Thursday, June 15

Does regeneration precede faith? part 5

Jazzycat's Post...........

You stated the following:

I don't quite know what to say about your assertion that "faith clearly follows God taking action in this passage." Faith is not mentioned until you get to v. 8, and I am sure you know that the syntax of the nouns, specifically their gender, and the demonstrative pronoun are not "clear." I'll write up another post about this, suffice it to say that there is nothing in the syntax of Ephesians 2:1-8 that will allow you to say that "faith clearly follows God taking action in this passage."

Eph. 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

I am stating the following: At the instant God made them alive they were dead in transgressions and were unbelievers and without faith. Unbelievers do not have faith and you have agreed that they are unbelievers. (This text begins with a clear assertion that unbelievers are "dead in trespasses and sins.") You have also agreed that God alone gives life and unbelievers do not have the ability to give themselves life.
(May 3, 7:19 am) So I'm not sure that we differ on our understanding of Ephesians 2:4-5. God alone gives life to the unbeliever; the unbeliever cannot give himself life because he's dead!

Therefore, in v. 4 & 5 God takes action by making unbelievers alive. Since as unbelievers they do not have faith at that point, then faith occurs at some point after “God made alive.” We can debate what dead in transgressions means and demonstrative pronouns in v. 8, but in this passage it is clear that God has acted by making unbelievers (people without faith) alive with Christ. If God first changes people who do not have faith, then it is very clear that this action precedes faith. Faith comes at some point after God has made them alive since they do not have faith when God makes them alive. Does this clear up my assertion that faith follows God’s taking action in this passage?

Considering what you have affirmed about Eph. 2:4-5 above, I am perplexed by your wanting to go to v. 8 and claim that the addition of ‘it is by grace you have been saved’ in verse 5 means they had come to faith even though it is not mentioned. Paul clearly states in v. 5 that nothing has changed from v. 1-3 they were unbelievers then and are unbelievers at the instant they are being made alive. It would have been easy for Paul to write your interpretation into the text. He could have replaced: even when we were dead in transgressions in v. 5, with: when we came to faith. But he didn’t and to assert that ‘even when we were dead in transgressions’ really means ‘when we came to faith’ is the ultimate in forcing Scripture through a theological template. In politics they call it spinning.

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