• Not by Works—It is a Gift from God
What separates Christianity from all the other religions of the world is this: the belief that it is by the sovereign grace of God that we are saved and united to God (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:4-7)! All the other religions of the world believe that you must work your way up into heaven in order to have a chance of being accepted by God. They think eternal life is achieved by a system of merits; that your good and bad deeds will be weighed against each other in the balance when you die. If your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, you’ll be accepted! This is not what the Bible teaches about being accepted by and reconciled with God. With Jesus it works the other way around!
When Peter, a follower of Jesus, asked Him, ‘How can a person be saved?’ Jesus replied, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God; with God all things are possible’ (Mark 10:27). There is a better chance of you getting into heaven on a ladder of sand than being saved from your sins by doing good deeds! Or as someone said: ‘There is a greater chance of you crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a paper boat than being saved from your sins by your own good works.’ The fact of the matter is that we are greatly indebted to God because of our sins, and no sinful human being can repay that debt because we are all full of sin (Romans 7:14; Jeremiah 17:9). The devil and our own sins have made us captives of hell and the kingdom of darkness (2 Timothy 2:26; Ephesians 2:1-3).
But Jesus bought us back and the price was His own life, His death, His own blood (Revelation 5:9). We cannot make our lives right by our own performance or effort. Only a superhuman can take our debt away and that superhuman is the God-man, JESUS CHRIST! It is Him and Him alone. Even if you never sin again until your death, you will still be guilty of your past sins and deserve eternal death and separation from God’s glory because of the just nature of God (Nahum 1:2, 3). We cannot make up for our previous mistakes and sins before God by our own efforts. We need to be perfect in order to be in God’s presence. We need Jesus Christ’s perfect life and His righteousness when we are in God’s presence (Hebrews 12:14; Isaiah 35:8). We know that the punishment of sin is death. But Jesus was perfect and lived a perfect life. He took our sins upon Himself and paid our debt so that we can stand without sin before God (Romans 3:25, 26). Jesus fulfilled all the laws of God perfectly (Romans 8:3, 4) and thereby obtained a perfect righteousness. When we put our trust in Jesus, God clothes us with His righteousness (His perfection) and our sins are laid on Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In other words, by faith in Jesus a divine transaction takes place. By faith we stand perfect and without sin before God and therefore are accepted by God, apart from anything we have done (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:26,28). That’s why we need Jesus so desperately! And the world needs to know about Him! Human beings essentially have six problems: The guilt, pollution and power of sins, the alienation that sin brings, ourselves, and the reality of physical and spiritual death. And Jesus Christ is the solution to all of them. He came to forgive (Colossians 1:14) and cleanse us from our sins (1 John 1:7), save us from the power of sin, self and Satan (Colossians 1:13, 14; Romans 6:6, 7), reconcile us back to God (Colossians 1:20-22) and He overcame death by being raised from it by God the Father (Hebrews 2:14, 15). If we receive Jesus Christ, these problems are overcome, and we receive everlasting life! Romans 6:23 states: ‘The wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’
Reality to consider: Ephesians 2:8-10 states: ‘It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For you are God’s workmanship…’
Read: Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:4-7; Mark 10:27; Romans 7:14; 2 Timothy 2:26; Ephesians 2:1-3; Revelation 5:9; Nahum 1:2,3; Hebrews 12:14; Isaiah 35:8; Romans 3:25,26,28; Romans 8:3,4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:14; 1 John 1:7; Colossians 1:13,14; Romans 6:6,7; Colossians 1:20-22; Hebrews 2:14,15; Romans 6:23.