Do we contribute anything good to our own salvation?
From the Bible's perspective, a person contributes nothing to his or her salvation. Salvation is a matter of faith that Jesus Christ is the resurrected Lord (Romans 10:9), and has nothing to do with works.
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Then how can anyone be saved if we can do nothing to contribute to it or earn it? In John 3, a Jewish leader named Nicodemus came to Jesus at night to learn more about Jesus. Jesus told him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). When Nicodemus asked how a person could be born again, Jesus explained God did all the work: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
While salvation is a free gift from God, it must be received by believing in Jesus. Our sin separates us from God (Romans 3:23). Yet God has offered eternal life to anyone who believes in Him. From a human perspective, if a person could help earn his salvation, it would present two problems. First, he could be tempted to boast and brag about earning his way to heaven (Ephesians 2:9). Second, if good works were able to contribute to salvation, there would be no assurance of whether enough good works had been completed to earn entrance to heaven. He would constantly wonder whether he had done enough. Instead, we can rest in the biblical truth that salvation is provided as a free gift.
For those who have believed in Jesus Christ by faith, you can have confidence of eternal life. First John 5:13 clearly teaches, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." John 6:37, 39-40 adds, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.[…] And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." Jesus promised in John 10:27-28, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."
When you receive a gift, you do not expect to pay for it. You would not call the act of accepting the gift a contribution toward earning it. In the same way, salvation is given as a free gift. We must receive it in order to experience the blessings of this gift, but accepting God's gift does not mean we are working to earn it. Even faith itself is a gift from God (Romans 6:23).
Scripture is clear that Jesus is the one who has contributed everything necessary for salvation. He has paid the price for our salvation on the cross and now offers eternal life freely to those who will believe in Him by faith.
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