“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Salvation is not something we achieve; it is something we receive. Salvation is not the result of human effort or good works. We do not earn it. We cannot earn it! It is a gift from God that is received by faith.
Apart from grace, we are spiritually dead and legally guilty before God. If there is any hope of salvation and eternal life, it would happen only by God’s mercy and grace. That is the message of the gospel. God, in his great mercy, sent Christ to bear our punishment and become our righteousness.
Salvation by grace is a major theme in the book of Romans:
- “We are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3.24)
- If many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” (Romans 5.15)
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6.23)
- “At the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11.5-6).
You cannot work to earn grace. It is free and undeserved. Many people falsely believe that going to heaven is determined by whether good deeds outweigh bad deeds. The common misconception is that if we are basically good people, then God will accept us into heaven when we die.
Scripture, however, is unequivocal: Salvation is a grace gift; it is not the result of our efforts or actions. No amount of good deeds can earn salvation for a person. Sin brings death; God’s grace brings life. Again, salvation is not something we achieve; it is something we receive.
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)