Years ago I was teaching some boys in a Bible class. I wanted to illustrate that eternal life, new quality of life, forgiveness – the whole salvation package is received by a decision of faith. It is a gift offered to anyone willing to turn from his wrongdoing and trust Jesus to save him.
I handed a boy a penny. “Here, this is for you.” He reached out and took it. I took off my watch. “Here, this is for you.” Happily for me and my illustration he just sat there.
What made the difference in his responses? I took it to be Faith. He believed I would give a penny; he didn’t believe I’d give him my watch.
Salvation is a gift. If you decide to turn from wrong (sin) and trust Jesus Christ to be your savior (in other words: to save you) from the wrath and judgment of God it’s like reaching out and taking an offered gift. Through that act of faith, the gift becomes yours.
My second offer was a gimmick. I don’t know what I would have done if he had reached for the watch. But God’s offer is genuine. God the Son became a man, died, and rose again in order to provide this opportunity.
The Bible says “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”