Q. In your Psalm 91 posting you stated that “The faith we have to believe is a gift from God (Ephes. 2:8-9)…”, which is a very strong point for a Calvinist. I think the proper interpretation of that verse is that God’s “grace” is the gift, not “faith”. A study on the gift of God in the NT will clarify that position. Paul did state in 1 Cor. 12:9 that “faith” is a special spiritual gift, as contrasted with the other 7 listed gifts. So not all of those mentioned had the gift of “faith”, which implies that this was a special empowering of “faith”. I believe that this is the only place in the NT where the “gift of faith” is stated.
A. The rules of grammar require that the word gift in Ephes. 2:8 refers to the faith we’re given, not to God’s grace. The fact that others use the verse improperly does not justify breaking these rules. Certainly our salvation is a manifestation of God’s grace, but it’s given only to those who ask in faith. Before we receive the Holy Spirit we’re unable to comprehend the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14), therefore we cannot generate the faith to believe God would do such a thing for us.
But according to Romans 8:29-30 God fore knew that we would one day choose to become His, and reserved a place for us in His kingdom accordingly. At the appropriate time in our life He called us to do what He had already seen us do and gave us the faith to do it. When we responded, He cleansed us of our sins and gave us the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephes. 1:13-14). As we felt the weight of our sins being lifted from us, the Holy Spirit opened our eyes to the things of God. His word, which had previously been confusing to us, suddenly became clear, and through hearing and comprehending it, the faith He had given us grew to become our own (Romans 10:17).
The gift of faith mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:9 is different in that it’s not something every believer receives. It’s a supernatural faith that allows those who’ve received it to believe the impossible and is often accompanied by the gifts of healing, miracles, and prophecy.