Questions Arising from Ephesians 2:8-9

The NIV translation of Ephesians 2:8-9 is

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.

This passage (among a host of other similar ones) raises two fundamental questions:

  1. What is faith?
  2. By what criteria is faith to be judged?

Insofar as the first question is concerned, the answer is straightforward. The Greek word for faith in this passage can also mean trust. In fact, in biblical times ‘faith’ meant ‘trust’ or ‘loyalty’ depending on context. In the case of the text above, ‘faith’ should be understood as the extent to which one places his trust in Jesus Christ (or, in the context of this book, in the Church as the body of Christ).

But this raises the second question, exactly what does it mean to place one’s trust in a person or thing? To answer this question begin by reflecting on banks. We trust that banks will fulfill their promises to preserve and protect our savings and investments.  When a bank gets into trouble, its depositors may no longer trust the bank to protect their assets. When trust is loss, the depositors rush to pull their funds. As happened in the Great Depression, trust was lost and many banks went belly-up and their depositors lost everything.

When we trust something, we act accordingly. We deposit our money into banks that have a trustworthy reputation and in which our deposits are guaranteed. Trust, therefore, is not some vague, internal feeling. Trust is an objective, manifest action. Trusting in God / Jesus is to conduct our lives in ways that express that trust.

I look forward to hearing from you




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