Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...
Caboose, I commend you for your careful contemplation of salvation. Let's label a few things and look at it from a differenct perspective and according to what the Bible also tells us:
Originally Posted by Caboose
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
The Giver: God
The Gift: Jesus Christ (note, salvation is not the free gift)
How accessed: By faith
The potential of the gift: Peace with God
Manifested by: Hope
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:... 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
The problem: Humanity because of sin is separated from God, the source of eternal life. Therefore, humanity is condemned to death, separated from the root which gives life.
The recipient of the gift: Humanity.
The reason for the gift: To open a way for humanity to pass from death to eternal life.
So the gift is "the way" to pass from death to eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was given by God to open this potential to humanity. God, as the giver, did this unilaterally.
William Wallace in his cry of "freedom" exercised the very principal he was willing to die for. Ultimately, he was free to choose whether or not to say "mercy" and surrender the freedom of his will. He held fast to the freedom he possessed till the end.
Originally Posted by Caboose
Salvation is the result of one who accesses the free gift, Jesus Christ, through faith. Faith is exercised in this present life towards the hope (the promise) of eternal life. That faith (trust) requires by definition not abandoning "the way", the gift of Jesus Christ. So perhaps you say that those things that are persevered in this life through faith is "a fair trade". Oh how humanity would love that! Do this, endure that, pay what is due, and a crown of eternal life is yours! Where do I sign up? No, that is a false religion and not trusting and understanding the value of the free gift already given. There is nothing of trade or sacrifice that humanity can offer which earns the right of eternal life; thus it is only by "the free gift" given that the debt can be satisfied.
Here is the deal. God has already given the free gift in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, as a man, has already paid whatever is required of humanity to be reconciled to God. God provided this Himself because none of humanity could repair the breach of sin. The gift has opened a way for humanity to have peace with God in this life through faith in Jesus Christ. When we believe on Jesus Christ and trust in the purpose of the gift provided, we are given divine assurance of a new eternal life with God, we are "born again" into a new life and way.
I hope this helps in some way with your consideration.
I Samuel 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.