Salvation by faith is hard for us to fully accept. It’s rather ridiculous, really. Surely God would want more than that. There has got to be a list of rules or a quota of good deeds to fill or something quantifiable to distinguish the good people from the bad, the saved from the lost.
But, that’s not the way it works, and that is hard to accept. It’s hard to accept for ourselves. I would really like to have about ten things, ten clear, unmistakable things to do to be saved. Give me a list to complete. I’ll feel good about checking off the requirements, and I’ll know when I am done. But, salvation by faith doesn’t work that way.
It’s also very difficult to accept salvation by faith in others. I would rather believe that I am good because I don’t commit sin X, and everyone else is evil because they do. It is much easier for me to judge someone’s actions rather than something so mysterious and subjective as their heart. How am I supposed to know if they are truly struggling with overcoming sin, or if they just don’t care? And, if I don’t really know for sure, how am I supposed to judge them?
But, salvation is by faith, and not by fulfilling a quota. Salvation is by faith, and not by comparison to other people. God does not grade on a curve. In fact, if the story of the Prodigal Son teaches us anything it is that the one who fails the test can still end up saved, and the one who got all the answers right can still be lost–because salvation is by faith.
And that is the “heart” of the gospel. Salvation does not come to the one who commits the fewest sins, but to the one who trusts God from the heart. Salvation does not come to the one who gives the most money or the most time, but to the one who has the genuine desire to serve God.