Question: “I recently heard a gospel given much like the one we Believe but one thing that was said threw up a red flag. In part of the conversation discussed they said it is not anything you do that can save you into eternal life except by believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins, I completely agree with that statement except after that they said “God gives you the gift of belief”. I then asked if he thought God made people Believe and he said “no God doesn’t force you into believing but gives you the gift of belief”. further discussion went on and he asked me if I did anything to be saved and I said its not by works that you are saved but by believing in Jesus Christ and what he did, that I chose to believe that. After, he said that if I thought I was the one who”believed on my own” then that was me saving myself and that’s a form of work. I was left even more confused after asking more questions about that. I was thinking this was a form of Calvinism but I asked and was told they are not calvinist, so im not really sure what this belief is and if it’s true or not. Is it true that God gives someone the gift of belief?”
Thank you for your question and your patience! Your situation sounds like a classic example of an individual that has yet to discover the influence of Calvinism over their interpretation of Scripture. There are five basic points of Calvinism and this person is describing the second point called “Unconditional Election”. This point states that God elects a person to eternal life by regeneration thought the Holy Spirit which will lead to faith in Jesus Christ for the payment of their sins. However, this does not match the order presented in the Bible. Ephesians 1:13-14 explains the proper order of a persons salvation. They are presented the gospel message, they believe, then they are sealed. Calvinism flips this order and places the sealing of the believer first and then faith second.
God does not give a person the gift of belief. This is a responsibility of each individual. Isaiah 1:18 is an excellent example of God giving wicked sinners the opportunity to reason with Him. God has given each man a free will, which includes their ability to either accept or reject His offer of salvation through the offering of Jesus Christ. Mankind will be held responsible for their choice regarding Jesus Christ and the payment for their sins. Those who believe on Him are passed from death unto life (cf. John 5:24). Those who reject Him will be without excuse and judged at the Great White Throne (cf. Romans 1:18-20, Revelation 20:11-15).