The Berean Expositor
Volume 42 - Page 7 of 259
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"Salvation-by-grace-through-faith" (Eph. 2: 8, 9).
pp. 159, 160
In a good many minds, it is the acknowledged doctrine that faith is the gift of God.
This, of itself, if used and understood Scripturally is a blessed and wholesome teaching.
Similarly we could say "thought is the gift of God", yet no one would advance as the
corollary "therefore no one can think apart from some specially wrought miracle". The
passage of Scripture of course which is in mind is that magnificent verse of Eph. 2:,
where the Apostle says:
"By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God:
not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2: 8, 9).
The word translated `that' is in the neuter gender. The word translated `faith' is in the
feminine gender, consequently the word `that' cannot refer in the Greek to `faith'.
Moreover, salvation can conceivably be `of works' but faith cannot be. We must be
careful not to confuse Eph. 2: 8, 9 with I Cor. 12: 9:
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one
is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom . . . . . to another faith by the same Spirit."
Here faith is grouped with such Pentecostal gifts as tongues, interpretation of tongues,
the discerning of spirits, the gift of prophecy and the working of miracles. These gifts
were to believers and were given in connection with the practical outworking of the truth
as it pertained to the Acts period. Faith, in the context, cannot be lifted out apart from the
rest of these evidential gifts. It is important to realize that all of them were for saved
people and have no reference to initial salvation by grace or faith in Christ.
Coming back to the passage in Eph. 2:, we should understand this to teach that the
whole plan and scheme of salvation is one `by grace--through faith', and that all of it,
not faith by itself, is the gift of God. It is quite erroneous to tell an unsaved person that
God must first give him the faith before he can believe in Christ. Nor will any man ever
be able to say truthfully "I could not believe because faith was not given to me by God".
A conception such as this is a perversion of truth.