Posted by: chuckbumgardner | September 23, 2007

Augustine: Faith as a gift

It is debated as to whether Ephesians 2:8-9 indicates that faith per se is a gift of God. Augustine, however, does not even reference that passage (at least in this portion of his writings) in demonstrating that it is indeed a gift:

“. . . in discussing the question about faith and works, [the Donatist Tichonius] said that works were given us by God as the reward of faith, but that faith itself was so far our own that it did not come to us from God; not keeping in mind the saying of the apostle: ‘Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ [Eph 6.23]  But he had not come into contact with this heresy, which has arisen in our time, and has given us much labour and trouble in defending against it the grace of God which is through our Lord Jesus Christ, and which . . . has made us much more watchful and diligent to discover in Scripture what escaped Tichonius, who, having no enemy to guard against, was less attentitve and anxious on this point, namely, that even faith itself is the gift of Himi Who ‘hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.’ [Rom 12.3]  Whence it is said to certain believers: ‘Unto you it is given, in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.’ [Phil 1.29]  Who, then, can doubt that each of these is the gift of God, when he learns from this passage, and believes, that each of them is given? There are many other testimonies besides which prove this.  But I am not now treating of this doctrine. I have, however, dealt with it, one place or another, very frequently.” (“On Christian Doctrine,” III.33)

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