Things have been quite hectic for me of late; I have been blessed, but busy – perhaps too busy. That being the case, I purposed in my heart that I would take some time to “be still” and allow the Lord to minister to me. I desire to have (and to express) His heart. I’m quite sure that many of you would say the same. The following is the thought that formed in my mind, traveled through my soul, and found its way to my fingers… so that I, in turn, might ‘tap it out’ and invite you to “muse” a bit with me. Here it is ~
Suppose your best friend came by one day with a special gift for you. How would you respond? Would you immediately pull out your purse or wallet for some money to help pay for the gift? Of course not! To do so would be a great insult. A gift must be accepted for what it is: something freely given and unmerited. If you have to pay for a gift – or do something to deserve it, or to earn it – it is not a gift. True gifts are freely given and freely received. To attempt to give or receive a gift in any other manner makes it not a ‘gift’ at all.
So it is with our salvation. God offers us salvation as a free gift. He does not attach strings to it (like keeping ‘Holy Days of Obligation’ and getting ashes crushed on my forehead – “Happy Lent” everyone), because to do so makes it something other than a gift. In addition, any attempt on our part (no matter how great, no matter how small) to pay for our salvation by ‘doing something’ or ‘giving up something’, is an insult to God.
No one in heaven will ever be able to say: “Look at me! I made it! With a little help from God, I made it!” To that reasoning, the Bible declares: “It is by grace (God’s favor against your merit) that you have been saved, through faith (faith in the person of Jesus Christ and His work of atonement upon the cross) – and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (and) not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
Salvation is the free gift of God’s grace; His unmerited favor. Consequently, not even the smallest part of it is the result of what we can do, or what we have done. As the Bible declares ~ “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)