We could never do enough to earn the grace our Savior freely gives.
Three of the four gospels contain an account of the wealthy ruler who asked Jesus a very important question: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).
The man considered himself a moral person because he had kept God’s commandments; however, he was operating under the false assumption that good works bring salvation. He seemed to be asking Jesus what else he had to do to secure his place in heaven—besides all the good things he’d already accomplished.
This is what some people refer to as the “great deception”—the false belief that eternal life can be earned. If we give credence to this lie, then we don’t understand the problem of our sin and how it separates us from God. Scripture says we have inherited a sinful nature from the first man (Romans 5:12). There is nothing we can do to pay for our sin.
If this were the end of the story, we would be a people without hope for today or the future. But the good news is that our heavenly Father mercifully provided the way to heaven (John 14:6). There’s nothing we can do to earn or deserve His grace; we simply must ask.