“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
For by unmerited favor, by something that you in no way, shape or form deserve in any way are you saved by a faith that was not in you, that you could in no way produce within yourself no matter how much effort you attempted to exert, nothing you could do would ever produce this faith.
It is a gift given, not earned, no work ever attempted by you, not the most heartfelt emotionally-based work, not a thousand deeds could grant you salvation.
I believe that most who have been born again understand these truths, but I also believe that many, if not most still think they must at least attempt to perform something, whether it is of the heart or in an action of deeds done to try to get the Lord God to understand they are serious about salvation. Baptism is the first one that comes to mind, and there have been untold millions over the centuries that all the truths of the Scriptures could not convince otherwise.
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) Repentance would come next, or in some cases first, they believe that they first must repent of their sins and then the free gift of salvation is given, and like those who profess baptism as a necessary requirement, these cannot see the truth either. True repentance is the acknowledgement that we are sinners in the eyes of God, and that knowledge, that revelation can only come from the Almighty. At that moment the gift of salvation arrives to that person, along with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. There is no order, repent, salvation, Holy Spirit, they happen at the exact same moment.
It is not the acceptance of salvation; it is the acknowledgement of it.
This is possibly the most difficult thing for most to accept and believe, that it is God who chooses, that anything outside of that would be a work and that the work, all of it, was completed at the cross.
How many people do you believe acknowledge the truth of that day, that the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for every sin ever done, that He is the only way to the Father, but are not saved? “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)
Need more? “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matt. 7:22)
Judas Iscariot will say these words right before he is cast into the Lake of Fire, for he did indeed prophesy in the name of the Lord.
By grace, unmerited favor, through faith, faith given to you that you did not possess, that was not of yourself, a gift given, not a reward for a work. This way is the only way my friends, this way not one person can boast.
If you are in a church that does not preach these truths, get out. If you think any differently about salvation than what the Word of God says, stop thinking that way and get your thoughts in line with the truths of the Scriptures. Jesus paid it all, all to Him you owe.
This is how everyone that is in heaven or is ever going to go to heaven got there, by grace through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for your sins. All the praise goes to God, any other ways seeks at least a modicum of praise for ourselves.