I have been meditating lately on the nature of faith, how it is both an act of the will and yet is the chosen means by which one receives salvation which is "not of works." May I share my thoughts with you?Without doubt, faith is exerted by the will of an individual, and may therefore be properly called a work. There are two reasons, however, why faith should not be considered meritorious in salvation. First, the origin of saving faith is the effectual work of the Holy Spirit at regeneration. "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ... to believe on him." [Phil. 1:29]Secondly, faith's suitability before God as the means by which one receives salvation is due to the object which it grasps, Christ Victorious, rather than the activity of faith itself. Like the Syrian leper wading into Jordan's healing waters, faith receives a blessing only for that into which it goes. [2 Kings 5] Thus Paul writes that men are saved "through faith," by grace alone and that "not of yourselves but the gift of God." [Eph. 2]Faith is a grace which works most by resting most. It is a mere faucet tapped into the Fountain of Living Waters. Faith in Christ is like an insect encased in amber, beautified and valuable for what it is in, despicable and worthless if found crawling elsewhere.Faith is a good eye, into which the light of Christ's salvation freely flows. An eye strains no more to bring in the suns rays, than faith works to behold Jesus as the Savior whose promises are 'Yes and Amen.' Blind eyes have no appreciation for what they cannot see, but those with any sight at all cannot help but gaze on Christ's brightness, and long for still better vision. Christ is the only Light which heals blindness by brightness, and improves one's vision by every sight of His increasing radiance.
Well said, brother. Thank you for pointing out that the Scripture speaks of salvation "by" grace, "through" faith. There is a great difference between the actual saving virtue and the means to get it. Food nourishes the body, not the hand, but you need the hand to bring the food to the mouth.I've always loved how the sequence is laid out so clearly in Romans 3:"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,"Being justified freely BY His grace, THROUGH the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,Whom God hath set forth a propitiation THROUGH faith in His blood."
Amen. Glad the post was of use to you, Eli.Isn't the gospel glorious? Our God is wise beyond comprehension, and just as merciful in Christ.