The following article is a condensed version of one written by an elder at my Church – a wise man who I love and respect dearly. He’s asked to remain anonymous, but I want to dedicate this post to him in honor of everything he’s done for me and so many others.
“We are saved by grace – nothing else. On our own, we stand condemned, for we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God.
However, this grace comes with conditions, such as faith (Hebrews 11:6), love (I John 3:14), and forgiving others (Matthew 6:14-15). After all, even those who have received forgiveness will lose it if they do not forgive (Matthew 18:23-35). Lastly, there’s the baptism of the faithful into Christ (Mark 16:16; Galatians 3:26-27).
Do any of these conditions invalidate grace? Absolutely not! Works earn something. Grace is a gift. (Romans 4:4) None of the conditions earn salvation, not even faith. But they are conditions, nevertheless, and God has chosen in His will and His right as the giver of grace to require them.
Think about it this way; imagine I come to you and offer you a million dollars as a gift. To take me up on this offer, you’d have to have a whole lot of faith. You would have to believe I was serious and that I actually had a million dollars to give. But you would also have to act. You would have to answer, “Yes!”
So, based on your faith, I write you a check for a million dollars and hand it to you. Do you now have the million dollars? You go home and joyfully shout to your loved ones, “I have a million dollars!” You go all over town telling people what a generous person I am and how grateful you are for the million dollars. But do you actually have a million dollars? Yes and no! You see, you must first do certain things. You must take the check, physically or electronically, to your bank. You must endorse the check. You must deposit it into your account. Even at this point, the bank has your money. You likely will have to wait several days before the check clears before the bank will let you spend it. Only then do you have the million dollars. Did any of those things earn the million dollars? Of course not. Could you receive the money without them? Of course not. I could have put other conditions on the money. I could have said, “Before I give you the check, you must shake my hand.” Would that have earned a million dollars? No.
God has written every human a “check” for salvation, signed in blood at the cross. But not everyone has even received the check. Some don’t know it has been written, and that is our responsibility to make sure they hear. Some have heard but don’t believe. They will not be baptized into Christ, they will not love, they will not forgive, or they will not turn away from a sinful lifestyle because either they do not believe He can save them or do not believe Him when He tells them what the conditions are. Or perhaps, like the rich, young ruler, they go away sorrowful because they will not accept His conditions. (Matthew 19:22).
So, are we saved by grace? Yes…but to receive God’s Grace, we must follow His conditions. He’s given every one of us a check for salvation. The only question is, are you going to do what is necessary to cash it in?”