Articles, posts, and printed literature often would have the reader believe that the Christian has no
ability or power to determine whether or not they get saved. They teach that before salvation we are all totally helpless and unable to know or do anything about God and that He bestows salvation on those whom He will. They make it more like a roll of the dice as to who gets saved and who does not, or is it more like favoritism?
I come across this all the time and do not find it taught in Scripture. In fact there is MUCH we must do if we are to be saved. The verse that so many use to try and support their doctrine is found in Ephesians.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ~ Ephesians 2:8
A proper reading of this verse informs us that it is our FAITH, the ability to believe God and in God that is the gift being discussed. This verse is NOT saying that our Salvation is, or is not a gift. The Bible teaches us that we are all born with the knowledge of God and therefore able to recognize Him in His creation and to
hear Him when He calls us because of the GIFT of faith.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. ~ John 6:44
When God draws or calls us to Himself we feel a conviction of our sins, for how we are living and this is when we have the choice to repent or to ignore Him. In a sense our salvation is free, the price has been paid for us. However the Bible tells us to come, to repent, to confess, and yes, we must obey. Clearly this puts a responsibility on each of us to be saved initially and to stay in the Grace of God until the redemption of our souls.
As an example, let us say you are in the desert dying of thirst, and after having passed out, you come to and see a glass of water sitting in the sand three feet away. Even though the water is right there near by, you are still going to die of thirst if you do not take action. The same can be said of our opportunity to be saved. God gives us the gift of faith and we have to act upon that faith or we will still end up in Hell.
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? ~ James 2:20