A businessman was trying to win his banker acquaintance to Jesus. After the businessman had shared the story of Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death, and victorious resurrection, he pressed the banker to place his belief in Jesus right there on the spot. But the banker was appalled at the whole concept. He asked the businessman, “Are you telling me that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and that me getting into heaven has nothing to do with my own efforts other than believing in Him as Savior?” The businessman said, “Yes, that’s right.” To that the banker replied, “That’s crazy. I just don’t believe that getting into heaven works like that. It has to have something to do with me living the right kind of life.”
At that point the businessman could see that he wasn’t getting anywhere, and so he decided to try a different approach, one to which the banker could relate. He said to the banker, “Okay, suppose a man comes into your office today and says, ‘Mr. Banker, I need your bank to loan me some money.’ Tell me, who would have the right to set the terms of that loan – you or the man who needs the loan?” The banker replied, “I would.” “Well then,” said the businessman, “you need to see God as the great Banker and you as the one who needs the salvation. You don’t get to dictate the terms of that salvation; HE DOES.” It was then that the banker understood the error of his thinking, came under shame and conviction over the sinful manner in which he had so arrogantly rejected God’s offer of salvation through Jesus, and placed his belief in Jesus as his personal Savior.
Of course, the great thing about salvation is that it is not a “loan” that must be paid back. Neither is it a down payment after which the one who takes out the loan must keep up the monthly payments or else forfeit the down payment. No, salvation is a gift, pure and simple, and like any gift it can only be accepted or rejected. The moment it becomes “pay” or a “reward” it ceases to be a gift.
Jesus, through His death on the cross, purchased the gift for you and now offers it to you to either accept or reject. The way to accept the gift is to accept Him by placing your belief in Him as Savior; the way to reject the gift is to reject Him by refusing to place your belief in Him as Savior. Those are God’s terms of salvation, and you, like that banker, must make a choice concerning them. But, also like that banker, what you can’t do is rework the terms.