How Can I Earn My Salvation?
Written by: Alejandra Carranza
SHORT ANSWER: YOU CAN’T EARN YOUR SALVATION OR ANY OTHER THING FROM GOD!
Every year we grow older, and oftentimes the people who love you dearly will remember you and celebrate you with some type of gift; perhaps a special meal, a heartfelt note, a meaningful prayer, or even something extra special you had your eye on. How do you respond to their kindness? Do you think to yourself in that moment, “I hope I have worked hard enough to have earned this”, or do you recognize that it is a gift freely given to you in love? If it’s the former, you’ll find yourself burdened with having to repay them. However, if it’s the latter, you’ll be able to fully enjoy.
Salvation is a gift, given by the One who most loves us.
THE BEST GIFT FROM THE ULTIMATE GIVER
In Romans chapter 5 we read that God demonstrates His love for us in Christ, having died for us while we were still sinners, justifying us in His blood and saving us from His wrath. See first that His deep love brought Him to die on our behalf. Secondly, there is no mention of our part in this because we don’t have one, other than freely receiving. We are not the ones to work to make ourselves right with Him. Again, in Ephesians chapter 2 it says by grace we have been saved through faith, not of our own doing, but it is the gift of God, so that we can’t boast of our own works.
In His lovingkindness, God gives us what we don’t deserve (forgiveness and freedom), sparing us from what we do deserve (punishment and judgement). What greater gift can there be than to escape the death that comes from sin? Who can give more than an eternal, redeemed life? As it says in Romans chapter 6 verse 23, “for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
IT IS FINISHED
Although we receive freely, there was indeed a high price to be paid. The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross was the cost for our debt to be erased. 1 Peter chapter 1 says, “… God paid a ransom to save you… and it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” The idea of working towards salvation nullifies the power of Christ’s perfect life, death, and resurrection. There is no atonement or propitiation we can offer up from ourselves when our best is like filthy rags in contrast to God’s perfect holiness. There is no work we can add to that of the cross when it is already finished. To attempt to earn our place with Him when it has already been given would be to deny His sovereignty and perfect will. Besides, the Father doesn’t need our contribution, yet He desires reconciliation with us and grants it to us. His ways are truly better than ours.
HOW DO YOU SAY THANK YOU?
It wouldn’t be a gift if we earned it or “paid it back”. It’d be something we bought ourselves, and what is that even worth compared to the magnitude of God’s loving grace and mercy to receive us anew? What would it cost compared to a perfect, holy, surrendered, and resurrected life?
A lifetime of our own morality, “good” works, and striving to be self-righteous would be insufficient. It would lead to pride, and worse, an eternity separated from the One who loves us most; He who loves us enough to relieve us from the burden of our own sin by paying the price and dying for us, bestowing upon us freedom forevermore.As children joyously receive presents from their parents without any thought as to whether they deserve it or not, let us embrace the gift of salvation from our Heavenly Father!
Let us live with grateful, cheerful, transformed hearts, ready to ourselves become givers of hope and truth by His Spirit to those who are still bound to the shackles of sin or works-based faith.
Dedicate your life to glorifying Jesus and sharing the gospel.
Freely you have received; freely give.
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The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.