Faith leads us into a relationship with God and all that God has for us. We are redeemed by faith. Renewed by faith. And we walk by faith. Through faith we have access to all that God has to offer, including a special calling in which we become the children of God. John teaches that those who are believers in Christ are given the power to become the children of God who are born not of flesh and blood but of the Spirit of God. In contrasting, flesh and blood to the Spirit, John teaches that faith is a supernatural gift of the Spirit in whom many would otherwise remain in unbelief if it were not for the free gift of faith. Faith is not earned. Faith is is freely given and freely received. Paul verifies that faith is a gift when he wrote in Ephesians that we are saved (and by inference remain saved) by grace through faith, and this is not of ourselves but the gift of God.
Knowing that faith is a gift is of great comfort to the people of faith. The pressure of drumming-up enough faith for what God offers dissipates because we are assured that faith is a gift. Faith is not manufactured nor birthed by optimism or positive thinking. The Holy Spirit energizes and gives birth to faith. Not only is this comforting but it generates confidence because we all have the opportunity to ask God to increase or restore our faith, in that, God promises to do, if we ask for the right reasons. And in the asking we mitigate the emotional upheaval we experience when we try to muster-up our own faith without help from God.
As we know, Christian are often called the people of faith. I for one, have always favored this sacred designation. Although we are the people of faith, we often struggled with our faith, not the mere intellectual affirmation that God exist, nor do we doubt we have been redeemed by faith. We struggled with the inward assurance and peace that faith offers when we feel God’s displeasure by making moral and ethical mistakes and missteps. This is common to all who cherish their relationship with God. In this case, when we have been displeasing to God the Holy Spirit will not be the dispenser of faith but an instrument of correction because we are his children. Yet, please remember chastisement is only for a while. Once we ask God for forgiveness and commit to doing better in the future, God will not remain a far off. God will beam His light upon us once again because He knows and we learn we cannot live without faith in which the Spirit awards us.