Have you ever heard it said that God has given a measure of faith to every person in the world? The assumption is that God gives a little faith to everyone, hoping that each individual (out of their own free will) will fill the rest of their faith and be saved. This idea comes from Romans 12:3. Let’s take a brief look at this verse and see if God does, in fact, give everyone everywhere a measure of faith.
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” [Romans 12:3]
Here, Paul is addressing “everyone among you.” He tells them not to think too highly of himself, to use sober judgment according to the faith that God has assigned them. Is “everyone among you” every unbeliever? In other words, is Paul writing this to the entire city of Rome? For our answer, let’s look at his opening to the book of Romans:
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. [Romans 1:1-8]
This letter is addressed to all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints – whose faith is proclaimed in all the world. He also addressed them as brothers [Romans 1:13; 7:1; 7:4; 8:12; 8:29; 10:1; 11:25; 12:1; 12:10; 12:19; 15:14; 15:15]. Paul hasn’t written a letter to every Roman citizen everywhere. This letter is addressed to the Christian church in Rome.
No where does this passage say that God gives faith to everyone everywhere. The apostle Paul is simply reminding them that their faith was given to them by God, just as we read throughout other Scriptures.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” [John 1:12-13]
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” [Acts 13:48]
“So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” [Romans 9:16]
“And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” [Romans 8:30]
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” [Ephesians 2:8]
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,” [2 Timothy 2:24-25]
The beginning of the letter to the Romans certainly speaks of everyone being without excuse because of the natural world. That, as we read in the Psalms, the heavens declare God’s glory. We are also created in God’s image. These things leave everyone without excuse. How does God giving everyone in the world faith to believe in Him fit in to this?
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”
Unless the human mind is made willing by God, it will remain hostile toward Him.