Here is an interesting quote from Michael Horton in Modern Reformation, November-December issue, in an article entitled "The Promise Driven Life".
"Faith does not create; it receives. It does not make the invisible visible or the future present or hope reality. It receives that which is already given. Grace precedes faith. It is not finally accepting the goodness of the world, or my own goodness, but receiving God’s goodness toward me in spite of the way things really are with me and with the world."