An argument I hear from my from many of my Christian Brethren is that you have to accept Jesus to achieve salvation. I take issue with that because it puts salvation on something we do instead of something that Christ does. The reasoning I often hear used is that salvation is a gift and you still have to accept the gift to receive it. To that I say, “Then it is not a gift.”
If one has to accept it, then it’s not a gift; it’s a transaction. Here’s the crazy thing about gifts. You don’t get to accept them. They are given to you whether you want them or not. It’s yours and you have it. You had no choice in the matter. Now, if you want to take that gift, set it on fire, and kick it at the giver’s dog after the fact, that’s your prerogative, but as far as accepting it, you didn’t even have the option. Let’s use an example.
Say your home was a dump because you’re lazy and roaches do your bidding. Now let’s say I come over one day and clean your house so that it looks better than the day you bought it because I’m an awesome friend and I wanted to do something nice for you. I then turn to you and say, “This clean house is my gift to you because you are my friend.” I cleaned your house as a gift and you couldn’t accept it. I just did it and now your home is clean. Whether you choose to thank me because I cleaned your house or curse me because your roach minions are no more is completely irrelevant.
Salvation works in much the same way. You don’t get to accept Jesus’s forgiveness and grace because it is a gift. He just gives it to you. Now, should you fall away after the fact, well that’s your prerogative, but when you were given faith, you had no part in that.