Faith by Grace?

This past Sunday I taught on Ephesians 2:8-10 and what it means to have a Grace Shaped Life.  So often we go through life trying to find our identity in what we do, which leads us to run ourselves ragged on the ever exhausting performance treadmill.  However, God’s grace lets us get off that treadmill and find rest in an identity that he gives us instead of one that we have to work to earn.  Grace gives us rest and from that place of rest, we are empowered to work.  Grace is not meant to make us lazy, but by resting in who we are we become empowered to live the tremendously meaningful lives that God created us to live.

Here is a question that I received as I was preaching.  I hope you find the answer helpful.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to send them my way.  I love to have back and forth dialogue!

Question:  If you have faith because of grace, does that mean that if you do not have faith, the grace of God isn't "reaching" you?

I’m not 100% sure what this person means by “reaching you”.   These texts are sent in anonymously, so if you wrote this and my answer misses what you are trying to say, please feel free to reach out to me directly.  I’m going to take this to mean that if you don’t have faith does that mean that God hasn’t given you saving grace?  If that is the question, then the biblical answer is yes.

Faith is a voluntary act of our will, however, our will is enslaved to sin.

The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.  They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.  (Psa 14:2-3 ESV)

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-- every one-- to his own way;  (Isa 53:6 ESV)

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (Joh 8:34 ESV)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Rom 1:18-21 ESV)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, (Eph 2:1-2 ESV)

 

All these metaphors of slavery and death speak to the hardness of our hearts again God. We are not born with a freedom to place our faith in God, because our will has been corrupted by our sin.  Therefore, we need the grace of God to free us (Romans 5:15-17) and make our dead hearts alive (Ezekiel 11:19, Ephesians 2:4-5)  This grace is not given equally to all people.  It is undeserved and so no one has any right to demand it of God.  It is given by God as a gift (Eph 2:8).  Not on the basis of anything that we do (Eph 2:9).  We aren’t given grace because we are special, but because God chose to have a special love for us simply out of the goodness of who he is (Eph 1:4-6).  The response of a heart has that has been acted upon by the grace of God is always that of faith, for who can resist God’s will? (Romans 9:19)  


And so yes, faith is only possible through the grace of God and anyone who has received the grace of God will have faith.  That’s why our salvation is to the praise of His glorious grace and not the triumph of us figuring things out and having faith (Eph 1:6).  At the end of the day, God is the hero of our story!

-  Pastor Jeff

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