How much does the salvation of our souls cost us? It cost Christ his life, how much must we pay
for it? Paul stated, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it
is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8) and, "For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of
God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23 ASV). Salvation is a free gift from
God to all mankind.
Does the free nature of salvation mean that there is nothing I must do in order to be saved? The Bible reveals that there is much that I must do to receive this free gift. I must have faith, "And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him" (Heb. 11:6 ASV).
I must repent of my sins, "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish" (Luke 13:3 ASV).
I must confess my faith in Christ, "Because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:9-10 ASV). I must live a faithful life until the day I die, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10b ASV).
I must "repent and be baptized" (Acts 2:38), or, as Jesus stated, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16).
I must be a hard worker for God, "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead" (Jas. 2:26 ASV).
These examples listed above are but a few of the things that I must do in order to be saved. Why then does God tell us that salvation is free? The answer is simple: I cannot earn salvation. Salvation is not a paycheck for good works done in this life. I must do good works that God has asked me to do, but I do not earn Heaven for doing these works.
Consider Jim who inherited $1,000,000 from his uncle. Jim did not earn this money by working. However, there are things Jim must do in order to receive this money. He must fill out the proper paper work and take the proper legal actions to receive this inheritance. Even though Jim did not earn the money by doing the proper actions, he received it nonetheless by doing these actions. If Jim had not done what was required to receive the money, he would not have received it.
Salvation is free, but there is much I must do in order to receive it. I cannot earn it, I simply must do the things required to receive my inheritance from God. Remember the words of our Lord: "Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10 ASV).