Remember those wonderful moments when you take out a jacket you have not worn for a while and you find a $20 bill? It makes for a nice surprise because it is a free gift. We did not expect it, but we have it nonetheless. From an accounting perspective, we did not earn the $20 a second time when we found it. It was a gift. While it is not exactly the same, Saint Paul writes about the gift of salvation in a similar way. Let’s be clear. We do not earn our salvation. It is a free gift, given to us by God, even though we do not deserve it.
Does that mean it does not matter what we do? Of course not. Our actions remain important. But our actions never get us to the point where we deserve to be saved. Rather, our actions serve as proof that we are striving to witness to what God, in his mercy, has done for us.