About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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The Source Of Our Faith


The Greek word "pistis" is translated as believe, faith, and trust in our English New Testament.  Pistis means trust.  If you believe in Jesus, you trust Him.  If you have faith in Jesus, you trust Him.  There are many New Testament verses that tell us to believe in Jesus, which suggests that we have the inherent ability to trust Him.  The whosoever believes will be saved in John 3:16 is one such verse.  Acts16:31 is another.


"They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.'"


In light of Acts 16:31 implying that we have the ability to trust Jesus, does 2 Peter 1:1 create a problem for us?   


"Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (CSB)."


Read also Romans 12:3.


"For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one (CSB)."


Verses like John 3:16 and Acts 16:31 that tell us to believe in Jesus imply that we have the inherent ability to generate sufficient faith, belief, or trust in Jesus to be saved.  That suggests faith, belief, or trust in Jesus originates within us.  Verses like 2 Peter 1:1 and Romans 12:3 imply that we have received belief, faith, or trust in Jesus from God.  So, is the source of our faith within us or within God?   It's an age-old question.


Here's my feeble attempt to answer this question.  Jeremiah 17:9 implies that we are so depraved that we can never know how depraved we are.  That tells me that we have no capability to trust our lives with Jesus.  We don't even have the ability to come to Him to get saved unless God draws us to Him (John 6:44).  God, thus, chooses to save us (Ephesians 1:4) and in the process becomes the originator and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:3).  That makes sense to me because, from the beginning of all things, to the end of all things, Jesus is the first and last, the initiator and finisher of all things (Revelation 1:8).


I conclude that whosoever wishes to be saved by believing (John 3:16, Acts 16:31) are those whom God chooses (Ephesians 1:4) to draw close to Jesus (John 6:44) to receive the ability to trust Him (2 Peter 1:1, Romans 12:3).  The source of my faith, my belief, my ability to trust Jesus, comes from Jesus, not from me.  I realize this opens a long-standing debate that I will never end.  Whatever the case, it's my feeble attempt to unite two opposing Scriptural concepts, and who knows, my feeble attempt may be modified at a later date.      

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