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Ephesians 2:8 (The Message)

Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! 

The word for faith means trust. God cannot give us trust. He gave us the ability to trust. Every man has that (Romans 12:3) – Paul calls it the measure of faith. God gives us that. It means the ability to believe, since God cannot trust for us. It can also mean that He has given us “the faith”, which is the new and living way. And it also means ‘fidelity’ or trustworthiness/faithfulness.

Paul is actually talking about thinking soberly of ourselves, saying that each one has the measure of trust, the same as anyone. No one has or gets more faith/trust. Either you believe or you don’t. Actually, if everyone believed because it was a gift, then preaching would be unnecessary.

The idea that faith is a gift comes from misreading and misunderstanding these passages. Perhaps seeing faith as a gift appeals to those who think that using faith is a work. But scripture says without faith it’s impossible to please God. You don’t use your faith anymore than you can use your trust. Faith is something you have.

In other words, we must believe that He is in order to even come to Him. This is called having faith toward God, often badly translated as the faith of God. But in the passages that say that, God is the modifier for the word, faith. It is having the God kind of faith, or faith in Him. God doesn’t have or need faith. He knows and doesn’t need to trust. 

Therefore all people have the ability to believe. He gave us that much, but He does not trust or believe for us or give us His trust. We trust. Suppose we want to believe and can’t seem to. If faith is a gift, then we would be blaming God for not giving us this necessary gift. How preposterous! 

Some say that the gift of faith is ours and we just need to use it. Well, how to you use trust? You have trust, you don’t use it. Trust comes from being persuaded of something. In fact, the word for faith also means to be persuaded.

Again, God doesn’t give us persuasion, any more than He gives us trust. How do we become persuaded that anything is true? We hear about it and make up our minds, perhaps with the spirit’s nudging, but we believe it. We have faith. We trust. It’s the same root word, meaning to believe or to trust.

The gift is salvation, by grace – and grace is His favoring us, and His divine influence in our hearts. Grace enables us to believe. It is that divine spark in us that only mankind has. And yes, trust is one of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, like the fruit of the spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-9).

Clearly, if faith is handed out to this one or that one, this passage in 1 Corinthians cannot be talking about basic faith or trust. It is something else here.

Grace is the gift and its various out-workings are by the Holy Spirit.

True, we do not earn grace or salvation. God gives it to us because He loves us. We are His children. The idea that we don’t deserve it is not the best understanding of favor. Like we give good things to our children without making them earn it or do something to deserve it, God gives gifts, like grace, to us. But faith/trust is not one of them.

This is by a friend, John P. Cwynar
I realize that humanly speaking, there is a process to everything, but I think it can be over done when it comes to forgiveness. We stall the act of forgiveness by saying “we don’t feel it” or “we are just not ready to forgive someone” or “forgiveness takes time.” As a counselor, I realize that it is extremely difficult to let go of years & years of being abused… especially when there is no repentance on the part of the abuser.

But forgiveness is not only difficult… it is an impossible task for a human to do… and yet forgiveness took place in an instant 2,000 years ago. Jesus did what we could never do… and He did it in our place at the cost of His Life. Forgiveness is already a completed act on behalf of every man, woman and child that has ever lived. No offense exists between me and God or me and every man that has not already been forgiven.

To forgive one another AS Christ has forgiven us… is to consciously enter into agreement with what Jesus has already done. When someone ‘offends me’… and I forgive them… I am just saying the AMEN to what Jesus has already done. I remove the perceived offense on my end, because the offense in reality has already been removed. The thorn and weight of the offense has already been removed for me, so that I can heal and move on with my life.

The perceived ‘process’ of forgiveness has to do with our feelings. Feeling forgiven or feeling that we have forgiven another is what often takes time… even though we have forgiven. But, waiting to forgive until I feel like forgiving, is like leaving the thorn in the wound and expecting it to heal. Or it is like continuing to carry an unnecessary and unbearable burden… and wondering why I can’t seem to move on with my life. The act of forgiveness done in Jesus Name allows us to let it go once and for all days… because He has done it already for me. His Spirit enables me to do this.

Status Update
By John P. Cwynar
Forgiveness: A Process or An Act?

There is a lot being said lately about how all in Adam die and all in Christ will be made alive. This is scripture. Let’s look at it.

1 Corinthians 15:22 – [ Young’s Literal]

…for even as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all shall be made alive,

2 Corinthians 5:19 – [ Young’s] that God was in Christ — a world reconciling to Himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses; and having put in us the word of the reconciliation,

The word, in, doesn’t necessarily mean something is located within something else.


Preposition –  Definition:  in, by, with etc.

Another way of reading ‘in’, when dealing with passages like 1 Cor 15:22, is to read it as ‘because of’, ‘by this means’, or ‘due to.

This is the best sense of 2 Corinthians 5:19:

[ The Message Bible ] God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing.

Clearly, in the light of many passages to the contrary, we cannot say that all men are in Christ, as united with Him. Only believers have a part in Him. That does not mean all aren’t reconciled because of His saving work. They are. But all are not in Him. As I looked at this, I saw that all were not “in” Adam either. All die because of/by Adam.

All who receive Christ are the ones who are part of Him, the spiritual seed of Abraham. Paul said all Israel was not Israel.  And yes, it’s tricky. But not if you understand the meaning of saying ‘in’. All people in the whole world are not in Christ. They are reconciled by the work of Christ on the cross. But they are not in Him.

What’s the big deal? Well, to say the whole world is in Christ is to ignore plain statements to the contrary. It is to believe something that is not supported by the general tenor of scripture. It is to believe an absurdity.

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