I have a quick question that I am hoping you could help me on. It is about faith and the Arminian view of it. The Arminian side says that we must have faith before we are saved and that is what election is based on, I hope at least that that is what they say. I have been reading [a writer] and he states that we live by the faith of Jesus, not by our faith [in] Him. Meaning it is not our faith that saves us, but rather his faith/faithfulness that saves us. Would you agree to that? It seems like most of the Bible translations have those Scripture verses read our faith. Some that were in the book Gal. 2:20, Rom. 3:22, Philippians 3:8,9.I respond:
He also wrote that the last part of Romans 8:1 should not be included as it is in the KJV. I have looked at the Geneva Bible that you recommended and it has the last part of the verse in there as well. “… that walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” He argues that the writer’s eyes moved to verse 4.
If it is not our faith that saves us, but rather our Lord’s faith/faithfulness that saves us then I wonder how the Arminian side can stand? Would the argument be that it should not read His faith, but it should read our faith?
Thanks for the time and for shedding more light on this for me.
It is the righteousness of Christ, his faithful obedience to God's law, that saves us.
His work is imputed to us by faith. In other words, we trust in the work of Christ.
Thus, faith has an instrumental role.
One important problem with the Arminian position is that it fails to recognize what faith is: faith is trusting in the work of Christ.
Arminian theology tends to change faith into a work, something we do in order to be saved: as though we are saved on account of our faith (the thing itself) rather than on account of Christ's righteousness (the object of faith).
Because Arminian theology views faith as the meritorious cause of our salvation, Arminian theology also often asserts that the elect are chosen on account of foreseen faith.
There is a serious flaw with the Arminian argument though: faith is one of the fruits of the Spirit: it is something that the Spirit produces in us. Scripture says so.
How does the Spirit do so? By opening the spiritually blind eyes, and the spiritually deaf ears. Do you honestly think any person in their right mind prefers eternal punishment to eternal blessedness? Do you honestly think that any person does the calculus and decides that the pleasure of rebellion against God is worth eternal damnation?
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
People do not seek the physician because they do not believe they are ill. Some people may not have looked to the brazen serpent, because they doubted the efficacy of that course of treatment for snake bite. Few people believe that Christ can save them, and few trust in Him to do so.
But note that we do not "trust in trust" or have "faith in faith" instead we trust in Christ, we have faith in the Son of God.
What saves us? It is not our faith, though it is by faith that Christ's righteousness is imputed to us. It is Christ's righteousness that saves us.
Regeneration is the reason we see our sinful condition, our need of a Saviour, and the Identity of that Saviour, the Saviour of the World (for there is no other saviour in the world, nor is there one saviour for Whites and another for Blacks, but one saviour for all nations). With our eyes wide open, what choice do we have?
In one way of looking at it, we have no choice at all. It is a no brainer. We either Worship God or Die. It is the most extreme form of threatening coersion possible, for there is nothing more fearful than Him who can place both body and soul in hell for all eternity.
Those who do not repent of their sins and trust in Christ are blind and deaf to the warnings of the Gospel. "Repent and Believe or Perish," it says.
"I'll take my chances," answers the fool.
So then, it is God that saves us from beginning to end. It is the Spirit that works faith in us, as Scripture says, by opening our minds to the light of the truth so that we may be converted and God would save us.
Is faith a means to the end of our salvation? Certainly.
Is faith obedience to the command of God? Surely.
Yet is faith the meritorious cause of our salvation? God forbid! For salvation is by grace through faith. It is not of ourselves, but a gift of God, lest anyone should boast.
God does not choose to save those who first choose him. God chooses to save some, and consequently arranges so that they choose him. Just as the disciples were chosen by God (not the other way around), so are all the disciples even to the present day. He chooses us, not we him (though we do choose him, and though the disciples did choose him).
I do not think the Arminian position can stand. We do not distinguish ourselves (assisted or unassisted) from those who are lost by a superior exercise of our will - we are distinguished from those who are loss by the grace alone (sola gratia) of God, who has mercy on whom He will.
Praise be His Glorious and Holy Name!
P.S. As for the textual issue, it's not a particularly significant variant, as far as I can tell, because the meaning is about the same whether "who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit" is present once or twice. Without more detailed investigation I'd be inclined to accept it as genuine despite some early manuscripts that omit it, because I think scribes are more likely to omit material than add material. On the other hand, without more investigation (and I have not investigated this variant in much detail) the argument in favor of omission being proper is slightly strengthened by the proximity of the repeat phrase. Still, the phrase really seems to fit the flow of the passage in both cases, and so I don't see a big reason to think it was not original. I'd want to dig deeper before being dogmatic. Is it important? I don't think so: it doesn't significantly change the meaning of the passage whether it is included or omitted (which may be why some scribes omitted it).