Many people think that the only way to be acceptable to God is to be good enough, The problem is that they try and try, and yet they always seem to fail. The good news is that we do not have to do good works to merit salvation. salvation is a free gift from God, and all we need to do is to receive it. I want to look briefly in this post at what God has done for us.
Firstly lets have a look at how Paul describes the gift of salvation in his letter to the Ephesians.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:1–10).
In this passage we notice that first of all Paul shows us that we cannot help ourselves because we are by nature dead in sin. We therefore need God to change us from the inside out. God is shown to be a god who is merciful and who therefore gave his son the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Saviour. It is because of what Jesus did for us that we can be saved, Jesus was willing and able to pay the price for our salvation. All we have to do is put out the empty hands of faith and receive him as our Lord and Saviour at this time we will ask him to forgive us all our sins. When God forgives us he imparts to us a new life which is eternal and it is a life that transforms us. that is what Paul is talking about when he says that we are God’s handiwork. Because God has changed us we are now able to good works. most people think that good works precede salvation, but the Bible shows that it is the other way round,good works follow salvation.
Some people will object that this is just Paul’s teaching so let me show you from some other books of the Bible that this is what is taught by all the leaders of the New Testament Church. If you look at the book of Acts you will see this clearly spelt out, see for example the Apostle Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost(Acts 2). In chapter 15 we find the Apostle wanting to preserve the purity of the Gospel, they resisted those who wanted to add works of the law to the gospel. In his first letter Peter put it like this,
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Pe 1:3–5).
Peter here talks about a new birth into a living hope and here he is echoing the very words of Jesus in Johns Gospel chapter 3, when he tells Nicodemus that he must be born again. Peter like Jesus and Paul shows us that salvation is a free gift from God.
The Apostle James says exactly the same thing in his letter,
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (Jas 1:18).
The Apostle John tells us the same thing in his gospel when he says this,
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (Jn 3:16–17).
The writer to the book of Hebrews when talking about the glory of Jesus says this,
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Heb 1:3).
This writer remind us that it is Jesus who has purified us from all sin.
If you have not come to know the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Saviour I can assure you that he is more than willing to grant you this wonderful gift, all you need to do is ask him to come into your life and grant you forgiveness for your sins and he will give you a new life.