The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace THROUGH faith.
Grace (charis) is defined as the divine influence upon the heart. A benefit of favour.
Paul uses the Greek word charis to define God’s favor bestowed by his Son Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Paul is preaching to ancient Greeks who were idol worshippers.
Characteristics in ancient Greece were often personalized as gods in Greek culture.
In ancient Greek mythology Charis is a representation of several Greek goddesses known as the Charities whose characters are charm, beauty, goodwill, human creativity and fertility.
Paul was pointing out to the Gentiles (non Jews) that the benevolence of God acquired for us salvation through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.
Grace or unmerited favor extended by God according to the scriptures must be accompanied by Faith in order for salvation to occur.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9
Some people preach that God’s grace saves in and of itself. This is not true.
While God’s grace poured out by his divine love is extended to all it is not realized by any until grace is received by faith.
What is faith? In ancient Greek mythology Pistis or Faith was the personification or god of good faith, trust and reliability.
It is the same in our common law. Faith or “good faith,” is having an honest and sincere intention.
Many believe faith to simply mean belief. Again this is not true. To intellectually believe something to be true does not mean one receives that truth for themselves.
I may believe that red peppers have a very high amount of vitamin C and are good for me but I may not want to eat them because I don’t like them or because I am not in the mood for them or I’m indecisive about other aspects concerning them. Maybe I think I may get heart burn if I eat them.
Believing something to be true does not mean adhering to that something personally.
Pistis in the Greek is faith which sincerely believes and trusts in something which in turn leads to conversion or changing from one particular thing into another.
Pistis according to the ancient Greeks was faith or belief which came about by the act of persuasion.
To be fully persuaded is induced by evidence or proof which is given.
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:21
Blind belief is not Biblical faith. God has given much evidence for his existence and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Examples of this are;
Jesus rising from the dead seen by many witnesses.
Witness testimony of the disciples.
The power of the Holy Spirit confirming the word through signs following.
Jesus mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians in their historical texts.
The testimonial of Christians throughout history.
The history of the Bible.
In the Old Testament we can see an example of faith in action.
Abraham heard God’s voice telling him to follow him.
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. Genesis 12:1-4
Abraham heard God’s voice speaking to him. What Abraham did not know is where he was going. Abraham trusted God because he was a friend of God. You don’t become someone’s friend without a bona-fide relationship.
According to the Bible, faith comes by hearing God’s word or voice. (rhema)
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God. Romans 10:17
Evidences of faith are built by having a relationship with God.
This relationship requires obedience to his voice.
Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:3-5
Believing or Faith (pistis) in God requires trust. This trust is developed by having a relationship.
Paul used the word pistis to describe trust in God for his grace.
How is grace through faith received? The Bible tells us it is by repentance or metatoia.
Metatoia in ancient Greek meant changing one’s mind about something or some one. Metatoia was depicted by the ancient Greeks as a sorrowful goddess filled with regret for having failed or missed the moment.
In early Christian literature (See Tertillian) metanoia is expressed as a change in one’s thinking that leads to a fundamental change in behavior or way of living. This change is a key ingredient for receiving salvation.
Jesus made it very clear in scripture that without repentance there is no salvation.
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3
In conclusion, God’s grace extended through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Savior is received by faith which is trusting in God through obedience to the truth.
Since you have purified your souls by obedience to the truth so that you have a genuine love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. 1Peter 1:22
This faith is realized by repentance or a turning away from one’s own ways to walk in obedience to the voice of God through his eternal word.
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 1 :22
When this is done, God through his grace by faith imputes or accredits to the recipient his righteousness.
That is the convert now is in perfect standing with God.