John for Jesus wrote: Mike already said it and I agree. The people in Matt 7:22-23 do not have saving faith. The Holy Spirit is only given to those who believe that Jesus is who He says He is and trust in His work of salvation. Why? Are you suggesting these people believed like any Christian does but God wouldn't give them the Holy Spirit to save them?
But John, Mike; These guys (Matt 7:22-23) made the normal Roman catholic/Arminian style free will decision which they call 'faith' - just like you did. So whats the difference? How come Jesus rejects them?
Look at the verse "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" Can you do as much?
John for Jesus wrote: (C) The Holy Spirit isn't even given until after faith. (D) Jesus came to save sinners who believe.
If so John; Why didn't Jesus provide the Holy Spirit to the guys in Matthew 7:22-23. (See Below). And therefore why didn't HE save them? Are they not "believing."??
Matt 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
John for Jesus wrote: I don't doubt that God saves by grace those who believe, but they must first believe.
John, The statement you have made above is the same position of the people in Matt 7:21-23. They clearly made a 'free-will' human decision which they considered as 'faith'. However Jesus rejects them saying, "I never knew you."
If the initial decision of "faith" is of human origin alone - [which you are advocating] - then basically nothing happens in heaven.
John for Jesus wrote: (A) The reason you quoted Q72 and A72 was to show that faith is an act of God upon people. If the WCC is.... (B) Eph 2:8 is saying that salvation is the gift of God. (C) 1 Peter 1:9 even says it is "your faith"!
(D) I don't doubt that God saves by grace those who believe, but they must first believe.
(A) "WCC" What is that? The Larger Catechism Q72 confirms that faith is a saving grace - not a faculty of man. The supporting verse Heb 10:39 phrase quote, "believe to the saving of the soul" illustrates the grace involved and is the reason why this verse was used.
'YOU' cannot see the grace there because you save yourself by human faculty!! As you have stated at the bottom of your post, "Human action precedes any divine decision/act" ~ Which as Christians know is 'salvation by works' = Popish heresy!
(B) ONLY to the Arminian save thyself brigade.
(C) Faith is given by God as a gift. After it has been providentially given it then belongs to the mortal, and is used by the Holy Spirit in the heart of the elect.
(D) Jesus came to save sinners - Not believers! The sinner in his natural estate is deaf, dumb and blind about all that is spiritual and intended for saving, ie "dead in sin".
John for Jesus wrote: Nowhere are there verses given to show that faith is a saving grace or that it is needed for the Holy Spirit to create faith....
The Catechism, and its authors, did not expect to record every verse to support every word used. The Confession and the Catechism is written by godly elect authors who are aquainted with the whole counsel of God. They were orthodox and Calvinist who used the Bible as a whole to record their articles.
They did not believe as you do in free will initiating salvation.
If you require specific verses. Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)
Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
2Tim 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
1Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls
John for Jesus wrote: 15. Righteousness is what comes from God here and not faith itself.
Q72: What is justifying faith? A72: Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit  and word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.
John UK wrote: Pink clearly joins justification and sanctification as salvation, and though 'standing' cannot be improved, our 'state' must improve to evidence a lively and true faith.
Q77: Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?
A77: Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof;......
A75: Sanctification is a work of God's grace, whereby they whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened, as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life.
1] Eph 1:4; ICor 6:11; II Thess 2:13 2] Rom 6:4-6 3] Eph 4:23-24 4] Acts 11:18; I John 3:9 5] Jude 1:20; Heb 6:11-12; Eph 3:16-19; Col. 1:10-11 6] Rom 6:4; 6:14; Gal 5:24