“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)
The flow of salvation is such that, there is no way that any man has ever come to God by himself. The Bible says, “All we like sheep have gone astray…” (Isa. 53:6), no one is turning to God, and no one can come to God unless God draws him (cf. Jn. 6:44). I believe in predestination, and the other term for that is Grace. Grace is the unmerited, undeserved, no-strings-attached love of God for man. It is fully culminated, it is fully flowered, fully matured in the birth, life ministry, teachings, death, resurrection, and coming again of Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace. “For by grace you have been saved (perfect passive participle – it happened in the past by an outside agent, and it’s a continuing experience) through faith…” Are we saved by grace or are we saved by faith? We are saved by grace, but there’s no other way to be saved than through faith. By that i mean, man must respond to it. Faith is not a work. Faith is a response to grace. Faith in Greek can be translated three ways – BELIEVE, TRUST, FAITH. Biblical faith primarily is the word trust, trustworthiness, loyalty. Faith is not something that focuses on man. Faith is something that relates to God. Faith is the trustworthiness of God demonstrated in the Bible and experienced in a person’s life. We trust God because He has proved Himself to be dependable and trustworthy. Faith is a response in man to the trustworthiness of the promises of God. Faith is not how deep you feel. Faith is not how emotionally high you can get. Faith is not how committed you are. Faith is directed toward God, not toward you. Grace is unconditional, and faith is the condition. But how can something be unconditional and yet conditioned? Think with me > salvation is absolutely 100% free. You can’t earn it, you can’t deserve it, and you can’t merit it. God gives it with no strings attached, but it costs everything that you are. It is the pearl of great price (cf. Matt. 13:45-46) that when a man finds Jesus, everything else becomes insignificant compared to Him. He becomes the consuming desire and motive of human life. Our response to Him is the condition of unconditional love.