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Jonathan Edwards, an 18th-century Presbyterian preacher and theologian, is quoted as having said, 

“You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.”

Faith Given by God

Ephesians 2:8 is often quoted to support the idea that the faith needed to believe and be saved is God-given. It’s claimed that both the grace and the faith mentioned in this verse are gifts from God.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

The Gift of God

Ephesians 2:8 says, “You are…saved by grace. The verse does not say, you are saved by faith.  It says you are saved,by grace” and “through faith.”  Therefore, we understand that salvation is “the gift” referred to in this verse.  And because it is given by the grace of God, it is an unmerited, free gift.

Those who hold to a belief that God gives people the faith to believe unto salvation are in the Reformed tradition.  This comes from the Calvinism doctrine of election. (Read: What is Election?). Calvinism teaches that God “elects” (chooses) those whom He will save. Therefore, He gives only to those whom He has chosen the faith to believe. And He does not give faith to those He has not chosen. 

In Christian theology, the Calvinism view of election is called monergism.  In opposition to that teaching is synergism.

Definitions of Monergism vs Synergism

Monergism is the belief that only God is involved in the salvation of man.  Monergism claims that man brings nothing to his salvation and the faith to believe must be given to man by God. Because God has chosen those whom He will save, He will give them the faith they need to believe. And at some point in their lives, they will believe in Jesus.  Calvinism (monergism) also teaches a doctrine called “irresistible grace” — those whom God has chosen, cannot choose to resist His gift of salvation. 

Synergism is the belief that man must exercise a choice to repent and turn to Jesus. This is a free-will choice of believing and trusting. Then, as a result of that choice, God saves a repentant sinner by His grace alone.  Synergism also teaches that God offers salvation to all people, but will not force it on anyone.  Therefore, only through one’s personal faith in God, can one choose to believe. Faith is defined as a free-will, personal decision, resulting from 1) received knowledge, 2) intellectual belief, and 3) heartfelt trust. (Read: What is Faith? How do I get it? How do I grow it?).

Which Doctrine is Biblical?

Reasons for Hope* Jesus believes the synergistic view of election is biblically supported.  While it is true that no one is saved by their works, choosing to believe and trust in Jesus is not a work. It is a reasoned response of the mind and heart to the revealed knowledge of God.  

Because man was created in the image of God, and God is volitional (acts according to His will), man also is volitional with a free will to choose.  Therefore, believing faith is a free will choice.  And it a choice man has had since the beginning of time.  

God Created Man with a Free Will

Adam and Eve were given a free-will choice when God placed a tree in the Garden from which they were commanded not to eat.  The tree represented choosing God or choosing self.  The choice they made was a demonstration of the desire of their hearts.  They chose what they desired, not what God desired, and we know what happened.  

Man has the same free-will choice in salvation: choose to continue to live, dead in one’s sins, serving self and loving the world, or choose to believe and trust God and receive eternal life in Christ.

At Reasons for Hope* Jesus, we believe everyone has an opportunity to make a free-will choice to trust in Jesus and to be saved.  The Bible supports this:

2 Pet 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

When one exercises their free will, chooses God, and comes to Jesus in faith, the love of God is magnified. His mercy and grace are received. And thereby, God is glorified.

What is Faith to Believe?

Saving faith starts with knowledge of the Holy. Then, one chooses to believe that knowledge or reject it.  When one believes, one can then choose to trust.  Trusting belief of what one knows is the faith that is needed to come to Jesus. And when one comes to Jesus in faith, He is faithful to save them by His grace.  

As stated, it starts with knowledge. And God has freely given to all people, in all times, and in all places, the sufficient knowledge needed to make a free-will choice to believe and trust.  He gives knowledge through what is called general revelation, i.e. creation, and through special revelation, i.e. His written word, the Bible.  

Share your knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done.  It is a seed to be planted and it can grow into belief and trust that can bring someone to the Lord’s saving grace.

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How Does God Increase Our Faith in Sanctification?

After justification comes sanctification, which is the process of growing in faith and living the Christian life. (Read What you need to know about Sanctification & Glorification). In a believer’s sanctification journey, God increases one’s faith in the same way that He fueled one’s ability to make an informed choice to believe.  God increases faith by revealing more of Himself through His creation and His Word. But even in sanctification believers have a free-will choice.  They choose to receive the knowledge God reveals, believe the knowledge they have received, and then trust in what they know and believe. . . or they choose to suppress or reject it.

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Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists

Thank you to all who contributed in 2020. Your generosity is a blessing and encouragement to us.  We did not meet expenses in 2020 and still need your help to continue our global outreach in 2021.  Our mission is to glorify God by equipping, encouraging, and empowering YOU to understand the Bible and grow in faith. If our online resources have blessed you, we hope you will support Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Our ministry outreach has grown significantly and. . .

Please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus with a donation of $5, $10, $20, or more. A donation of any amount is needed and greatly appreciated.

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***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).

A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.

 

The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2020

  1.  The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
  2. The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
  3. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
  4. What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings? 
  5. How are the Shepherd’s Rod and Staff Different?
  6. What Does It Mean to TASTE & SEE That God Is Good? (Psalm 34)
  7. What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDAN River mean? (Joshua 4)
  8. Is Leonard Cohen’s “HALLELUJAH” a Christian Song?
  9. How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM? Psalm 22
  10. Is my TATTOO a sin?

This is not a Got Questions? article. But it's so popular it ranked among the top pages viewed:

More Popular Got Questions & Articles

Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
Where did OT Saints go at death? ABRAHAM'S BOSOM
If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Re-Baptized?
What Does it Mean to Be A CHILD OF GOD?
Which OT Book Did JESUS QUOTE Most Often?
How Did the Wise Men Know This Was the Messiah and KNOW TO FOLLOW HIS STAR?
What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
How long did JOB SUFFER?
Three Heavens? Where is the THIRD HEAVEN?
What are the “I Will ” STATEMENTS of Satan, God, and Jesus?
SIN, INIQUITY, TRANSGRESSION? How are they different?
Should we call HIM JESUS? Or Yahweh? Or Yeshua?
Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER?
JESUS WEPT. Why? 
Is There a Remez (HIDDEN MESSAGE ) in Revelation 7? Why is Dan Missing?
Is It a Sin to Drink ALCOHOL?
Is SUICIDE an Unforgivable Sin?

Something ALL Christians must know:  IVDARR

Reasons for Hope* Jesus video banner

TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
  1. Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace
  2. Christian Version of Leonard Cohen's HALLELUJAH
  3. RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
  4. WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
  5. PAUL HARVEY: THE BIRDCAGE
  6. PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: A SOLDIER'S PLEDGE
  7. JOHN WAYNE ~ WHY I LOVE AMERICA
  8. THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share
  9. TASTE AND SEE that the Lord is Good ~ Psalm 34
  10. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas

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