Bible Life Ministries teaches salvation by grace through faith but does not support the John Calvin teachings of total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace or perseverance.

Where Does Faith Come From?
Faith of the Son of God or Your Faith?

What is faith?

The word "faith" in the Bible has several definitions depending on the context in which it is used. How a person believes can be defined as faith. A person is said to be strong in faith when he believes something in a very determined manner. On the other hand, a person is said to be weak in faith when his conviction is easily broken. The word "faith" in the Bible sometimes refers to this inner feeling or inner conviction in a person. Jesus was talking about the strength of personal conviction when in Matthew 14:31 He said, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Saving Faith can be said to consist of three components:

The word "faith" in the Bible sometimes means the object of one's faith. The gospel is often referred to as our faith or the faith. In other words, the gospel is the object, not the inner feeling.

Does faith come from God?

Some inner faith comes from God. It is called "the measure of faith" and every person is given this amount as stated in Romans 12:3 below. Atheists are given this amount as well as the most devout Christian. The measure is an amount whereby every person is without excuse for not believing in God. This God-given faith is the initial amount that everyone possessed at one time. A person can go on to develop this faith by studying the Holy Scriptures to build his faith as promised in Scripture, or he can throw away his initial measure of faith. Pastors and preachers commonly teach a false doctrine that all inner faith comes from God. They teach that a person cannot have his own faith. This false doctrine is not supported by Scripture. The origin appears to be one of the many false doctrines of John Calvin who taught that some people are zapped by God with faith while God withholds faith from others.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (KJV) or "a measure of faith." (NKJV)

The Scripture could not mean that God gives a person all of his faith. Otherwise, the verses spoken by Jesus below that criticize the weak faith of a person would mean that God was doing a poor job. Certainly Jesus was not criticizing God because of the person's little faith. The person's faith or lack thereof was his responsibility, not God's failure.

Matthew 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched out [His] hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

Mark 4:40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? (KJV)

God holds each person responsible for his faith or lack thereof. God is pleased when a person has faith and displeased when he does not have faith. God could not hold a person responsible for the lack of faith if faith came from Himself. Hebrews 11:6 shows that each person is responsible for his faith, not God.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith [it] [is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

The following verse is incorrectly used by many pastors and preachers who claim erroneously that all faith comes from God or Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of [our] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

They arrive at a false understanding of Scripture because they interpret the word "faith" in the verse above as that inner feeling of conviction. They teach that Jesus is the author and finisher of our inner faith. This false teaching trashes the gospel of Jesus Christ. The word "faith" in Hebrews 12:2 refers to the gospel. The gospel is our faith. It is what we believe, not how we believe or how strong our conviction. The verse is saying that Jesus created, designed and authored the gospel by which we are saved. He brought the gospel into being and is the finisher who will complete that which He designed and authored.

Notice also the word "our" is in brackets, meaning the word was not in the Greek manuscripts. Perhaps the word "our" should never have been inserted because it was never meant to be there. The verse is not talking about our inner faith. It is talking about the object of our faith, the gospel. It is His faith. He created the gospel. The verse as written in the original Greek gives the correct meaning, "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith." The gospel is His gospel that we correctly call "the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Also notice the end of the sentence following the word "faith." It is the summation of the gospel. Jesus endured the cross to take upon Himself the sins of the entire world. He rose from the grave and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God to give eternal life to all who believe. The verse actually defines the word "faith" for us so as to end the speculation, yet pastors and preachers erroneously teach  the inner faith doctrine while ignoring the gospel clearly presented.

The Scriptures clearly show that faith comes from hearing and responding to the gospel. God uses people to present the gospel to others to accept or reject by free will faith. God does not endow people with saving faith.

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" 17 So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

God sent an angel to instruct Phillip to preach the gospel to an Ethiopian man. God also sent an angel to instruct Cornelius to go to Peter who would proclaim the gospel to him. Saul (Apostle Paul before conversion) was told to go to Damascus where he would be told by Ananias what to do. These versus clearly show that God does not zap people with faith as incorrectly claimed by many pastors and preachers.

Acts 8:26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer [is] silent, So He opened not His mouth. 33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth." 34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, [here] [is] water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

Acts10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout [man] and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!" 4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?" So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 "Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 "He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.... Acts 11:13 "And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, `Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14 `who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.'

Acts 22:12 "Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt [there], 13 "came to me; and he stood and said to me, `Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 "Then he said, `The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 `For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 `And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'

Many pastors and preachers incorrectly use Acts 14:27 to imply that God endows faith by opening the door of faith for selected persons.

Acts 14:27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

These teachers rip and tear Scripture out of context to make false doctrine. The above verse does not say God opens the door of faith for any individual. The verse is clearly in reference to God's turning away from the Jews who rejected the gospel and turning to the Gentiles with the gospel of grace. Jesus had previously restricted the disciples from presenting the gospel to the Gentiles, but now the door was opened to them.

Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 "And as you go, preach, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 "For so the Lord has commanded us: `I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.' "   

Abraham is used as an example about faith. Many pastors falsely teach that God gives faith, but the story in the Bible about Abraham proves otherwise.

Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

We see in Romans 4:3 that Abraham received the credit for having faith. His faith was counted as righteousness. God could not have credited Abraham with righteousness if God had imputed, or zapped, Abraham with faith. False teachers say we are not responsible for our faith or lack thereof, but the Bible teaches from cover to cover that each individual has responsibility to believe and is credited for that faith. 

The personal conviction people call faith could not come entirely from God. We know this because everyone believes differently. God is not the author of confusion. God does not withhold faith from some and give faith to others. The Bible teaches that God desires all to be saved. Cults falsely believe that God has spoken especially to them and them alone. This is certainly a delusion that does not come from God. God has spoken to us through His Holy Word, the Bible, and not by imputed doctrines.

1 Timothy 2:3 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

What is the faith of Jesus Christ or the Son of God?

Many pastors and teachers say that our inner faith is the "faith of Jesus Christ" (KJV) claiming it was His faith given to us. They are talking about our inner feeling of conviction. Others teach it is referring to our inner "faith in Jesus Christ" (NKJV).

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (KJV)

We read over and over where the Apostle Paul is contrasting justification by works of the law with justification by grace without the law or circumcision. This is the principal doctrine in the New Testament and the heart of Galatians. This is the gospel of grace given to Paul by revelation from Jesus Christ. It is the mystery of God kept secret from the foundation of the world until Paul's presentation to the Gentiles for salvation by grace through faith. Paul is presenting this awesome doctrine in the verse above.

The "faith of Jesus Christ" in Galatians 2:16 means the gospel of grace. It does not mean the inner faith a person may possess. Comparing justification by works of the law with one's inner feeling of conviction simply doesn't make sense.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (KJV).

Here again many translators fail to understand the Greek manuscripts and so change "faith of the Son of God" to "faith in the Son of God." The King James Version is correct by saying "the faith of the Son of God." The verse is talking about Jesus' faith, not ours. We live by His faith, meaning His gospel. It also means His faith in that He was faithful in His love for us and faithful in giving Himself for us. The end of the verse gives the definition of His faith. The verse means that the Apostle Paul lived by the gospel of grace and not by the fleshly works of the law.

What word can be substituted for the word "faith" in the following verses so as to not change the meaning of the verse?

Galatians 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. (KJV)

Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all. (KJV)

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (KJV)

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (KJV)

Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (KJV)

Revelations 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, [even] where Satan's seat [is]: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas [was] my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. (KJV)

We can easily see that the word "gospel" can be exchanged for the word "faith" in these verses without changing the meaning. Faith in these verses does not mean one's inner feeling of conviction.

Does Scripture urge us to have faith?

Certainly Jesus would not urge people to have faith in God if there were not personal responsibility for that faith. Jesus could not tell people to have faith in God if God were responsible for their faith. Believing that all of our faith comes from God is contrary to Scripture.

Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God.

Romans 14:22 Do you have faith? Have [it] to yourself before God. Happy [is] he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because [he] [does] not [eat] from faith; for whatever [is] not from faith is sin.

Doubt is the opposite of faith. Doubting is never blamed on God in the Scripture. If all faith were given by God then we could only conclude that doubting was God's failure to provide faith. The Scriptures that warn us about doubting clearly show that faith or the lack thereof is our responsibility. The lack of faith is sin. God is not the author of sin.

Matthew 21:21 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, `Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. 22 "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

We must admit that we do not have great faith. It is truly said, "Every faith healer that ever lived, died." Our greatest faith is minuscule in comparison to Christ's faith. We cannot move mountains. We cannot walk on water. We cannot raise the dead to life. People who have falsely believed they could do these things by their faith were ultimately disappointed by their failure. They then lost the little faith that they initially possessed.

So, how do we get faith?

The Bible clearly tell us how to obtain faith.

Romans 10:17 So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith comes by hearing the Bible preached correctly and by studying God's word ourselves. Faith comes by knowing the true God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Faith comes by learning the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith comes by understanding and interpreting Scripture correctly. Faith comes by rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Faith comes by reading and studying our Bible.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Sloppy Bible study destroys faith because it does not bring forth good fruit. Faith is destroyed by believing error and false teaching. A typical example is that of a pastor whose faith collapsed when he became ill because he falsely taught that faith could heal. Believing error results in the loss of faith because that error will eventually be revealed.

The pastor had a heart attack and was diagnosed as diabetic. He and many members of the church prayed and prayed, but he was not healed. He has been teaching for years that the lack of healing is due to a lack of faith. The pastor preached a false faith-healing doctrine. His faith collapsed because it was based on false doctrines, not on sound Biblical doctrine.

The pastor recovered after a quadruple coronary artery bypass without coming to a true understanding of Biblical doctrines concerning faith and healing. The members of his church promoted the faith-healing false doctrine while they were enjoying excellent health, but when their health had failed they would slink away to join another church. The pastor with the heart attack couldn't easily slink away because he started the church and had set up a lucrative retirement plan for himself. He was forced to admit he had been teaching false doctrine for years.

The pastor still doesn't know the gospel. He encourages people to come forward to "invite Jesus into your heart," but the response is meager. He doesn't know that the doctrine of "inviting Jesus into your heart" is not in the Bible. He whines about the absence of the glory of the Lord, but he doesn't understand why the Holy Spirit is absent from his charismatic service. The joy has turned to gloom.

False teaching will eventually rob a person of his faith, but teaching truth results in a faith that grows and grows. Study the Bible carefully to learn the truth and grow in faith.

John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (KJV)

God sees your heart and hears your prayer. You will have eternal life with God when by faith you believe on Jesus Christ for salvation. No works! No doing! No one else! No judge! God judges the heart. You can trust Him.

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