Misconception #5: Salvation Can Be Earned
As I walked out of work and opened my car door, I heard someone call my name. I looked around confused for a second. I noticed a friend of my mom's walking towards me. She was carrying something. We chatted for a minute and she handed me a large basket filled with candles and bath bombs, a mug, lemonade, and more. All things yellow and cheerful and with so much thought behind each little goody.
"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." Ephesians 2:4-10 (Emphasis added)
I got in my car still a bit confused. I set the basket on the passenger seat to open the note she had tucked inside. "Just because..." she had signed. Tears flowed down my cheek. "What did I do to deserve this, I don't even know her all that well?
" Thoughts rolled through my head trying to understand the kindhearted gesture of golden-hued gifts she presented me.
Her kindness was the perfect example of God's grace and willingness to love and serve others without any warrant. I didn't do anything to earn her gift. I didn't turn to her and say, "now how much do I owe you for that?"
The thought of repaying someone for a gift may sound a little silly, but grasping that our salvation is a free gift from God when we believe in Jesus can be hard to comprehend. Our "good works" should be the result of God's work in us. When we are filled with His spirit and love, it tends to rub off onto others. The joy in giving comes from a place of love, not because we will gain anything at all. Giving is the gift itself.