By Joe Slater
Who determines where you dwell eternally? Is it up to you, or is up to God? The short answer is: “Yes!”
That salvation from sin and the resulting eternal life are a gift cannot be denied successfully! Romans 6:23 couldn’t be clearer: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We call Jesus “Savior” for a reason – if we could provide for our own deliverance from the guilt and penalty for sin, we wouldn’t need a savior. But obviously we cannot!
Unfortunately, some have erroneously concluded that since we cannot save ourselves by ourselves, we must be totally passive. They believe God unconditionally picked and chose certain individuals to be saved and exercised irresistible grace toward them regardless of any faith or obedience.
Others have bought into the equally mistaken idea that by working really hard we can “almost” save ourselves, and God’s grace just gives us a little nudge over the finish line. Such a notion ignores the fact that good works can’t wash sins away – only Jesus’ blood does that. The bird lady in “Home Lone – Lost In New York” was wrong: a good deed doesn’t erase a bad deed. Not even at Christmas!
The fact is, a gift is given on the terms of the giver. Complying with God’s terms to receive the gift of eternal life isn’t meriting or earning salvation! In no way does it deny the grace of God. And we have the free will to decide whether to comply with God’s terms or to refuse them. God elected (chose) Jesus to be our Savior, and He elected (chose) to save those who trust and obey Jesus.
So, is it up to God or up to you? Yes!