The salvation of Jesus Christ is the gift of God. If anyone is attempting to earn it or make themselves worthy of it they are in for a long disappointing journey.
In the 13th chapter of the book of Acts we find Paul telling of God’s dealings with the nation Israel beginning with their captivity in Egypt and bringing them all the way up to Jesus. He then goes on to provide more scriptural reasons for them to believe he is the Messiah by quoting from Psalms. He shares with them about the resurrection and how through Jesus Christ comes the forgiveness of sins and through him we can be freed from all things the Law of Moses couldn’t free us from. As he finished teaching many came and asked if he would speak to them the next Sabbath.
When the next Sabbath came almost the whole city gathered to hear Paul preach. Paul received the same reception Jesus had from many of the Jewish leaders though. Once they saw the large crowds of people they became jealous and stirred up conflict. Paul and Barnabas spoke boldly even in the face of the opposition and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.”
When I read Paul said they “judge themselves unworthy of eternal life” it jumped at me. This is exactly what people do when they think they must earn or deserve eternal life. They are unwilling to simply receive it because they have a faulty view of God. These people, like many others, simply cannot understand the love of God and his grace. I thank God he doesn’t give us what we deserve because if that was the case we would all have to die rather than Jesus Christ dying for us. According to the scriptures if there is anything we deserve it is death. “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”
Paul is also the one who wrote Ephesians 2:8-9 “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.” You see if salvation was something to be earned we would all have something to brag about in Heaven. Can you imagine walking the street in Heaven and you walk up on someone and say, “What did you do to get into Heaven?” He would reply “Well, I gave lots and lots of money to the church.” Then, as you were talking, another person would come up and say “I made it here because I treated others the way I wanted to be treated” and another would say “I went to church every time the doors were open.” That can’t be the way salvation works. God has provided a way through his son Jesus Christ and if you don’t go through him you will not be going!
God is a perfect God and being so he requires perfection from us. I know many will think, “but nobody’s perfect so no one will get into Heaven.” If we were judged according to our own merit that would be exactly true but thank God he provided another way. He gave his one and only perfect Son to be the perfect sacrifice to perfectly accomplish salvation for all that will simply humble themselves enough to receive him. “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” In Christ the work is done. Our job is to place our faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. We then learn to walk in the Spirit, who is Christ in us, and he is all the perfection we will ever need.
Written by Louie