We Don’t Bring Faith to the Gospel, the Gospel Brings Faith to us

The point of faith alone is “not by works”. Faith is not something you bring to the gospel. Faith is something that the gospel brings to the elect. I am not saying we have to hear a preacher or a sermon. But it is necessary for us to HEAR the gospel.

This HEARING is not works but faith. Galatians 3: 5-8, “ Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. I know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, forseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham….”

Since this text does not talk about election, and since it does talk about faith four times, what then is the gospel preached to Abraham that we should proclaim?

First, notice that faith is a hearing produced by God by means of the gospel. The power is not in us but in the gospel message. 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.”

The full gospel needs to be proclaimed to all sinners (and not just those who have the money to get into Reformed conferences). The gospel is only good news for the elect, but we don’t know who the elect are until they have believed the gospel. The promise of the gospel is not for the children of the flesh but for the children of the promise, but we don’t know who the children of the promise are until they have been called.

As Romans 9: 7 reminds us, not all are offspring of Abraham because they are his offspring. As Acts reminds us time after time, the promise is for “as many as“ are called. (2:39, 4:4 ).

We must not leave Christ out of election. It is not enough to talk about calling and election, if election is simply to make sure that some sinners have faith alone. If the object of the faith alone is a false gospel which says that Christ loves everybody and desires to save everybody but that faith is some kind of condition of this salvation, then the faith alone is not in the true Christ. At that point, faith alone has as its object faith alone

We don’t bring faith to the true gospel, because the true gospel brings faith (hearing) to the elect. The message (for the elect alone) is to be proclaimed to elect and non-elect alike, but it (the message) is the power of God to the elect alone.

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4 Comments on “We Don’t Bring Faith to the Gospel, the Gospel Brings Faith to us”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Faith in the gospel is not merely “evidence” of personal justification, because there has to be faith in the gospel before you personally are justified. The gospel is NOT that you personally are justified. The gospel is that NOT all sinners are justified but on “condition”—- at the same time, faith is not saying well i believe and then step two i find out if I am personally justified because involved in believing the gospel is believing the promise that those who personally believe are personally justified—-this does not make believing a “condition”

  2. However; faith is called evidence in Hebrews chapter 11.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Our reasons for belief are not only sometimes sinful. Our reasons fro faith are always at the same time sinful. When we continue to believe, it is not because we have now found some more moral reasons to believe or some less selfish motives for faith,so that now we know how to make sure that Christ is always the object of our faith. We continue to trust not our new lack of self-righteousness. We continue to put our faith in the gospel, because even when our faith is always still sinful, God has made Christ the true object of our faith.

  4. markmcculley Says:


    fudged renunciation a la Freud or ideological obfuscation a la Marx or the cunning of ressentiment la Nietzsche

    when the author rightly sees that Nietzsche is no “cynic,” he concludes that Nietzsche’s threat is merely that “no piety is exempt from scrutiny,” never adducing Nietzsche’s actual alternative to cynicism, a nihilism consisting in the impossibility of all piety.

    It no doubt goes with the manageability of the threat as seen here that where occasional concrete responses are recommended, these too are less than intrepid. Marx is to be satisfied with liberation theology, Nietzsche with a moderate Lutheran antinomianism, and Freud with “real” renunciation.

    Freud and Marx and Nietzsche charge that the holding of religious beliefs is itself sufficient evidence of bad faith. Therefore I cannot tell them, “I have thought these true things for the following disgraceful reasons, of which I now repent. Henceforth I will think the same things but for better reasons.” For if I continue to hold the beliefs in question, merely thereby I prove to them that I have not in fact repented.

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