“The righteousness of Christ is a free gift. We cannot earn it, buy it, create it, procure it, or deserve it. Christ gives it, bestows it, donates it, imputes it and imparts it at great cost to Himself, but no cost to us.
“As humans we are programmed to attach self-worth and societal approval to positive accomplishments. We are taught from childhood that positive rewards follow good deeds and merit comes by effort; that nice things happen when we earn them, and we get what we deserve and deserve what we get. So it is hard to believe that our salvation is a result of Jesus’ obedience, not ours; that his spotless life is provided not because of anything we do, but simply because he loves us. We find it difficult to accept that “both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of Christ” (The Desire of Ages, p. 300).
“Yet it is true – our salvation is a matter of Jesus’ love “plus nothing” on our part but acceptance of His free gift. That free gift is better than a lifetime of labour that we can fashion; it is ours when we “let go and let God!” It is ours when we fall at the foot of the cross pleading “nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling.” It is ours when we realise that no matter how learned we are, how rich we are, how talented we are, how connected we are, how high in society we are, or how long we have been in the church, nothing we hold, or do counts for our redemption – the gift of salvation was completed on Calvary and is deposited in our name in heaven’s bank and awaits our acceptance.
Some things advertised as free are not free at all. They are the ploy of crafty manufacturer’s and super sales persons. The offer of Christ’s free gift is neither ruse nor reward; it is neither matched nor manufactured by our good works. It is the undeserved, unearned, unencumbered bestowal upon the sinner who, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, recognises Christ’s offer – believes it, receives it, and by it is transplanted from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.”