For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
Jesus told a parable that illustrates what Paul teaches in Ephesians. A Pharisee goes to the temple, boastful with his chest puffed out because he was a good man. Next a tax collector comes, beating his chest and broken down, crying for mercy because he realizes that he’s a sinner.
No matter how good or bad we think we are, in God’s eyes we’re all in the same boat. We’re sinners in need of a Savior. For those who have been saved for some time, it is easy to forget what it was like before we were saved. For those who grew up in the church, we may have never even experienced life without Christ.
We must be careful not to expect people to come to God on our terms. Sometimes we expect people who visit the church to act like we do or speak like we do even though they have no reason to because they are not Christians.
God wants us to come to Him and then clean up our act, not the other way around. If we are fortunate enough that we never experienced life without Christ, we should still recognize that we could be just the same as the visitor to church. And if we were a church outsider at some time, we need to remember back to what it felt like and reach out to people in a similar situation.
We didn’t earn our salvation and we shouldn’t expect anyone else to do anything before they are accepted by God either. Salvation is a gift, nothing else. Praise God!