You cannot earn salvation from God. Why? Because He has already purchased it through the death of Jesus Christ, God the Son. God offers salvation freely to those who come and and receive it. But you cannot have it if you will not come.
Why does God not offer salvation for some sort of special offering or force us to earn it in some way. It is because God will not share his Glory with anyone. To earn or work is to be owed a debt or a wage. God has already fully paid the price.
But still there is a requirement. There are teachers who today say that all that is required is to believe in the gospel and that there is no cost to you. This is false teaching. It is true that you must believe and it is true that you cannot work for salvation thus you cannot earn it.
But there is a requirement and we might as well call it a cost but the cost is not to purchase or earn anything. The cost is to have a change in your thinking, a change of mind, a change in what you desire, a change in what you thirst for.
Let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires to take the water of life without price.
Notice that you must thirst for the water of life and you must come and desire it. All these are requirements. But notice that there is no price you could pay for this. It is free because the price has already been paid. The crucial element is desire for God and a coming to him. Then finally drinking the water of life in.
What is required is anything that gives God glory and what is not required is anything that gives you glory. That is why it is by grace through faith we are saved because this way God is glorified.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
The Bible in some verses say that you must repent and believe to be saved. But isn’t the repentance part a work?
Therefore repent and turn that your sins may be blotted out.
Repenting is not the same as works. It is a misunderstood word that most people think means to feel sorry for your sins. But the word means to have a change of heart or a change in the way you think about the world. It means to agree with the way God sees things. Is this not part of desiring God? Yes, it is one of the requirements that gives God glory. To not repent and think God’s thoughts after him, would make you a rebel in the kingdom.
There are a lot of requirements actually, becoming like a little child, taking up your cross and following him, obeying him, being born again. All of these things are in essence the same thing. They are the essence of faith in Jesus and trust in Him as Lord and Savior. They are all expressions of that desire for him to be satisfied in him for all that you need.
My notes from listening to a sermon entitled “Joy Recovered” by John Piper