In his Systematic Theology the great Presbyterian theologian Robert L. Dabney stated with regard to the mention of faith in John 3:16, Acts 8:37, John 11:26, and Mark 16:16:
“No human wit can evade the fact that here God proposes to man something for him to do, which, if done, will secure redemption; if neglected, will ensure damnation, and that something is in one sense a condition” (R.L. Dabney, Chapter 33: The Covenant of Grace).
Well guess what, sir, human wit found a way! But only if we define wit not as heightened insight, but as a cunning, deceptive manipulation of the truth. This wit reared itself in the latter part of the 19th century among the Hardshells. It invented two dogmas to get around all “faith” passages of scripture:
1) If the blessing or condemnation mentioned in the text IS NOT explicitly stated to be eternal, then it is assumed to be temporal, and the faith mentioned is evangelical, optional, and acquired by works.
2) If the blessing or condemnation mentioned in the text IS explicitly stated to be eternal (so that the time salvation argumentation can not work), then the faith mentioned is non-evangelical, certain, and acquired by grace.
These premises are not biblical, but are rather the invention of a deceitful mind with a previous commitment to anti-means.