FAITH as PROVISION
It's a somewhat common affirmation among Evangelicals that God has provided salvation for humanity in and by His Son, Jesus Christ. That provision, though, has the conditional clause, sometimes in small print, as it were, and in other cases in quite bold print. The basic condition, pretty much agreed upon within the Evangelical community, is that faith is THE essential requirement for the provided salvation to be effective. Whether found explicitly in the writings of the Reformers, or whether understood as implied, nevertheless, it has been true within the larger Evangelical community whether it be of the Fundamentalist, Holiness, Pentecostal, or Charismatic variety, that the faith that saves is a conditional requirement. God has provided salvation in the Person and work of Christ, but God requires of the sinner, that he mix his faith into salvation's provision. (If that brings to mind the statement in Hebrews about the promises not being mixed with faith, know this
Now to be sure, one cannot be saved without faith
But whatever nuances of difference there may be within the many flavors of orthodoxy, they all boil down to God having made saving faith a requirement which, in some sense, or by some definition, traces to the decision of a man or woman to believe in order to be saved. Some who, while insisting that salvation is entirely by grace through faith, when pressed, they back off from that premise and insist that
But you see, biblical salvation is essentially about being made whole, and faith is integral to wholeness. God alone, can make us whole of spirit, soul, and body, which means that faith must be a provision, not a requirement. God can't give us everything except faith, or everything except the willingness to have faith, and salvation still be wholly of God. Faith is part and parcel of wholeness. Faith doesn't get us wholeness, it's integral to being made whole. Love reveals Itself as light, and the light of love causes us to see God as He is, our Savior from beginning to end. Wholeness would not be wholeness without faith, for tracing this to the innards of fellowship within the Godhead, we find that even Divine Wholeness is relational.
Love couldn't be love without loving. The perfection within Deity is communal perfection. To repeat, it's relational. God would not be perfect except AS a love-initiating Father, and AS a love-as-faith responsive Son. The absolute perfection of Jesus lies in the fact that He loves the Father because the Father first loved Him. You see, faith isn't something that gets us wholeness, it is at the heart of wholeness itself. Faith is love returning to It's Source AS faith. Wholeness lies in that dynamic within Deity. Wholeness is interactive. It is love, loving, and being completely assured of its own effectiveness.
Saving faith, as described above, is probably at the core of "the law of circularity." Love goes out with overwhelmingly persuasive power, and returns to Itself in the full assurance of faith. That's why the apostle