Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/On Grace and Free Will/Abstract/Chapter 28
Chapter 28.—Faith is the Gift of God.
I have already discussed the point concerning faith, that is, concerning the will of him who believes, even so far as to show that it appertains to grace,—so that the apostle did not tell us, “I have obtained mercy because I was faithful;” but he said, “I have obtained mercy in order to be faithful.” And there are many other passages of similar import,—among them that in which he bids us “think soberly, according as God hath dealt out to every man the proportion of faith;” and that which I have already quoted: “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God;” and again another in the same Epistle to the Ephesians: “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ;” and to the same effect that passage in which he says, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Both alike are therefore due to the grace of God,—the faith of those who believe, and the patience of those who suffer, because the apostle spoke of both as given. Then, again, there is the passage, especially noticeable, in which he says, “We, having the same spirit of faith,” for his phrase is not “the knowledge of faith,” but “the spirit of faith;” and he expressed himself thus in order that we might understand how that faith is given to us, even when it is not sought, so that other blessings may be granted to it at its request. For “how,” says he, “shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?” The spirit of grace, therefore, causes us to have faith, in order that through faith we may, on praying for it, obtain the ability to do what we are commanded. On this account the apostle himself constantly puts faith before the law; since we are not able to do what the law commands unless we obtain the strength to do it by the prayer of faith.
- See above, ch. vii. (16, 17, 18).
- 1 Cor. vii. 25.
- Rom. xii. 3.
- Eph. ii. 8.
- Eph. vi. 23.
- Phil. i. 29.
- 2 Cor. iv. 13.
- Rom. x. 14.