God is Gracious
and offers Salvation as a Gift
God wants to give you forgiveness, the riches of His righteousness and an eternal home with Him in heaven. Jesus paid for all of this with His own life!
Grace is God giving to us what we could never earn for ourselves.
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.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Grace is a gift! Notice what grace is not. It is "not of yourself," "not of works." God doesn't give you part of this gift and expect you to earn the rest. You don't have the ability to earn holiness or meet His just standard.
So, if grace is a gift, what do we do? Receive!
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name
So how do we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior?
Man's Decision: Believe
If the most important decision in your life depends on one simple word — Believe — then we must define it biblically. Some may say it means to understand and acknowledge that something is true. Let's analyze that definition with this story.
In 1859 the famous acrobat Charles Blondin stretched a tightrope 190 feet above the mighty waters of the Niagara right at the falls. He even fitted a special wheelbarrow for the rope and pushed it across. The story is told that he once approached the cheering crowd and asked who believed he could put a man in the wheelbarrow and take him across. The crowd began to chant, "I believe!" Blondin pointed to a man in the crowd and invited him to get in the wheelbarrow. The man bolted the other direction.
What was wrong? The man might have believed that Blondin could put some other man into the wheelbarrow, but he wasn't willing to trust Blondin to take him across.
Faith that saves a person from sin and hell has three essential elements.
God cannot tolerate or overlook my sin. He gave His life in exchange for mine, and wants to give me eternal life.
I am a sinner and need a Savior.
I choose to receive Jesus' Exchange—my sin and its penalty for His record and eternal life.
Imagine two chairs sitting side by side. Let the one on the left represent you and your efforts to get to heaven on your own, and let the one on the right represent the finished payment of Christ for all your sins. What would you have to do to transfer your trust from the chair representing self to the chair representing Jesus?
What if a person decides to sit in both chairs? Is he really trusting either chair? No! When a person tries to trust in Jesus and his own efforts, he is really showing that he doubts that Jesus is enough. Saving faith is choosing to trust Christ’s payment for sin as your own payment and nothing else. It’s like a transaction, or better - an exchange. You choose to trust in Christ and what He has already done for you on the cross, and He gives to you forgiveness of sins (your earned record), His perfect righteousness (His earned record), and eternal life in heaven.
Man’s Decision: Repent
Repent is the other word the Bible uses to describe this decision.
Unless you repent, you will all ... perish
Except ye repent, ye shall all ... perish
The word "repent" means to change your mind, to admit that you are wrong and God is right. It may be that until now you have been thinking your sin isn’t bad enough to send you to hell. You’re going to have to change your mind about that. It may be you have been thinking you could do enough good to counteract the bad you have done. You’re going to have to change your mind about that.