Romans 5:18, “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.”
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I was recently asked by a precious Bible student, “If eternal salvation is a free gift, what is your response to those who say you must accept any gift?” The statement “you must accept any gift,” undoubtedly was spoken by someone who believes that eternal salvation is offered by God and received by those who will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. The answer to the question is found in an understanding of the condition of the recipient of eternal salvation before they are saved (or before they are recipients of the free gift). By reading the entire fifth chapter of Romans we learn that the recipient of eternal grace (one who is saved by grace), in their natural condition is not able nor willing to receive the free gift. Please consider:
(1) In nature our inability to do any good thing! Romans 5:6 reads, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Paul did not say we were low on strength, weak in strength or even individuals who were short of enough strength, but “WITHOUT STRENGTH”, which means we didn’t have any. Ephesians 2:1 and Colossians 2:13 teaches we were dead in sins. Have you ever offered a gift to a dead person who had no strength to lift their arms to receive and said, “if you will reach your arms up here and get it, you can have this free gift?” Of course not, but if we say that eternal salvation must be actively accepted by the recipient, we are basically saying a dead man can reach up and get it. The Bible says “no man can” do what some teach he can (John 6:44; 1 Corinthians 2:14; John 3:3).
(2) In nature we are unwilling to receive any good thing! Romans 5:10 reads, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,…” A depraved sinner is not only without ability to do good and come to God, he/she is unwilling. If the free gift was simply offered to depraved man, he/she will not receive it. Isaiah 26:10, “Let favor be shewed to the wicked, yet WILL HE NOT learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and WILL NOT behold the majesty of the LORD.” Job 21:14, “Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we DESIRE NOT the knowledge of thy ways.” John 5:40, “And ye WILL NOT come to me, that ye might have life.” The emphasis in these three examples are mine, and there to show the attitude of a depraved sinner who is dead in sins, unable and unwilling to receive the gift of themselves. The Bible declares it plainly that before one is eternally saved by God’s grace, they do not do any good thing (Psalms 14:1-3; Psalms 53:1-3; Romans 3:9-12).
Now after a careful consideration of this information it should be easily grasped that in order for one to be saved God must needs bring the salvation (free gift) to them. Not just simply offer but bring it to the recipient and directly impart it unto them (Titus 2:11). This is what is referred to as Salvation by Grace and Grace alone. God brings the free gift; God gives the free gift; and by His power the recipients have the free gift. Any other way would teach all the deceased infants, the mentally incapable, and the physically challenged in hell. How would they respond to receive? Impossible. I refuse to believe it, because the Bible teaches Grace and Grace alone is how all have eternal life. The Bible teaches us that all are saved eternally the same way, John 3:8, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or wither it goeth: so is EVERY ONE that is born of the Spirit” (emphasis mine). The blankets on the clothes line didn’t say, come on wind blow on me. The blankets on the clothes line didn’t say, it’s ok wind, I will receive you now. No, the wind just came, and the blankets showed the evidence. So it is with God’s eternal grace, He works and we see the evidence of His work by the good works of those He has saved by His Grace. Amen!