CHB - "Actually it is not our faith either"
Excellent C. It's His faith working through us.
"For it's by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, lest any man should boast".
Author/Finisher - predestined unto good works - He Who has begun a good work in you will complete it. Thank you Father.
I think if you follow the pronouns on this one, you might miss something. While it is true, faith is not "of yourselves" still it is YOUR faith that is proved by YOUR works; James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Good question, that's a bit of "holy battleground", isn't it. It can appear a contradiction. But rightly divided, there's no contradiction between Paul and James. I believe good works are a result of
Christ working in and through the saved believer's regenerated heart. A product, and evidence
of the new spiritual birth ...
Saving faith will produce a changed life. A person who is saved is trusting Christ alone for their salvation, not their works (ie Romans). And I believe that faith is given
, not conjured up. The devils believe and tremble, but they're not redeemed.
However, once saved by grace alone, a true Christian will want to
and be inclined toward practicing good works such as feeding the poor (ie James). Not to earn salvation -- which they already have -- but because
they are saved. (see Ephesians 2:8-10). The changed heart, the Spirit's work within.
Perhaps James is warning of a belief in facts (i.e., head knowledge without a new birth) -- a type of faith that never results in a changed life?
Saving faith comes when someone stops trusting their own goodness or work (Phil. 2:8) and puts all their trust in Christ for salvation. And this type of faith will naturally exhibit good works.
I do believe we are responsible for obedience, surrender, entering into His "rest" (total trust in Him). But if it's OUR works through our effort alone, then how can Jesus be both the Originator and Completer of our faith? How can the scriptures say that "He
who has begun a good work in you will
complete it"? This is not some sort of "do what you want/easy believism". It cost our Lord His life, and His work in and on behalf of a believer is a very serious and effective thing. It will show evidence and produce fruit - His
fruit. Believe me, I do know that it's a hard thing to let go of our own struggling and just keep pressing into Him, His righteousness, His goodness, His strength. I've been one of the "best" (worst) struggling Christians you've even seen. But my own efforts at goodness failed miserably. I'm having to learn by my mistakes and failures (read, sin).
Anyway, that's kind'a how I see it. Anyone else?