An elderly woman told me that she loves Jesus, prays regularly, reads the Bible daily, and confesses her sins every evening. But she’s afraid to die. She’s not sure God will accept her. She also said that she was so eager to earn God’s favor that she gave a large sum of money to her church without her husband’s knowledge. She knew this was wrong, but she said, “I did it for my salvation.”

This woman has failed to understand Paul’s words, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). She still believes that she must gain God’s approval by her good works.

This is a common mistake among professing Christians. The apostle Paul had to correct some believers in Galatia who had the same idea. They talked about the need to keep many of the regulations of the Old Testament law system. Paul declared that Jesus Christ, by dying on the cross, redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13).

Do you believe this? Have you received Christ as your Savior? If so, rest on His finished work on the cross for you, and rejoice and give thanks. Don’t make the common mistake of thinking that you can earn His favor.