The new recruit to the Marine Corps cannot be called a “marine” until he successfully completes what is called the “Crucible.” This is a 54 hour training event that includes 45 miles of marching, plus food and sleep deprivation. It is a long grueling exercise that is designed to improve leadership, teamwork and communication. As the Marine saying declares, being a marine is “Earned, Never Given.”
Today’s verse is in direct contrast to this idea. The marine has bragging rights for his accomplishment. The believer cannot claim to have earned passage to Heaven. None of us can boast about having anything to do with it. Salvation being a free gift does not come through our own work or effort. No matter how hard one works to earn Heaven, man will always fall short of the perfect standard of God’s holiness. It is only through His unmerited favor that we can be saved from the just punishment our sins deserve. In every way, our salvation is Given, Not Earned!
What an amazing and freeing truth! Were it not for this declaration of God’s grace, I would always wonder if I were good enough. I would always be in a state of fear and worry about my eternal destination. He wants me to put my faith and trust not on what I can do, but on what He accomplished on that cross. The works He has created for me to do are not tied to salvation (verse 10). Anything I do to please Him is done out of gratitude for His amazing grace!
Lord, thank you for lifting the burden of being good enough!