Almost all the religions of the world teach that in one way or another we can atone/pay for our sins and get ourselves in the position where God can and will accept us. In other words, we can atone for our sins and or save ourselves by what we do.
First, let's look at some very pertinent questions.Where did we come from?
The life that animates us, where did it come from?
What or who keeps our hearts beating?
What or who keeps us breathing even when we are fast asleep?
The things that we have, where did and do they come from?
The talents and abilities that we have, where did they come from?
Our ability to earn money, where did it come from?
The raw resources that we use to earn money, where did and do they come from?
All the above are given to us by God. For "what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 We can't create them or give then to ourselves since we don't have them to give, unless they were first given to us.
So, when we make use of any of the resources that are given to us, including life itself, we are indebted to God for them. Since our very existence depends on our use of these resources, we become more and more indebted to God every moment life goes on. If for some reason we decide to end our life, we become indebted to God for everything we could have done with our life if we had not ended it. The instant we come into existence at conception we become indebted to God, and from that moment on, that indebtedness continues to grow. We can never get rid of our indebtedness to Him. Even if we give 100% of our lives to God and His work, we are still indebted since He is sustaining us even while we sleep. Also, Jesus came to this earth and died for us, buying us back, causing us to be doubly indebted to Him.
But God demands that the debt must be paid. So, how are we ever to pay Him back? It is totally impossible for us to do this as we have nothing that was not given us by Him with which to pay it back. There is one way only that it can be paid.
It starts here. Jesus came to Earth to live, suffer, and die in our place, thus giving Him the right to forgive us this debt. For us to be free from it we must acknowledge our need, ask and receive His payment of our debt. Only the one who is owed the debt can forgive the debt. Jesus both paid for the debt and offers forgiveness for it. But He sets down conditions for forgiving our debt.
Some wonder, isn't salvation a free gift? Yes, it is free in that there is nothing we can do to earn it. But no, we can't receive forgiveness for our debt without giving something in return. So, what do we have that we can give? Isn't everything we have already God's? Yes, but God has given us something that we can give back. He has given each one of us a free will and He refuses to take that from us. We have to give it to Him freely. What Jesus asks in return for wiping out our debt is to acknowledge our debt and surrender our will to Him. That includes surrendering our hopes, dreams, everything. In return, He totally wipes out our debt, giving us eternal life with Him in heaven and the Earth made new. But, should some refuse to surrender to Him, He will eventually remove everything that He gives them. They will be punished for their foolishness in refusing to accept Christ's payment of their debt and forgiveness for their wicked deeds that they committed with the resources He gave them.
If we end up losing everything we could have had, suffering in the fires of hell for our sinful, stupid actions, we will have no one else to blame but ourselves. God has given us everything necessary to avoid that end. It will be our fault and our fault only if we lose everything and have to suffer for our sins. He is more than willing to forgive us now, but the time is coming very soon when this offer will end forever.
2 Timothy 2:15