Salvation Is a Gift; You Don't Work for a Gift
“All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:24 NCV).
If you were to ask a hundred people on the sidewalk, “How do you get to heaven?” you’d get a lot of different answers that could be summarized by the idea that you have to earn your way to heaven. You’d hear things like, “Try to be good and do your best” or “Work really hard at being a moral person” or “Do more good things than bad things in life.” All of these ideas are based on works, not grace.
But salvation is a gift, and you don’t work for a gift. It’s free! You can’t earn it, you can’t buy it, and you can’t work for it.
This is a fundamental difference between Christianity and every other religion. Christianity is the only religion that’s built on grace. Every other religion is based on works, and you can summarize them in one word: “do.” There are certain things you have do in order to gain God’s approval, to gain bliss, to gain heaven. There are always rules, regulations, and rituals—something you have to do.
On the other hand, one way you could summarize Christianity is with the word “done.” Jesus Christ has already paid the price for you on the cross. It’s done!
A guy asked me one time, “Pastor Rick, what can I do to be saved?” I said, “You’re too late!” (That kind of shocked him.) “You’re about 2,000 years too late! What needed to be done for your salvation has already been done, and you can’t do anything about it.”
Jesus Christ already did it. He paid for your salvation on the cross, and it’s now a free gift that’s offered to you. That’s why when Jesus was hanging on the cross, he said, “It is finished.” He didn’t say, “I am finished,” because he wasn’t. He’s still alive today. The “it” is your salvation. The plan to provide grace for every person is finished.
Romans 3:24 says, “All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ” (NCV).
You won’t get to heaven based on what you do. You get to heaven based on what has already been done for you by Jesus Christ.
When we really understand grace, we’ll accept it, because it is the greatest gift we’re ever going to be offered.
Talk It Over
Why do you think so many people view salvation and forgiveness as something they must work for, instead of a free gift they can choose to accept?
After we’ve accepted God’s gift of salvation, why is it important to tell others about that gift, too?
How has your life changed as you’ve gained a clearer understanding of God’s grace?
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.