“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
One sharp winter’s day a poor woman stood at the window of a king’s greenhouse, looking at cluster of grapes, which she longed to have for her sick child. She went home to her spinning wheel, earned half a crown, and offered it to the gardener for the grapes. He waved his hand and ordered her away. She returned to her cottage, snatched the blanket from her bed, pawned it, and once more asked the gardener to sell her the grapes, offering him five shillings. He spoke furiously to her, and was leading her out when the princess came in, heard the gardener’s anger, saw the woman’s tears, and asked what was wrong. When the story was told she said, “My dear woman, you have made a mistake. My father is not a merchant, but a king; his business is not to sell, but to give.” Upon saying this, she plucked the cluster from the vine and dropped it into the woman’s apron.
God is not a bartering merchant, but a gift giving King. Eternal life cannot be earned by good works, or deeds of holiness, or acts of religion. God does not accept proud attempts to buy salvation. Only the empty hand of faith can receive the salvation which was purchased by Christ who finished all the work on the cross.
“But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (Romans 4:5).