David Jeremiah points out that in the 1980s, the Smith-Barney brokerage firm made a series of commercials in which distinguished actor John Houseman spoke the famous line, “We make money the old-fashioned way. We earn it!” Sometime later, based on that commercial, a Christian cartoonist showed some Pharisees arguing with Jesus about salvation. Their punch line? “We get our salvation the old-fashioned way. We earn it!”

Those commercials were a success partly because they appealed to something in fallen human nature: the desire to work and pay our own way. The Bible commends that attitude in many respects (2 Thess. 3:10), but not when it comes to salvation. The problem with earning our salvation is that we never could do enough. Committing one sin is the same as committing them all. Once a sin is committed, it’s like a spoken word—there’s no getting it back. The biggest challenge facing the early church was helping Jewish believers set aside law and tradition as a way of earning approval with God.

Don’t try to be saved the old-fashioned way. Receive salvation the way God offers it: through Christ as a gift of grace through faith.
(Turning Point Daily Devotional, 5-29-07)

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