October 23, 2017

Sola Fide: Faith, the Channel of Grace

Ephesians 2:1-9

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

—  Ephesians 2:8

The word faith can have several meanings. Sometimes it means simple assent to a fact or an idea as true. Sometimes it refers to a body of religious teaching. In the Bible it can sometimes refer to a special amount of faith, as in “a faith that can move mountains” (1 Corinthians 13:2). But the most common use of faith refers to an implicit trust or reliance on something or someone.

For Christians, that sense of trust or reliance points to saving faith in Jesus Christ. As Ephesians 2:8 points out, we are saved by grace “through faith.” In contrast to the church teaching of his time, Martin Luther rediscovered that salvation is by grace and is received through faith. Grace wrapped in faith is the gift of God.

Instead of seeing faith as something required in order to receive grace, Luther found that faith is a channel of God’s grace. In other words, even the faith we need in order to acknowledge Jesus as Lord comes graciously from God through the power of the Holy Spirit. If it were any other way, we could boast: “I found Jesus!”

Paul emphasizes that no boasting is allowed. God finds us. Even the faith to accept Jesus comes through grace alone. Indeed, grace alone and faith alone are like two sides of the same coin.

In your grace and mercy, O Father, you have provided us not only with a Savior but also with the faith to trust in him for our salvation and our lives. Thank you. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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