How is salvation a gift from God?
When the Bible speaks of salvation as a gift from God, it emphasizes the fact that salvation is something given freely by Him rather than something we earn. Ephesians 2:8-9 contrasts salvation as a gift from God with human efforts when it teaches, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
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Other places in Scripture mention salvation as a gift as well. Romans 5:15 shares, "But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many." Here, the free gift of salvation is contrasted with human sin. Our own efforts cannot earn us God's gift of salvation. It is given only by faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
Another important example is found in John 4:10. When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, He said, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The gift of God He referred to was salvation found in Jesus.
How is salvation a gift? First, it cannot be earned. It is received by faith. Second, the result of salvation is wonderful—eternal life! John 3:16 promises, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Romans 6:23 adds, "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Many religious traditions claim you can go to heaven if you believe and do certain good deeds or works to help in the process. This is not the message Jesus offers. While those who follow Jesus will seek to live according to His ways, salvation is not based on anything we do, but is accepted by faith alone based on God's grace. Apart from Christ we are dead (Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 2:13); we cannot save ourselves. But by His grace, we can receive the gift of life (John 10:10).
Have you accepted the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus Christ? If you are uncertain, you can accept it right now. There is no special prayer you must pray to do so. All you must do is "confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, [and] you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). The following is a prayer you might use to tell God you are ready to accept His gift and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior:
"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Salvation is a gift that only you can give. So right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who died for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."
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