Okay, since I've had this blog up for a while now, I should probably post something that's actually worth reading.
The other day in a meeting I was in, a friend of mine asked a great question - basically, where does faith come into salvation? Is it man's faith that saves him (saying that faith is a prerequisite for regeneration, which leads to salvation) or is faith a result of man's regenerated state (saying that regeneration/salvation must preceed faith)? It's a great question, and I think, an important one. Unfortunately, my friend's question was brushed aside with a "people have debated over that for years and we're probably never really going to know" kind of answer. I'm going to attempt to explore it here.
The debate between various theological camps regarding this issue often centers around Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Some folks will tell you that in Eph. 2:8-9, the phrase "it is the gift of God" refers to to grace alone, but not faith; the idea there is that God gives the grace, and man provides the faith for his own salvation (this view is called synergism - a cooperation between the human and the Divine in the regeneration process. The opposing view is monergism, where regeneration is explicitly a work of God without aid from man.) Man providing the initial faith sounds nice - and certainly gives man a little ego-boost - but it's an erroneous view. I'll explain further in my next post.