Ephesians 2 - What’s the Gift?

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:8-10)

So, just curious. Not sure, as the grammar seems to make the passage ambiguous. Which of these is the gift of which St. Paul speaks?
• grace
• being saved
• faith

Also curious as to the inferences we might reasonably make from calling it a gift, if any one wants to mention any.

1 Like

That is a dynamite question. So first, the word grace means gift, kindness, or favor. And given Paul’s usage of the term grace in Romans as something that is not worked for, it would appear that in his usage the word grace and gift would be synonymous. Now, to answer your question whether the gift he is referring to is being saved, or faith, I would answer that it is both. In this paragraph, it is specifically referring to being saved, however, the Greek in this syntax makes faith the agent by which the gift is received. And, if you read through Ephesians 1 you actually have an extended discussion of the fact that God is the one who has richly blessed us with every spiritual blessing, and elected us through Christ from the beginning of the world, and predestined us for adoption as sons according to the purpose of his will, it would not be wrong to say that the faith that brings us the grace of salvation is gifted to us also through grace. Read Ephesians 1 and follow it through to Ephesians 2:10 and see what you think. That is my recommendation.

1 Like

we can not save ourselves, we never could.
Faith is a gift. God gives us this gift through His grace.

God is our Salvation, Jesus is the author of that Salvation through His Passion and Resurrection.

Our faith is a gift from God. God gifts us enough grace, to have faith.
God gifts us, therefore, salvation. Because we accept the gift of faith and accept Jesus Christ.

we can do nothing for ourselves. we must rely on our Creator. God.


Fascinating! Your answer sounds word-for-word what I’ve heard from Calvinists, although I imagine that further discussion would demonstrate you’re not. But if you are, I don’t mind, mind you! Just making a quick observation.

That being said, I’m wondering about grace. The Calvinist would say it’s only God’s unmerited favor and nothing more, but don’t Catholics believe it’s much more? For example, is it correct to define grace as God’s unmerited favor and power, which empowers us to become more like Christ?

Thank you! How would you define faith? I’m thinking it’s trust in God and the Gospel, but if trust is not something you yourself do but instead something the Holy Spirit gives you, and it is through this “gift that makes us trust” that we are saved, then how can we logically be said to freely put our trust in Christ to save us?

1 Like

James 1:17 Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Luke 1:48 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaidenthrough baptism we receives the Virtues of Faith hope and Charity, and other gifts,only a sparked or small proportion is given us, we by the grace of god have to practice our faith with good works and merit graces or multiply them Faith is an theological virtue , [143]By faith , man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.2 With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, “the obedience of faith”.

Faith is a grace

153 When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood”, but from “my Father who is in heaven”.24 Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him . "Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’"25

Faith is a human act

[154] Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to “yield by faith the full submission of. . . intellect and will to God who reveals”,26 and to share in an interior communion with him…

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old received divine approval. 3 By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.


I think that we tend to complicate things because we go to the end of the novel to “know” the ending… then we are flooded with all of the information that lies between the end and the beginning…

Yes, it can mean Salvation (Eternal Life), and it can mean Grace (Gift of the Holy Spirit to Know or be Known by God), and it can mean Faith (for without Faith it is impossible to please God and Jesus is the Author and Completer of Faith); yet, in this particular passage it is referencing Revelation such as the following:

16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. (St. John 3)
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23b)

Maran atha!


1 Like

CCC 162 Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.” To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.

1 Like

All three …


We certainly do . :face_with_raised_eyebrow:



Thank you for that well- researched response. So, I guess I’m trying to wrap my head around how faith is what the Hoky Spirit gives me, and yet I’m still completely free. I think, perhaps, my difficulty stems from thinking faith is trust, and trusting God is what I do, rather than what God does. Make sense?

your partly right, actually, if you take the literal meaning of faith or when you grow in faith, also, when faith is tested ,will lead you to trust in God more, rely on God.

Isaiah 26:12 O Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us,
thou hast wrought for us all our works

…wait! I thought that it was: low shoe cubed, wasn’t it?

Maran atha!


1 Like

The thing is that Faith is much more than a particular view/understanding…

Faith means to Hope (Hope in that on which we have no certainty); but Hope means Trust (Trusting in God’s Providence, Will, Mercy, Love, Justice, Understanding); Trust means setting our will to God’s Will; but it also means that we rely on God to Leads us to the Fullness of Truth; since Jesus is the Truth, our Faith is placed on Jesus–which means we Believe in Him and we Believe Him.

Maran atha!


I tend to think of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this regard as an example of faith. God sent the angel Gabriel to announce His choosing her to be Mother of the God. She asks how this is to be since she’s a virgin (& had no plans to do otherwise). She trusts God in saying: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

She still had free will & could easily have said no, but her “yes” brought our salvation. Amazing what a simple act of faith can do…

Yeah, yeah! That helps! St. John 3 tells us being saved is a gift. So, I wonder if there’s scripture that says grace or faith is a gift.

firstly there is a big difference between faith and belief.
An immoral person can have faith. An atheist can have belief. Look at someone who has worked selflessly and tirelessly for the good of others, he has a belief structure that will include encompassing the mystery of human life and the desire for moral good.

faith is, I have read from very wise words…the movement of the heart or soul- -that ‘saves’ and gives life-meaning.
its something deep within us.

God is a mystery, the supernatural is a mystery. We have faith in that mystery. it is also trust in that mystery.

we use our faith to support our belief that we must put our complete faith in Jesus. And have faith we are doing the right thing.

we could say belief supports our faith, if we have faith in God. and they work together to support each other.

1 Like

So, that’s embarrassing! Should have typed Holy Spirit! LOL!







So, maybe an analogy will make it clearer than mud why I’m having trouble seeing how faith can be a gift.

YouTube: Obi Wan’s Jedi Mind Trick (Star Wars)

I mean, in the example from the classic science fiction film (please see the YouTube video at the link if you’re not familiar) the Jedi Master gives the the stormtrooper guard the gift of faith, so to speak. At first, they don’t trust him and his companions. He uses the Jedi Mind Trick to give them the trust they don’t have. They then let them move along.

The thing is, by doing this, Obi Wan is essentially using mind control. The upshot: They’ve lost their free will. Since the decision to trust isn’t their own, they aren’t free to choose not to trust!

See why I’m wondering how faith (the decision to trust someone) can actually be a gift without sacrificing a person’s freedom of choice?

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t compare a Jedi mind trick to the gift of faith. Perhaps it has to do more with the motives for offering the gift. It’s certainly not done in love for the other person with their best in mind where their mind, body, soul, & eternity come in - where there is still the opportunity to say no (I’m sure there are more than a few people around who may’ve had faith at one point in time, & then left the faith because they no longer believed - & they cite their reasons).

There is a reciprocity - a relationship that forms from it that leads to the good of the one receiving the gift & the knowledge of the One Who made that person. They usually have knowledge of their reasons for their faith (Some can articulate it better than others). The Creator who bestows this gift holds the recipient as a beloved precious child.

The mind trick is the use of mind manipulation clearly intended to exploit another person against their knowledge, will, and ultimate good because they are perceivably weak-minded & weak-willed. I actually rather liken it to a more subtle form of the the Harry Potter imperio curse, where one is forced to do something against their will.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.