For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. — Ephesians 2:8
One of the first lessons that we learn in life is that there are rewards to every action or decision that we make. That can be good or bad. For example, for a child who chooses not to listen to their parents, it could end up in punishment.
Or it could be our work. Perhaps we receive special recognition for a job well done. Or perhaps we work hard and we receive a raise.
Sometimes we feel like we receive what we deserve and other times we may feel like we do not. Sometimes it is not about what we did, but rather someone that gave us something. We did not do anything special or extra, but they willingly gave us something out of the goodness of their heart.
That is exactly what is being described here in Ephesians. Salvation was given to all of humanity through grace. It was a favor given by God that we did not deserve on our own merit. We had no claim to the gift, but He gave it to us anyway.
But this gift that he gave requires one thing from us. It requires faith. Many people will try to tell you that you have to do all kinds of things in order to get to heaven. Some will tell you that you need to be good, to read your Bible, or do many other things.
Scripture is clear that it is not about all the things you can do. All you have to do is have faith. It is as simple as believing. If it required work or effort, I would no doubt mess it up. There is no doubt I would find a way to miss out on this amazing gift.
Not just messing it up, but I have no doubt I could have never done enough to earn the free gift. I have no doubt I would have come up short of earning it had I needed to earn it. But this is not a gift that we can obtain on our own, no matter how hard we try. We can only receive it by grace through faith.
Praise God for His free gift to us.