Bro. Peter Dimond In our video, Can a Christian Lose Salvation? – 1 Corinthians, we point out that the same phrase in Greek – “through the faith” (διὰ τῆς πίστεως) – is found in Colossians 2:12, Galatians 3:26 and Ephesians 2:8. Colossians 2:12, Galatians 3:26-27 and Ephesians 2:8 all deal with entrance into Christ, the reception of initial salvation/regeneration, and the forgiveness of sins. The video shows that Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 3:26-27 teach that entering Christ Jesus “through the faith” (διὰ τῆς πίστεως), and being raised “through the faith”, happens with the reception of Baptism.
“… having been buried with him in baptism, by which you were also raised with him through the faith [διὰ τῆς πίστεως]...” – Colossians 2:12 “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through the faith [διὰ τῆς πίστεως]. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” – Galatians 3:26-27Baptism is the instrument through which a person receives regeneration and first justification. Since Ephesians 2:8 uses the exact same phrase in the Greek as Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 3:26-27 (διὰ τῆς πίστεως), to express the means through which that initial salvation is received, it also refers to the reception of first justification in Baptism.
“For by grace you have been saved through the faith [διὰ τῆς πίστεως]. And this is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8Certain Protestants, however, might say that the Greek of Ephesians 2:8 reads “through faith” (διὰ πίστεως), but not saved “through the faith” (διὰ τῆς πίστεως). Of course, the two phrases are almost exactly the same, but the question is: does Ephesians 2:8 say “through faith” or “through the faith”? The answer is that it’s a manuscript variant. (For those who don’t know what biblical manuscript variants are, see the video: Is the King James Bible Infallible? A link to the video is below.) Some Greek manuscripts have the definite article τῆς (the feminine singular genitive form of the word ‘the’), while some don't. The majority of the manuscripts do include τῆς in Ephesians 2:8, as reflected by its inclusion in the Byzantine Majority Text. For Ephesians 2:8, the Majority Text reads:
“τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως, καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον.”The reading found in the greatest number of New Testament manuscripts is not always the original reading. However, in this case we believe that the majority reading (διὰ τῆς πίστεως) is the original one. On this point the comments of a Protestant on the manuscript evidence are interesting. He states: “Since the presence of τῆς is supported by the majority of manuscripts as well as one important uncial in the Alexandrian family (and is therefore of great antiquity), it can be concluded from the external evidence that the article is original.” (Gregory P. Sapaugh, Is Faith a Gift? A Study of Ephesians 2:8, A Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Spring 1994—Volume 7:12) Since Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 3:26 contain τῆς, the connection between Ephesians 2:8, Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 3:26 also strongly favors that τῆς is part of the original reading. It makes sense that a certain scribe or scribes would have simply omitted τῆς from Ephesians 2:8 when copying the New Testament. Yet, even if one granted that τῆς is not the original reading of Ephesians 2:8 (and the evidence is to the contrary), the connection with Galatians 3 and Colossians 2 is still certain. διὰ πίστεως is almost exactly the same as διὰ τῆς πίστεως. τῆς is not essential to the connection between Ephesians 2:8 and the teaching of Col. 2 and Gal. 3 on Baptism. It simply makes it more clear. By the way, the Textus Receptus (the Greek New Testament used to translate the King James Bible) has τῆς in Ephesians 2:8. (We mention this simply to show that many manuscripts used for the translation of Protestant bibles include τῆς.) For Ephesians 2:8, the Textus Receptus reads:
“τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως, καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον.”Protestants prefer a translation of Ephesians 2:8 which omits ‘the’ because the concept of being saved “through the faith” doesn't fit well with their false theology. In fact, essentially every major Protestant translation renders Ephesians 2:8 as ‘through faith’ instead of ‘through the faith’. This includes translations from Greek texts that have ‘τῆς’ (the). Interestingly, the same applies to their translations of Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 3:26. Protestants basically always translate Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 3:26 as ‘through faith,’ instead of ‘through the faith,’ even though in these verses their underlying Greek manuscripts unquestionably read: διὰ τῆς πίστεως (through the faith). The concept of being saved ‘through faith’ fits more easily into a theology in which personally accepting Jesus as the Savior is the extent of faith’s obligations. However, the concept of being saved ‘through the faith’ implies that ‘the faith’ is something broader. Entering ‘THE FAITH’ involves incorporation into something with more facets, components and requirements. There is no doubt that like Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 3:26-27, Ephesians 2:8 describes the reception of initial justification and forgiveness through water baptism. That grace of regeneration, which God administers through water baptism, is said in Ephesians 2:8-9 to be not from yourselves or of works, but the gift of God. Of course. That’s because the grace of the forgiveness of sins is not our work. It’s the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross; but God attaches the reception of this grace of forgiveness to following His commands and doing what He says. That’s why throughout the New Testament we read that to be saved one must not only believe what God has revealed, but obey Him as well (see Romans 6:16, 1 Corinthians 7:19, Matthew 19:17, Hebrews 5:9 and many other passages). Therefore, according to the New Testament, one only appropriates or takes possession of the gift of God by faith and obedience, by faith and action, by faith and compliance with His commands, not by faith alone (see James 2:24). For more points on the connection between the teaching of Ephesians and water baptism, as well as the New Testament’s overall teaching on baptismal regeneration, consult this debate: Justification Debate vs. Reformed Protestant (video) For a discussion of biblical manuscript variants, see this video.
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