DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I think I’ve heard you say that salvation is a free gift, but how can that be? Doesn’t God expect us to try to get our lives in order before he’ll let us into heaven? — J.G.
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The Bible is clear: God offers us our eternal salvation as a free gift — and this is a wonderful truth that I hope you’ll come to understand.
Let me explain it this way. Not too many weeks ago, we celebrated Christmas, and if you’re like most people you probably received a number of gifts. How much did you pay for them?
I suspect you’re smiling at my question — because you know you didn’t pay anything for them, no matter how costly they were. Someone else paid for them, and they gave them to you freely and without charge.
The same is true with our salvation. We couldn’t pay for it; the cost is too high. In addition, God’s standard is nothing less than perfection, and no matter how good we try to be, we can never be good enough.
But someone has already paid for it — and that “someone” is Jesus Christ! He did for us what we could never do for ourselves, by taking upon himself the judgment that we deserve.
But what did you do with your Christmas gifts? Did you simply admire them and leave them under the tree? No, of course not. You reached out and received them, and that’s what we must do with Jesus.
Don’t trust your own good works or doubt what he has done for you, but reach out and by faith receive him into your life today. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).