gift from God.  The Holy Spirit must first convict a person of their sin, convince a person of their need for a savior, and create the ability for us to respond in faith.

Since I have a Southern Baptist background, many automatically assume that I believe in predestination.  You can read my previous post from the link above for my response to this.  As soon as I say that we don’t have the ability on our own, because of Original Sin, to have faith in Christ, I’m sure I’m going to get that label back.  I decided to see what John Wesley thought about Original Sin and our ability to have faith in Christ.  I came across a very informative article about how close John Wesley was with Calvin.  John Wesley created (or possibly borrowed, someone let me know) a term called prevenient grace.  This is a type of grace from God that allows us to make the decision with the assistance of the Holy Spirit to respond to Christ in faith.

I contend that because of the sin of Adam, we are all born sinners.  We aren’t sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.  I believe that Romans 8:7-8 teaches it is impossible for us to please God on our own.  If we could make a decision on our own to have faith in God, it would seem to be a contradiction.  We are so dependent on the grace of God that we can’t even have faith without His Grace.

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