If God gives us faith, does that mean that the faith is perfect and that we are not those believing

Malcolm Smith–“God works his work in you, which is the work already accomplished by Christ.

John Crowder– “God didn’t save you so you could do good. God saved you so you could be dead and then God could work through you. God does not want to you try to work. God is only pleased with what Christ does, God does not help you. God does things for you”. (Mystical Union, 2010)

Richard x–“It wasn’t me, it was the grace of God that was with me and there is no me, at least there is no me which does anything acceptable to God.”

If soundbites like the three above make you think the grace of God is being exalted, then you need to begin to ask some more questions. It is not some present work which is our Propitiation, and there is no need to confuse our present working with God’s present working.

If God gives us faith, does that mean the faith must be perfect, and if the faith is perfect, does that mean that we are not those who are believing, and does that mean it is God in us believing for us?

If God gives us faith, does that mean that God gives us a new nature, and does that mean that the new nature is not us, and does that mean that we still can’t do anything acceptable or pleasing to God, because we are still the old nature and God is the new nature?

Hebrews 13: 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God…

Romans 7:4 –You have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

The idea of the “exchanged life” is that we “let go and let God”. But we need to remember human agency. God’s sovereignty does not mean that God believes the gospel for us. God causes us to believe the gospel.

God’s sovereignty does not mean that God is doing what we do. God is not sinning when we sin, and God is not obeying when we obey. God causes us to obey. and that is different from saying that God obeys for us.

Hearing Christ preached is not the same thing as Christ Himself preaching.

The Bible does not command us to empty ourselves so that Christ will then do the believing and obeying in us and for us. The Holy Spirit does not replace us, nor does being in Christ and Christ being in us mean that Christ replaces us.

Even though Christ alone replaced us in the one and only Propitiation, Christ is not now replacing us, and we should never confuse what we do or don’t do with what Christ is doing or not doing.

The work of God in us is not the same as the death of the God-man mediator. In His unfinished work, Christ continues to intercede for us, but this intercession is not the same work as His death for us. In His unfinished work, Christ will come to raise us from the dead and to glorify us, but this future work is not the same as His completed death for us.

Philippians 2:13 describes us as willing and working, and it does not deny our agency by EQUATING our work either with Christ’s already accomplished death or with Christ’s present work in us by His Spirit.

Some antinomians deny that faith (in Gal 2:16, 3:22; Romans 3:22,26; Phil 3:9; Ephesians 3:12 ) is the human act of believing. But when I look at all the texts together, I see clearly that faith often means the human act of an individual elect person hearing, understanding, and believing the gospel.

Here’s the question. Is Christ the subject or object of faith? The view I oppose says we should read all these verses as saying, “Christ’s faith.” Faith is God’s gift to the elect, but Christ does not believe for us. Christ makes us both able and willing to believe the gospel so that we do believe the gospel. Christ indwelling in us does not believe for us,. When the elect become justified by God before God, these elect hear and understand and believe the gospel.

Even some who agree that the elect need to believe the gospel still insist that “faith” in these texts means “Christ’s faith”, either in the sense that Christ is the source of my faith, or in the sense of Christ Himself believing. But no other texts refer to the act of Christ believing, unless these debated texts do.

James 2:1 tells us, “show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” Christ is the object of faith, and our faith is in/toward Christ and not toward His act of believing.

Romans 3:3 refers to God’s faithfulness, not to God believing for us or believing in us. “Does their unfaithfulness nullify the faithfulness of God?

Romans 3:25,26. “God put forward Christ as a propitiation by his blood to show God’s righteousness, to be RECEIVED by faith.” The receiving in this text is the human act of believing. Yes, God is faithful to His law and therefore just, but God does not justify all sinners but only of those sinners who have faith in Christ and His propitiation. This language no more makes faith the condition of salvation than John 3:16 does.

God does not love everybody. God only loves the elect, and the elect are identified as those who believe the gospel. There is no reason not to talk about election in John 3 or Romans 3, but also there is no reason not to talk about “as many as” believe the gospel.

II Peter 1:1,“ To those who have obtained faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 13: 20 “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good so that YOU DO HIS WILL, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

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12 Comments on “If God gives us faith, does that mean that the faith is perfect and that we are not those believing”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Mark 9: 23 Then Jesus said to him, “‘If You can’?[c][d] Everything is possible to the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”

    since God gives faith, does this mean that those who doubt don’t have God given faith?

    If you think some people stay unsaved by God, and you believe that Christ died for all people, does that make you doubt if you are saved?

    If you think Christ died only for some people, and saves all for whom He died, does that make it a sure thing that Christ died for you?

    if you doubt if you are elect, does that mean your faith is not God given and that you are not saved yet?

  2. markmcculley Says:


    Many English translations interpret the Greek present tense as saying no Christian habitually sins, as in 1 John 3:6. However the Greek present tense does not always indicate habitual action, as pointed out previously. [Note: Marshall, p. 180; Dodd, p. 79.] Frequently it describes absolute action. The New King James Version takes the Greek present tense this way and renders the clause, “Whoever had been born of God does not sin.” Since earlier John wrote that the Christian does sin habitually (1 John 1:6-10; cf. 1 John 2:1) the idea that the Christian does not sin habitually is unacceptable. [Note: See Robert N. Wilkin, “Do Born Again People Sin? 1 John 3:9,” Grace Evangelical Society News 5:3 (March

    “. . . the ‘tense solution’ in 1 John 1:9 is in the process of imploding in the current literature. It was shrewdly questioned by C. H. Dodd in his commentary in 1946 and dealt a major blow by S. Kubo in an article entitled, “1 John 3:9 : Absolute or Habitual?” published in 1969.

    It has since been given up by the three major critical commentaries published since Kubo’s article; namely, I. Howard Marshall (1978), Raymond E. Brown (1982); and Stephen S. Smalley (1984). It seems quite clear that the ‘tense solution’ as applied to 1 John 1:9 is an idea whose time has come-and gone!”

    Yarbrough writes regarding I John 3:6, “Nor is it advisable to resort to the understandable but unsatisfactory expedient of stressing the alleged continual nature of the sinning John has in mind ‘No one who live in him keeps on sinning’). ‘Keeps on sinning’ overreads the verb tense (cf. Wallace 1996: 524-25; contra Kruse 2000: 120 and many other commentators).

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Henry Mahan—“When did this righteousness Christ brought in come to you? You don’t have this righteousness imputed to you before you believe the God of the gospel.

    Romans 4: 24 Righteousness WILL BE IMPUTED TO US WHO BELIEVE IN HIM who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 The Lord was delivered up because of our trespasses and raised because of our justification.

    mark mcculley–“There is a difference between the righteousness of Christ’s death, its imputation, and the justification which follows God’s imputation.”

    Robert Haldane, p 194–“there are some who, strongly impressed with the great evil of making faith a work, have plunged into a contrary extreme, as if justification were independent of faith, or as if faith were merely an accidental or unimportant thing in justification. This also is a great error. Faith is as necessary in justification as the sacrifice of Christ itself, but necessary for a different purpose.”

    Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”.

    Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

    Phil 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith in Christ.”

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Witness Lee- This faith is not of ourselves but of Him who imparts Himself as the believing element into us that He may believe for us” (Recovery Version, Heb. 12:2, note 3). This means that for our justification by God, we believe in Jesus Christ through Him as our faith. Paul, therefore, speaks of “the faith of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 3:22)… …We would emphasize the fact that to believe in Christ is actually to believe into Him (John 3:15-16, 18, 36). When we believe in the Lord Jesus, we believe into Him. By believing into Him, we enter into Him to be one with Him, to partake of Him, and to participate in all that He has accomplished for us… Faith in Christ brings us into an organic union with Christ, and it is in this union that we are justified by God.


    Bruce McCormack—“The image of vine and branches might easily be seen to connote an organic connectedness of Christ to the believer. The early church thought of an ontological union of a ‘person” in whom being is mixed with non-being (that’s us) with a ‘person’ in whom being is pure from non-being (Jesus). Where that occurs, the life communicated from the vine to the branches flows organically. (To be sure, it would be difficult to understand, on this view, why the Holy Spirit would be needed as the bond joining us to Christ…)

    “The difference between the relation between a vine and a branch and the relation between Christ and the believer is that the first relation is impersonal and the second is personal. The flow of nutrients from the vine to the branches take place automatically. It does not require a legal act of the will. But in the case of Christ and the believer, we are dealing with a willed relation. The ethical ‘bearing of fruit’ takes place on the foundation of justification. John 15:3–’You are already clean BECAUSE OF THE WORD I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU.’

  5. markmcculley Says:

    The objective gospel does not have assurance for everybody. The gospel only creates assurance for those who rest in the gospel and who continue to rest in the gospel. Who among us believes enough or rests enough or hopes enough? We have no hope apart from Christ;s present intercession and Christ’s second coming for our glorification. Even if our hope is weak, there is no other hope except in believing in Christ’s death and resurrection.
    Hebrews 10: 28 If anyone disregards Moses’ law, they died without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God and regarded as common the BLOOD of Christ? … we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people. 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the LIVING God!


  6. markmcculley Says:

    Colossians 3:5 Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Since Jesus died only for the elect, why would it be wrong for anybody to doubt if God elected them? God has not elected everybody. Christ has not died for everybody. Doubt about our own election is not doubt about ourselves. Non-election is not conditioned on ourselves


  8. markmcculley Says:

    II Thessalonians 2: 10 They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness. 13 But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through SANCTIFICATION BY THE SPIRIT AND THROUGH BELIEF IN THE THE TRUTH . 14 He CALLED you to this THROUGH OUR GOSPEL,

    “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures” — James 1:18.

    “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever” — 1 Peter 1:23.

    “The word of God, which effectually works in you that believe” — 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
    “The gospel of Christ — is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes” — Romans 1:16.

    “The word, or doctrine of the cross, is to us who are saved the power of God” — 1 Corinthians 1:18.

    Colossians 1:9 “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of Him

  9. markmcculley Says:

    the antinomians
    ask us not to think about the assurance of our own salvation
    they say that asking about our own salvation
    distracts our attention from Christ
    the antinomians say, don’t ask yourself if you believe the gospel

    think instead about the faith of Christ and not about if you have faith in Christ
    since our works are excluded in salvation, these preachers say, our faith in Christ is also a work
    so don’t even think about your own faith in Christ

    preachers say, look to Christ don’t look to yourself
    but end up separating Christ and Christ giving us faith
    though the elect do not receive faith by faith,

    the elect receive both Christ’s death and faith from Christ’s death
    but some preach justification already for those without faith in the gospel

    preachers say, don’t look to yourself looking to Christ
    look to Christ alone, but without looking at your looking

    but i don’t know exactly what it means to look to Christ
    while trying hard not to look at yourself looking to Christ

    you were already born saved, they say, before you look, without looking
    so they say to look without looking

    looking to Christ without looking at me looking to Christ????
    Christ, I trust you not only for the salvation of the elect whoever they may be
    Christ, I look to you for MY salvation



  10. Mark Mcculley Says:

    II Corinthians 4:6 For God who said, “Let light shine out of
    darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the LIGHT OF THE KNOWLEDGE of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
    We should not say that we came to know Christ because first we were saved.


    Charles Spurgeon’s “If you began in the flesh, you have gone on in the flesh, and in the flesh you will die”


  11. Mark Mcculley Says:


    Galatians 2:20 The life I now live in the body,I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

    Galatians 2:20 we live by faith or we don’t live at all

    we live by faith DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE DON’T LIVE

    we live by faith does not mean that Christ lives for us instead of us

    we live by faith does not mean that Christ inside us gets all the credit and the blame

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