Bob Hill on Faith being a Gift of God

From Bob Hill’s discontinued website:

Question: Ephesians 2:8, is faith a gift of God?

i. Dear Ryan,

ii. I’m happy that our site helped you.

iii. In Ephesian 2:8,9, it’s not faith that is a gift from God, it is salvation. There is no place in the New Testament that says faith is a gift of God. There is a passage that some think says that faith is a gift. It is the verse you mentioned, Eph 2:8,9 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. However, the Greek for that verse does not say faith is the gift of God. When we look at the underlying Greek, we see that “grace” (xariti) is feminine and faith (pistews) is feminine, but the demonstrative adjective, “that” (touto) is neuter, likely the neuter complement of an abstract subject, salvation. If the “that” was referring to the feminine word “faith” (pistews), it would have been in the feminine case. So, instead, it is referring to the concept of salvation in the periphrastic participle, “have been saved”.

iv. When referring to concepts where the noun is not in the context, the word is usually in the neuter. Therefore, the gift that is being referred to by “that” (touto) is salvation. Salvation certainly is God’s gift to everyone who believes. Acts 13:39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

v. This faith is our faith. Notice the following passages. Matthew 15:28 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 17:20 20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Mark 2:5 5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” Luke 7:9 9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” Luke 7:50 50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Acts 14:9 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, Romans 1:17 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 3:25 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, Romans 3:26 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:27 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Romans 4:5 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 1 Corinthians 15:14 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 1 Corinthians 15:17 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Ephesians 1:15 15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, Colossians 1:4 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 1 Thessalonians 1:8 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 1 Timothy 1:5 5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.

vi. Let me know if this does not answer your question.

vii. In Christ,

viii. Bob Hill

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