The ultimate trap... Many denominations hold to and teach that salvation not of works and that it is a free gift. Certainly they do "teach" that salvation is purely by God's grace, but here is where they go astray...
They teach that it's free BUT... you have to
be contrite and broken before the Lord. You have to have this humble,
repentant spirit in order to come to God and "obtain" this salvation.
Then what you do is confess your sin and total depravity, and in this
state of sorrow, brokeness and emptiness, that God will then accept you.
Let's delve a little further into this trap...
First, pretend you have this box that holds all your sin, pride,
selfishness etc. Next you empty your box of all your sin, pride and selfishness,
then bring that empty box to God and offer it to Him in return for His
salvation. God will then look at your empty box with approval, and
hence, look on you with favour and give you eternal life based not on
Christ's sacrifice, but on your empty box. This is a complete "Christ-less" salvation.
That empty box that we offer God holds absolutely
no value to Him. God sees no value in our good works, or our empty box
(as it pertains to getting right with Him). What God values is found in
Jesus Christ. All His favour is wrapped up in His Son. Jesus Christ is
the only Man that ever truly pleased God. He is the only overcoming Man.
To get into God's favour we have to get into Jesus Christ. Only by His
merit do we find favour with God.
All the sorrow,
brokenness and emptiness won't bring peace with God. God saves people
who believe the gospel and are trusting in it... Not trusting in their
humility and sorrow. If you are caught in this trap, know this... Nothing you can do can satisfy the justice that must come from the Moral Ruler
of the universe as a result of your sin. Only what Jesus did on the cross when He shed His blood
to satisfy God, can pay the price necessary for our sin.
It we are trusting in that, then we are saved. We are forgiven. We are cleansed. Not progressively but "Once for all" time.