We are saved by grace, through faith; we are saved not by good works, but ‘unto’ good works. The distinctive heart of the biblical gospel – distinctive, that is, from other religious systems – is that salvation is not something we achieve, but something we can only receive.
And faith is the means of receiving. Even faith is seen as a gift of God in the New Testament. When Gentiles first turned to Christ, the earliest disciples saw this as a gift of God’s grace also. Peter described to the disciples back in Jerusalem how Cornelius and his family had come to faith, and they rejoiced with him in this manifest act of God.
Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible's Central Story (Global Christian Library)
Christopher J. H. Wright