Role of Faith in Salvation

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Puritan Board Sophomore
For starters we are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ. However, I some questions have arisen from me reading the Marrow of Modern Divinity, Sinclair Ferguson('s lectures on the Marrow, and this (which I believe to be an excerpt from his lecture): The Marrow Controversy—Lessons in Free Grace . In the article listed, he speaks of faith and repentance not being meritorious, which I take to mean that these do not in and of themselves earn/deserve salvation. Is faith merely the instrument/medium through which we receive the grace of God? Is the CoG conditioned on our faith? Or does God, through his grace, bring us into the CoG, unconditionally, and then afterwards, although swiftly (perhaps instantaneously), give us saving faith and repentance? People do not exercise saving faith, and then God regenerates them, true? One cannot have faith because it is gift by the grace of God.

I hope I was clear on what I was trying to communicate. I'm just looking for the role of faith in our salvation. The Marrow has been the most enlightening book I've read. It's given me a much better understanding of the Gospel.

Additionally, Sinclair talks about "free grace." How is this juxtaposed with what we have today when Arminians talk about free grace or free grace theology? Surely we believe that grace is free in the sense that his grace requires nothing from us, and that we do not merit it. However, there seems, in reformed circles, a disdain for the use of the term free grace. Is this mostly because of the damage done to the term by Arminians?


Puritan Board Graduate
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Faith is the gift of God. It is granted to the elect. It is therefore both necessary that those chosen before the foundation of the world EXERCISE that gift, AND absolutely certain that they will do so.

Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith

Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,


Staff member
I've listened to the lectures you've mentioned, but am having to go way back in my memory on this one. Perhaps considering the ordo salutis will answer your questions? God regenerates us so we are capable of responding in faith to the free offer of salvation. Note this is a logical order, not temporal.
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