Ephesians 2:8-9….Does God Freely Give Faith Or Salvation?

It is written:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Look at that phrase “it is the gift of God.” It is argued by our Calvinist friends that this refers-not to salvation-but to faith itself. They thus teach that God gives faith to some (the elect), and denies it to others (those who they claim have been predestined to Hell by God before they were even conceived).

However, the grammar of this passage shows that God does it give faith, but instead bestows salvation.

Paul is arguing that God gives salvation to those who seek Him:

“When Paul then says, “this is not from yourselves” (), some interpreters have thought that Paul is referring to faith as the gift from God, 20 but that is clearly not the case. He is referring to the entire preceding clause as the gift, that is, salvation by grace. 21 If Paul were referring to faith (), the demonstrative pronoun would need to agree with its antecedent in gender and number; it would have needed to be (feminine singular) and not (neuter singular). It is not unusual for the neuter demonstrative pronoun to have an entire clause (or even more) as its antecedent. The same pronoun in 1: 15 refers back to the entirety of 1: 3–14 (see also 3: 1 and 3: 14). In Rom 6: 6 the pronoun refers forward to the entire clause (lit.): “knowing this () that our old self was crucified with [Christ].” While a number of Calvinistic interpreters have understood the pronoun to refer to faith, it is interesting that Calvin himself did not: “He [Paul] does not mean that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God.” 22”. (Clinton Arnold, Ephesians: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament, 3526-3533 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan).

Further, it can be said that God gives people faith in the sense that He has given them His Word, and His Word produces faith (cf. Romans 10:17). Yet God makes His Word available to all in the hope of saving every sinner (Mark 16:15-16; Romans 10:18). Often, the reason people do not believe is because they have hardened their hearts and their shut their eyes to God and His Word (Matthew 13:15).

God wants you to be saved. Will you not today accept His gracious offer (as these Ephesians did) by believing in Jesus, repenting of your sin, and being baptized into Him (Acts 19:1-5)?

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