Salvation comes by faith, but does faith itself have a cause? Is faith the end of the chain?
JAS 1:18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth…
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Faith has a cause! Hearing the word of Christ. Now not all who hear the gospel believe, but “he who has ears, let him hear” (Mt. 11:15) would seem to be pertinent here, real reception of the message seems to be what is meant in Rom. 10:17.
Acts 18:27 On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.
Now this might be grace to enable faith, to bring people to the point of decision, but more would seem to be implied here. And here:
Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…
Also we can see a cause of faith in the Old Testament:
Psalm 22:9 Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast.
Isaiah 63:17 Why, O Lord, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes that are your inheritance.
Deuteronomy 29:4 But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.
Joshua 24:19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord.”
And they weren’t, they couldn’t simply trust God, even when they wanted to, even when they tried, as the book of Judges bears out.
Acts 16:14 The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.
Now God did not simply open Lydia’s heart here to be able to respond, the response was part of what God did, too.
2 Corinthians 6:13 As a fair exchange– I speak as to my children– open wide your hearts also.
Paul is calling for a response, he is saying “trust me!” here. So for God to open Lydia’s heart to respond to the message, would be to be the Author of her faith:
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…
Not the example here, nor the enabler, but the author.
Romans 11:25-26 Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
Not “until they believe”! Thus faith must have a cause here, and must be at God’s discretion.
2TI 2:25 … in the hope that God will grant them repentance …
1 Corinthians 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus…
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…