For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God.
Let me give you an illustration of the way that faith and grace work together to bring us the blessings of God. In my meetings I often take along a large electric fan that I set up on the speaker’s platform. I call up a member of the audience and have her stand in front of the fan, telling her that I am going to cool her off. When the fan doesn’t run even though I turn it on, I ask the audience, “What’s wrong? Why is this fan not running?”
Of course, the audience sees right away what’s wrong: “It’s not plugged in!” they yell. “That’s right,” I say, “and that’s exactly what’s wrong many times when our prayers are not answered.” I explain that we get our eyes on faith (the fan), expecting it to do the work, but we fail to look beyond the fan to its source of power, which is the Lord.
Jesus had faith all the time He was suffering. He had faith while in the Garden of Gethsemane. He had faith before the high priest and Pilate. He had faith when He was being ridiculed, abused, and mistreated. He had faith on the way to Golgotha. He had faith while hanging on the cross. He even had faith while His body lay in the tomb; He had absolute faith that God would not leave Him there but would raise Him up, as He had promised. But do you realize that for all His faith, nothing happened until the power of God came forth to bring about the Resurrection?
His faith kept Him stable until the Father’s appointed time for His deliverance. We can have all the faith in the world; but it will avail us nothing until it is “plugged in” to the source of power, which is the grace of God. Keep your eyes on God to deliver you—not your faith.