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“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Ephesians 2:8-9
One of the many things we learn at a very young age is that we must earn our way through life. Whether we are working to buy our first car as a teenager, paying our way through college, or purchasing our first home to raise and support our family, working becomes ingrained in our way of thinking. That causes many people to enter into a compulsion to work more, earn more, and obtain more to a point where enough is never enough. Some even boast about their acquired fortune in life, bragging about how they climbed the ladder of success rung by rung to earn their way to the top.
No wonder people struggle to accept the simple fact that our spiritual salvation comes to them at no cost. They think to themselves, “What’s the catch? Where’s the hidden clause?” They are looking for the fine print if you will, and, more often than not, they conclude with the old adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably is.” Then we see Scripture taken out of context to justify a works-based faith to earn God’s favor and acceptance into heaven. If that were true, then Jesus would have gone to the cross for nothing, His Father would have been cruel for allowing His only begotten Son to suffer and die because there would have been an alternative to the cross. Nonsense!
Jesus went to the cross, suffered, shed His blood, and died to atone for the sins of the world; your sins and my sins. There is no amount of good works that we can do to earn God’s favor, to earn our way into heaven. It is only because of God’s immeasurable love for the world that He would take the form of a man to pay the penalty for our sins– that is love, the love Jesus spoke of when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that a person would lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
God shows no favoritism. It does not matter how rich, how poor, how powerful or powerless you might be; God makes the gift of eternal life accessible to everyone, everywhere, at any time without cost. That is the grace of which Apostle Paul speaks, the grace of giving us something we do not deserve, and the mercy of not giving us the death that we do deserve. He talks about the faith that every believer possesses, the faith that Jesus is the only begotten Son, that He died on a cross for our sins, and that He rose again on the third day. Jesus conquered death, and “whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
There is only one “gold standard” per se to get into heaven, and that is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As for boasting, only Jesus Christ has bragging rights in heaven. Therefore, if you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then all you need to do is confess and turn from your sin and call upon the name of the Lord. The Bible says those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. So if you do that, and you do so with a true heart of repentance, then, based on the authority of Scripture, you are now a born-again Christian; you are saved.
As a newborn Christian, I encourage you to seek out a Bible-believing Bible-teaching community of faith with whom you can learn and grow in your daily walk with the Lord. Eternal life in heaven with Jesus forever; it is indeed the gift of God.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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