God Does Not Impute Faith

There are today many evangelicals who have redefined “faith alone” as including works. Since the faith which believes the gospel is the same faith which makes an effort to get more “sanctified”, the words “faith alone” are no magical cure.

According to Romans 4:5, faith alone is “not works”. The point of faith alone is “grace alone”. “To the one who does NOT work but trusts Him who justifies the ungodly, it is counted as righteousness.”

According to Romans 9:11, we cannot say grace alone without saying “for the elect alone”. “Though they were not yet born and had done nothing good or bad-in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of His call.”

Most evangelicals ignore this connection between “not because of works” and election. In coalitions they often attempt to discuss the gospel without talking about election, and then mostly all they can do is say “not because of works but because of faith alone”.

Even if you believe that Christ died for every sinner, many who call themselves “Reformed” will tell you that God effectually called you to believe that falsehood. In some non-coalition setting, they will explain a more “precise” view of things which you might want to add on to what you already believe without needing to repent of a false gospel.

Before you believed in a faith alone gospel, and now you still believe in a faith alone gospel but now you know that the faith came from God.

Faith is hearing produced by God by means of the gospel. The power is in the true gospel, not in a false gospel. I Corinthians 1: 18, “for the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, IT is the power of God.”

It is not enough to talk about election as simply that which make certain that some sinners have faith alone. If the object of the faith alone is a false Christ who died for everybody and who makes faith some kind of condition, then this “faith alone” is not in the true Christ but is instead in “faith alone”.

“Faith alone” is not the condition of justification, but to see that, we need a message which tells us about God’s election.

Election is God’s idea. This idea goes along with the idea of not works. Romans 9:11: “In order that God’s election might continue, not because of works.”

Romans 11:5, “So too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. But if it by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would be no more grace.”

Why didn’t the Apostle Paul just say: “by faith and not by works”? Why did he bring in this idea of a remnant? Paul writes about election in order to explain what he means by faith. Paul does not regard “faith alone” as a substitute for works.

God imputes the righteousness revealed in the gospel to a person justified by the gospel. The “it” which is imputed by God to Abraham is the obedient bloody death of Christ Jesus for the elect alone. The merit and value of this death, the righteousness of God obtained by Christ, that is what God imputes to the elect alone. God does not impute faith.

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3 Comments on “God Does Not Impute Faith”

  1. David Bishop Says:

    God is the first cause of faith in a sense similar to the sense that He is the first cause of every activity and event in His universe. He is the first cause of every birth the same as He is the first cause of every death. In a similar sense, He is also the first cause of a person’s faith, the difference being that He first justifies and then regenerates the person He causes to have faith. He justifies me. He opens the eyes of my mind to understand His gospel and changes my nature so that I want to obey Him by believing that His gospel is true, before I then with my reasoning conclude that His gospel is true. He causes the belief, and I do the believing. To assert then that the cause of His first cause is me is to reject the assertion that He is the first cause. It’s circular reasoning, in other words. Either He is the first cause or He is not. He cannot be both the first cause and not the first cause. He does not share His role in first causes with me.

  2. jsm52 Says:

    “… the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation.”

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Mark Snoeberger–The fact that Christ speaks regularly and with vivid imagery of faith as having dimension (it can be little or great and can grow) and even as having material properties (it can be the size of a grain of mustard) leaves some imagining that faith by its nature is an objective substance that we receive extra nos (i.e., from without us). This is not to say that they view faith as a physical substance. Still the imagery is strong and the potential for confusion is great. Many, in my experience, pray for faith with the expectation that God will miraculously and externally insert some faith “substance” into the mind. http://www.dbts.edu/journals/2002/Snoeberger.pdf

    http://www.dbts.edu/journals/1997/Nature.pdf


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