Salvation, the forgiveness of sins, is truly a gift that God has given. Salvation offered through Jesus Christ is a result of the grace of God. The word "grace" means undeserved favor. God bestowed undeserved favor upon mankind when He provided the means of the forgiveness of our sins. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). The giving of His Son to die for our sins was the grace of God and Romans 5 verses 15, 16, and 18 state that this grace was a "free gift".
Many sincere religious people have concluded from all this that since salvation is a free gift, there is nothing we must or should do in order to receive salvation from our sins. They go even farther to say that if we must do something in order to receive forgiveness of our sins, then it is no longer a gift. Thus, many denominational churches teach that mankind is not required to do anything to be saved or that we are saved the moment we believe. Is this the teaching of God's word or the doctrines of men?
Again, let it be understood that salvation is a gift. This has already been shown from the Scriptures. Let us note, however, that the Scriptures also point to other "gifts" that God has freely given. Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. In verse 11 of the prayer we read: "Give us this day our daily bread". Yes, we need to remember in our prayers to ask God to "give us" the food we eat. Therefore, the food we eat is a gift from God. Applying the same logic to food that some apply to salvation, there is nothing required of us in order to have food. We should wait on the Lord to miraculously stock of shelves and refrigerators. If we do anything to obtain food, it will no longer make it a gift from God. No, there is something we must do to receive this gift of daily bread: We must work! "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." Does our working for the food we eat, take anything away from our food being a gift of God? Certainly not! God requires work on our part to receive the gift He gives.
Likewise, God requires the hearing of His word (John 6:44,45) for faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). God also requires repentance for He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9). Whether Jesus will confess us before His Father is dependent on whether we confess Him with the mouth (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10). God has only promised to save those that are in Christ (Ephesians 1:7) and to get into Christ we must be baptized (Galatians 3:27). After doing these things, salvation is still a free gift from God.
By E.R. Hall, Jr.
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