St. Paul clearly affirms that it is by the grace of God that we are saved, through faith, and our faith itself is a gift of God. So then: does this mean we are mere automatons lacking the free will to choose the path of Salvation? Are the Calvinists right after all when they proclaim that God willy nilly predestines souls to heaven or hell?
God forbid! By grace we are saved, through faith, but...as the Holy Apostle says elsewhere, "Faith without works is dead." For we are all called to become co-workers with God. Truly God's grace is sufficient for our salvation, but the grace of God simply cannot penetrate a stony heart that is darkened by the passions.
God's grace is only given to those who strive and struggle for salvation, praying for the gift of humility and a spirit of ongoing repentance. If salvation were so simple and easy that all it requires is saying "I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior," it wouldn't be worth much, would it?
The truth is, we are infinitely precious in the sight of God, created in His image and destined to become gods by grace. So let us not receive the gift of God in vain, nor take for granted the salvation He has wrought for us upon the Cross. Rather, let us deny ourselves, take up the Cross of Christ and follow Him, emulating the holy martyrs who have suffered and died for His sake.
Let us stand aright, let us attend, that through our martyric struggles, strengthened by the grace of God, we may in the end finally attain unto the fullness of glory in Christ Jesus our Lord.