Many people think of God’s Grace much like the grace period they have on their car payment: I have up to a week after I sin before I have to confess it before I get extra penance tacked on. The truth couldn’t be further from this.
A more accurate analogy would be that you are struggling to make your payments and you go to the bank and explain to them that you are in over your head; you can’t pay all your bills and this one too. They inform you that they knew this was the case and by coming to them in this manner they would extend their grace to you in this matter. Indefinitely. No payments to make whatsoever – all you have to do is acknowledge that they have forgiven the debt and thank them for it.
That is how one is “saved” (aka becomes a Christian).
However, (and this can be a slippery slope) how one lives out the Christian life is a completely different proposition. There are (mostly because of failure to read the fine print) options on how to do this. One may continue to make payments on their debt (sometimes they’re even found yelling at others for not making any payments, I’m truly sorry if this has happened to you) – the bank doesn’t want this money, but they put it to use as best they can while rolling their eyes and saying, “Here’s another one that doesn’t get it.” Option two, one may cease making payments and spend the money on temporal “stuff” – the bank isn’t thrilled that this is how you have chosen to treat their gift, but it was a gift and they are not in the business of take-backs. However, with the third option, one may choose to take what was being paid toward the debt (which is now forgiven) and help others pay on their debt, and when they ask why and how can you afford it, you have a story to tell – the bank is especially fond of this (they’d rather everyone hear about and accept their free gift).
It’s easy to be saved: Accept the payment Jesus made on your behalf as payment in full toward your “sin-debt” and tell Him, “Thank you.” You’re done. No more “payments” to make. (In the days before Christ, one had to make blood sacrifices as payments – being a “good person” is not paying your way for anything.) Living out the Christian life is not a means to earn anything. It has already been paid for, therefore no “earning” is involved. What makes God happiest, I believe, is coming along side someone who is struggling with life and give them a hand. They may ask, “How are you able to do this?” or “Where do you find strength to help me and deal with your own issues?” or any number of questions about the matter. This is where I will simply end with, “Insert your testimony (your story of how you came to be sin-debt free) here.”