Salvation: Is it really a gift?
How is the term gift defined? If you Google it, you’ll find that it is defined as “a thing given willingly to someone without payment.” It is those words, without payment, that catch my attention. That means a gift is something that is given freely. The person receiving it didn’t pay for it in any way. The Bible tells us it is in this way that we gain salvation. It is without payment. Another way of saying this is to say that we didn’t provide anything or do anything to deserve it. It truly is a gift. We find in Scripture that it is given freely of God Himself as a gift.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]
But don’t most people think that if they’re to get to heaven, they must DO something or provide something to gain it? They surely do! Don’t people often say that nothing in life is free and if you tell them about something that’s otherwise, they think it’s a gimmick and that surely there’s something that must be done to pay for it. They may express this in different ways, but in their mind works of righteousness must be a part of their payment for salvation. In fact, to them, their works have everything to do with it. But, again, what do the Scriptures say?
5 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 Ghost; [Emphasis added]
But because so many people don’t understand what is called the right division of Scripture, they’ll quote other verses in the Bible that say otherwise. Here’s probably the most common example of that.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? [Emphasis added]
Wonderful principles can be learned from every part of Scripture, but there are many things in the Bible that are not addressed to us today. That is one of the main reasons this ministry was put in place—4Us2UsMinistries.com. ALL Scripture is FOR Us, but it is certainly not all TO us. For instance, to whom was the book of James addressed?
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. [Emphasis added]
Are you in the twelve tribes of Israel or are you a part of what some call spiritual Israel? The answer is no to both of these! Even Jews are saved in our time apart from works because today God does not make any racial distinctions. Both Jews and Gentiles receive salvation the same way. We all become one in Christ by grace through faith alone. Our works have nothing to do with it.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [Emphasis added]
It is when we put our faith in Christ alone that the Holy Spirit places us all in one body of God’s people.
I Corinthians 12:13
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. [Emphasis added]
Salvation is available to all people today the exact same way.
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [Emphasis added]
Just two verses down it then says salvation is freely given to us.
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [Emphasis added]
The moment we express faith in Christ, God credits the believer with the righteousness His justice demands for salvation.
II Corinthians 5:21
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]
In life we’re used to having to pay for everything. And there was certainly payment for this, but WE didn’t have to pay it. Jesus Christ made that payment for all at the cross so that anyone could be saved. It was at the cross that He satisfied the payment demanded by the justice of God. The theological term for this is propitiation.
I John 2:2
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [Emphasis added]
The apostle Paul tells us about the same thing in his writings.
I Timothy 2:6
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [Emphasis added]
People must accept by faith what Jesus did for them to be saved, but faith or not, their sins were paid for and, therefore, forgiven at the cross of Christ. The “eyes” of many need to be opened to the reality of this provision. You have to believe He made this complete payment at the cross to be saved. It is an essential part of the gospel message. If a person believes it, receiving the forgiveness God provided for them through Christ, they can be saved immediately and permanently.
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. [Emphasis added]
Being receptive to this message of the cross and resurrection is mandatory for salvation. The salvation that comes by faith alone is the one and most important thing you’ll every receive in all your life and it is absolutely free.
Some try to claim faith itself is a work, but that is not correct. Instead, the work is in the object of one’s faith. If I place my faith in a chair to hold me, it is the chair that holds me, not my faith. It is the object of faith that is meritorious. In this case, that’s Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It is faith in His work that provides this gift of salvation. It is this one man, Jesus Christ, who made this gift possible for us.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. [Emphasis added]
Whatever you got from that passage, it should be clear that what God provides in salvation is a free gift. It is not something earned or deserved by payment through works. It truly is free to anyone who accepts by faith what Christ did for them.
One of the most quoted verses on what God has provided for us is found in this next verse I’ll cite. It serves to inform us that despite our sinfulness, the eternal life of salvation is a gift to us.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Emphasis added]
Isn’t it easy, therefore, to see why this message is called the gospel, meaning good news. What better news has any of us ever heard? There is none that surpasses this. So, if you’ve never received this gift, why not do that right now. God knows your thoughts. If you’ll simply accept by faith this gift Jesus Christ purchased for you through His death, burial, and resurrection, you’ll now be saved forever.