DOES GOD GIVE FAITH?
A recent journal article in the May/June 2011 issue of Grace in Focus by Dr. Bob Wilkin raised the question, “Is God An Equal Opportunity Saver?” In his article’s Conclusion, Dr. Wilkin answered the question with the assertions: “He [God] doesn’t give anyone faith . . . Everyone is capable of coming to faith.” The following comments offer the biblical alternative: “God does indeed give faith.”
An Unbeliever’s Spiritual Status
The apostle Paul wrote that all unbelievers are “. . . dead [spiritually] in your trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Under such a spiritual status, no one is capable of coming to faith. Such a spiritual predicament may have been the reason Jesus told Nicodemus that, “. . . unless one is born again [spiritually], he can not see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
God’s Solution to the Spiritual Predicament
Since Nicodemus was Israel’s teacher (John 3:10), he should have been familiar with God’s promise to Ezekiel that He, God, would give a new heart and a new spirit (Ezek. 36:26-27). This new spiritual equipment installed by the Spirit gives someone suffering the spiritual predicament the ability to believe with his new heart (cf. Rom. 10:9 wherein Paul identified the heart as the “organ” of belief). Paul proclaimed the contents of what is to be believed: “. . . through this One [Jesus] is forgiveness of sins . . .” (Acts 13:38). Of course, God provided Jesus’ death and resurrection as the basis for His solution.
God Gives Faith
Therefore, God does graciously give faith–not only the ability to believe with the new heart, but also the content of that belief. This would make one’s salvation through faith not of himself, but rather the gift of God (cf. Eph. 2:8). The results: “. . . as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).