What is Faith? (part 3)
I intend to go through each of the verses I received from my brother and two others that were posted in the comments section of the last post. These seem to have tied up for some the fatalism of the Calvinistic mindset. Somehow, they don't do the same for me. I think it is because I have many other passages of Scripture in mind that I think are very plain that would seem to indicate contrary to what some assert these to mean. I went to bed thoroughly disturbed last night and once again, decided that I must look honestly at these challenges to see what is true. If Calvinists are right, it has huge implications for me that I will not spell out here - they are very personal. But I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I want to know what it teaches. It make take a few days for me to cover these, but here is my understanding of the first two passages.
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (Acts 3:16)
Look at Romans 10:17 - There we learn that faith comes by hearing the "Word of God." Jesus Christ IS "THE WORD OF GOD." (John 1) Is this inconsistent with the idea that anyone who hears the Word of God can believe? No. It compliments that idea. Faith comes through Christ. Christ is the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. It is the faith that comes through Him.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3)
This verse I think clearly teaches that faith is a gift.Does it teach that initial belief in Christ is a gift as in the anonymous billionaire depositing money into the account of a "recipient"? I don't think so. This is talking about the members of the body of Christ and how we all differ in levels of courage and trust. This is a different aspect of faith than the faith of the salvation passages. This is to those who have already been given the Spirit - those who are believers. To these this is relevant.
God has not given the same amount of faith to move mountains as he has to Paul, has He? Paul has been seen listing faith as one among many gifts that the Spirit has bestowed on believers: 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
I will get back to the others later. Please feel free to offer any thoughts on what I have posted here.