Ephesians 2:8 states that one is saved by grace through faith. In other words, this implies that faith is not what ultimately saves us, but God’s grace. Faith is simply the means to that which saves us—grace. If salvation was based ultimately on man’s faith, it would be frail for it would be based on man; and man’s faith is inadequate for such is man. However, we can trust our faith to save us not because of ourselves but because of the trustworthiness of the one in whom our faith lies—God. Faith directs everything to the one in whom faith is given. Faith is not what saves. God and His grace does. Faith is simply man’s response to God’s gift of salvation. Scripture is not saying one is saved by his response to God’s action; but through that response he is saved by what God has done. Paul said all this much simpler: “This is not of yourselves.”
Although “saved by faith” is a nice abbreviated expression (cf. Luke 7:50).
Although true saving faith is a divine gift, something God grants believers (Eph 2:8; 1 Cor 3:6; 12:13; Phil 1:29; 2 Peter 1:1), it is yet something man does (believe, trust) and is fallible (Mark 9:24). Further, because grace is a divine gift, one does well to even state that one’s saving faith is only by grace. So even with faith as a means of salvation, the means only exists due to grace.
Further, faith cannot be what ultimately saves someone for if one simply had faith in God to save him, but God wasn’t (hypothetically speaking) extending grace and “in the business of saving,” the faith would be pointless. (Of course this illustration is not even possible for one cannot even have faith apart from God’s gracious work).
* Originally posted on former blog, I’m Calling Us Out.