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The Ability To Believe Is A Gift

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.
–John 6:63

What does the baptism with the Holy Spirit mean to you and me? For one thing, the Holy Spirit is the one who gives us the ability to trust in Christ.

Let me ask you a question: Is everybody in the world free to trust in Christ as Savior, or does God restrain some people from coming to Christ? Look at Revelation 22:17: “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” Everybody is free to trust in Christ, but not everyone is willing or able to trust in Christ.

Let’s say you put a bale of hay in front of a lion. Is that lion free to eat the hay? Of course. There is not a chain keeping the lion from going to the hay. But will the lion eat the hay? No. By nature he is a carnivore, so there is nothing inside him that desires the hay. It is the same way with non-Christians. Yes, the non-Christian is free to trust in Christ, but by nature he will never do so because he is an enemy of God. That is what Paul said in Ephesians 2:3: “[We] were by nature children of wrath.” The Bible says we are born into this world not desiring God. Romans 3 says, “There is none righteous, not even one; . . . there is none who seeks for God” (vv. 10-11). We are naturally unwilling to come to Christ.

If that is not bad enough, we are also unable to come to God. Ephesians 2:1 says, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins.” We are born into this word spiritually dead. Can somebody who is dead suddenly sit up and start a new life? No. In the same way, we do not just wake up one day spiritually and say, “You know what? I need a Savior.” It does not happen that way.

If we are unwilling and unable to come to Christ, then how is anybody ever saved? Look at what God has done for us: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (vv. 4-5). And the way God makes somebody who is spiritually dead spiritually alive is through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who regenerates us and gives us the ability to believe. John 6:63 says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.”

Your salvation has absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with God. Even your ability to believe is a gift from the Holy Spirit of God. In His mercy, because of His love for you, He saved you. It is the Holy Spirit who imparted to you the ability to trust in Christ.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “You’re Richer Than You Think” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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