Dondi It's not faith that is the gift here in Ephesians 2:8-9, but it is grace that is the gift from God. It activated by our faith. Only after we receive God's grace, in the process of being born again, then we are created unto "good works". Grace isnt activated by our faith, rather we believe in faith by grace (Acts 18:27). Grace proceeds faith in that grace is given, first, and then we believe. That said, our good works were wrought about in Christ before the worlds were (Eph 2:10). It is instructive to know what the term "grace" means. "...But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" - Romans 5:20 Grace is the juxtaposition of God's Judgment and God's Mercy. The Law brings forth death in us, for we cannot keep it. Therefore, the judgement of the Law is upon us. But God is also merciful, because He is love. How does one reconcile the two? For if we were to be rightly judged, then we are condemned. But God cannot arbitarily have mercy unless there is a basis, otherwise His judgement is baseless and unfair. So there stands the dilemma. Through Christ, however, and His righteousness, God is able to bring these two together. God laid our judgment upon Christ, who was sinless, and laid our sins upon Him, therefore He can have mercy upon us. And that is what grace is. Agreed! Grace is unmerited and albeit, underserved, favor. Yet, God gives grace to whom He wills. Note Jesus words in John 17:2..."since you have given him [Jesus] authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him." This is not a bias desision on God's part and is certainly not influenced by anything an a person (we have no worth), but is totally and utterlly in God's Good pleasure to choose in and of His own free will whom to love and whom to hardern. God's ways are beyond finding out, but we know He does what is right, always. This grace of God's gift. God made the first move. But that grace cannot be enacted until we place our faith in Christ. Having faith in Christ is a volition of our will. The only reason anyone believes and is a Chrsitian is by grace. "We are what we are by the grace of God." Pior to grace, none sought God, no trusted in Christ inasmuch as to deny self and follow Him, and none loved God. The grace of God is shown forth is His amazing love toward us when He softens our hardend hearts to believe, cleanse us and put His Spirit in us causing us to fear Him, Love Him, Keep His statues and commandments, and then draw us the the cross were we see His love expressed in the absolutely horrible death of His precious son. There we see it should have been us to suffer God's Rightous Wrath. But also, there we see our depravity. For the cross does not show us the worth of man, but instead the depravity of man. It took the Son of God to suffer infinte agony to break our hard hearts, whereby we will love God and desire to live to His glory. First of all, Acts 11:18 speaks of the availability for the Gentiles to repent, brought about when Christ tore down the division between Jew and Greek, so that all amy be one. This verse is simply saying that salvation is no longer exclusively for the Jews. And it doesn't say that repentence is a gift. Repentance is a command. Repentance IS a command! Why? Because we know better - we know by Creation that there is a God and we know by Conscience what He requires. We just dont want to repent. That said, read Acts 11:18 again. It says..."Then to the Gentiles also God has granted metanoia (true repentence) that leads to life." Read Acts 18 in context and tell me if you still hold to your view. As a matter of fact, you could for a better understanding, cross reference it with Acts 13:48. Second, Hebrews 6 speaks of those who already had repented and had faith in God (vs 1), but forsook it. They fell away. Fell away from what? everything verses 1 and 2 describes. It is the forsaking Jesus all over again. This letter to the Hebrews is describing Jews who believed in Christ, but now, like the chief priests, "crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (vs 6) Actually, Hebrew 6 is a scary verse because it talks about people who has had a measure of opperation in the Holy Spirit and then fallen away. Its not talking about Christians who once and and then lost their salvation, but those who never had it in the first place, note the writer's assurance of the readers in the later verses. What the writer was trying to explain is that people can be used by God but deny Him by resisting him util He leaves (unpardonable sin -blasphemy of the Spirit). This is just like those anti christ appostates in 1 John who left the faith to show that they were never really of the faith and just like those who did miricles like rasing the dead, preaching, etc., and still Jesus will say to them "Depart from me you worker of evil, I never knew you." God never knew them...not I knew you once but you fell away, but I never knew you. Hebrews is a great book for people who want to understand eternal security, by the way. It is the type of thing that happened to Hymenaeus and Alexander: "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." - I Timothy 1:19-20 Perfect example of what I said above. This is scary and why we are admonised over and again to "make our calling and election sure." And how does God draw them. Look at the following verse: "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." - John 6:45 "So faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" - Romans 10:17 Amen! Who are those who actually hear and learned from the Father? Note John 10:14...Jesus' sheep instintly know Him. Why? Because they were called to know Him (1Cor. 1:24), and there calling to know Him was from forever (Romans 8:29) Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." - John 12:32 "All" means "pas" in greek and means "all sorts of type" - namely, a people from every tounge, nation, and tribe (Rev. 18:6). These are the "many" people Jesus came to save - those the Father had given Him. When the Gospel is preached, men will be drawn to Christ. "But they have not all obeyed the gospel..." - Romans 10:16 Amen! Who hears? The Jews? No. They think the gospel as a stumbling block. Does the Gentiles or Greek believe? No. They think it foolish. "Those called from both Jew and Gentiles believe" (1Cor. 1:24). Why have they not obeyed? Because they did not hear with faith. I agree. People go to Hell for their sins and one of their sins is unbelief. God grants faith to believe to whom He wills. Note Jesus' words..."To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven" (Mark 4:11-12). All are guilty and God has mercy on whom He wills. And salvation is dependent on those who hear and obey the Word. The Word is the drawing power of God. Amen, I agree!