Jesus Christ spoke often of faith. It is essential for salvation and expedient for a consistent walk with Christ.
Does God arbitrarily save certain people who are spiritually dead and after they have been born again give them faith?
Ephesians 2:1 is used by some as a proof text for this concept: “You He made alive who were dead in trespasses.”
Or, do individuals of their own free will choose to trust Christ, that is, exercise faith, for salvation which God gives after the individual exercises personal faith?
Bottom line: does salvation come before or after faith is experienced?
The Reform view is a person must be regenerated before he can believe and have faith.
Conversely, most evangelicals believe a person of his own free will granted them by God freely trusts Christ as Savior and the immediate gift of God thereafter is regeneration.
Two concepts distilled are:
FAITH IS A GIFT OF GOD
Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
Adherents of this view believe faith is a divinely imparted means of salvation. God chooses who to give it to.
FAITH IS NOT A GIFT OF GOD – SALVATION IS
Persons who hold this view believe being spiritually dead does not mean a person does not have the ability to respond when God draws him.
Being spiritually dead means a person is separated from God by sin, but can respond to the drawing of the Holy Spirit by his own free will. Faith is a pauper, without merit, responding to the gift offered by God.
The merit is in the giving, not the receiving. The recipient can do nothing to earn, merit, or deserve the gift.