The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word, by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.
The above quote is from the Westminster Confession of Faith and we’re going to be reading it during our time of Expiation at Redeemer tomorrow. It summarizes passages from Hebrews, Roman, 2 Peter, Ephesians, Luke and Acts and that summary is that the fact that you are able to believe is not your own doing but it is a work of grace.
We are saved by faith but that faith is a gift. If we were able to believe of our own accord, we would be responsible for our own salvation. Instead, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes so that we can believe. We see this specifically in Ephesians 1:17-18 where Paul prays for the eyes of the Ephesians’ hearts to be enlightened.
So even this faith is a gift of grace.
We’ve been going through the doctrines of grace (aka the Canons of Dort or the five points of Calvinism) and for tomorrow and the following week, Pastor Joe is preaching on my favorite of the five. They are my favorite above the first three because I find that in the life of the Christian, or at least this Christian, they are a source of great comfort.
With Irresistible Grace we see that all of the elect will be saved. It’s put this way in John 6:
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
We know that apart from the Father’s drawing, no one will come to Christ of his own volition and we see here that all of those given to Christ will come. The text doesn’t say that the elect may come, it says that they will come.
I find this comforting because it is a source of assurance. Were it not for the calling of the Father, I would not have believed. I would not have had my eyes opened to see that Christ died for me. While we see and experience this truth in other doctrines, I see it most here. It means that God’s work has been effective and motivates me to want to grow in godliness, a trait that is not present in the unregenerate.