The Trinitarian God and the gift of faith

 There has always been controversy on how we become followers of Christ.  The truth is we were dead in our sins and trespasses and there is no way a person who is dead towards God can become alive.  It is an impossibility. Faith is seen as a gift of God and so it should be.  St Augustine was living the sinful life and then he heard a child singing about opening a book. He took it as a command from God and he got converted after reading Romans:

Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.Romans 13:13-14”

(Taken from https://www.midwestaugustinians.org/conversion-of-st-augustine )

Whilst walking 10000 steps this was the view! Beautiful

 

Faith is a gift because God has to make the first move and then there is the effect of salvation (mystical union).  I don’t understand how the work of salvation happens and the order.  It is a mystery:

“. . . God works in us without our help. ” Without any cooperation on our part, God begins this regeneration in us by his irresistible grace, penetrating our conscience through to our heart and pouring into us a new life-principle. This enlightens our understanding, judgment, conscience, and memory so that the darkness disappears, and we evaluate ourselves, God, and Christ differently.113 The scales fall from our eyes (Acts 9:18). God bends and turns around our will, so that sinners cannot resist, and drives them to Christ; he re-creates their inclinations and passions and rekindles in them a love for God and Christ. He opens the heart, as he did with Lydia (Acts 16:14), rips away the lock of the heart (Hosea 13:8), which until now was closed through prejudgments, and conquers the power and mastery of the flesh. The “new person” is born and the old has passed away (2 Cor. 5:17).” (Taken from Reformed Ethics; by Herman Bavinck; edited by John Bolt; Baker publishing; page 262)

This is why faith should be seen as a gift.  If I was a car God had to turn the ignition key for it to start.  The engine would start, the lights would work, the mileage would show up and the tank of petrol would be full. Even though God created the whole of the universe and mankind, he also created a brand-new creation in the human being.  When a person was estranged from God one moment, the next moment they are worshipping him.  What a mystery!

In relation to this mystery Bavinck quotes Jesus:

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8”

As Bavinck says this new birth, regeneration ‘born again’ is completely mysterious to us.  We don’t even know how it happens:

“We do not know how life comes to the soul—Whether it is carried in from the outside or created from within.”  He also quotes revelations:

“And the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” Revelation 1:18

God uses Scripture and it is the Holy Spirit who wields this sword.  Bavinck uses the metaphor of a hammer hitting us.

God the Holy Spirit has to make us ‘living twigs’ before we can be ingrafted into the olive tree:

He says “But the only way to come into fellowship with Christ is by faith; this assumes a spiritual act, and it thus already assumes spiritual life, rebirth.  Thus we arrive at this proposition: the initial life in regeneration is produced through and from the Holy Spirit, and that life is manifest in the work of faith, and that faith grasps Christ.118 Mystical union arises (logically) after regeneration, simultaneously with and through faith. Becoming one with Christ, we therefore already have the organizing principle of life. But this life-principle now draws, as it grows, all its power, strength, and nourishment from Christ. And in order to be grafted into him who is the olive tree, we must already be living twigs. One does not engraft dead branches.” (From pages 262-263)

Reflection

We now understand why faith is a gift of God. While we were sinners before the foundation of the world God had a plan for us.  God called us while deep in sin. I’m not going any deeper than this at the moment because my aim is to encourage believers to stay faithful to Christ.  A gift is a beautiful thing if it is from the heart.  God created us in the first place in the first creation.  We messed up really badly and we lost our way home to our spiritual father.  Therefore, God has made a new creation in us by writing his laws on our hearts.  To me election is like the wind we will never fully grasp it here on earth.  There is no guarantee that even after 10000 years we will understand the depths of election and how much God really loved us.    The main point is that we have been saved from eternal separation from our Trinitarian God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: