We are saved only by the Grace of God.
God saved us by himself; there is nothing we can do. God’s plan was to send a substitute for us to take away all of our sins. This substitute would have to be human like us, die like us, and be raised from the dead so that we too can be raised from our death to be with him in heaven. God did this by sending Jesus. There is nothing more to do, God’s plan has been completed. Many do not believe this and think they need to earn their way to heaven. Unfortunately, this may lead to the belief that they must do good works or just be a good person in order to be saved. Thinking you have to be good or do good deeds to earn heaven is a complete rejection of God’s free gift of salvation. If you received a gift from someone who loves you, do you ask if you can give them some money to help pay for it? Absolutely not, because then it would not be a gift. It is offensive to God if we think our good works help us gain the eternal life that God has already purchased through the death of Jesus on the cross. All our righteous works, no matter how good we think they are, are like filthy rags to God and cannot be measured with what Jesus did on the cross for us. Christians believe that salvation is God’s free gift, joyfully do good works, and follow God’s commands as their way of thanking God. They trust that God alone has saved us. Therefore we thank him through regularly hearing and reading his Word, treasuring his sacraments, and sharing his Word. We thank God that he doesn’t require us to earn our way to heaven, we would never be able to know if we have done enough. What joy Christians have in Jesus who completely paid for all of our sins and alone earned our ticket, free of charge, to heaven when we die!
God’s Word on how we are saved:
Isaiah 64:6: All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags: we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Acts 4:12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
2 Cor 5:15,21: 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 1God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
John 1:29: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Eph. 2:1-10: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Romans 5:18: Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
Matthew 20:1-16 (The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard)
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ” ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.