"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." Ephesians 2:8-9
How amazingly clear it is written in the above quoted scripture that salvation is all a work of grace; a gift given by God along with faith - a faith that is not something we can work up within ourselves, - but rather a gift given to us by God himself.
Further, a person's seemingly good deeds or so-called sinner's prayers will profit nothing. It plainly says, "Not of works, lest any man should boast."
I don't see how the scriptures can be much clearer on the matter.
Yet another passage states
Ephesians 2: 1
"And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;"
Quickened meaning "bring to life."
This second part of this verse states that before the Lord gave us life - we were dead in trespasses and sins.
I understand this to mean dead to the ability to even seek God.
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
So here it is. Once again showing that there is nothing a person can do to merit salvation. Before the Lord saves a person, they walk just like the rest of the world walks. Lives just like the world. No difference in one from another. No need to think yourself better than any other person! Sin is sin and God cannot look up on it. But moving on a bit further it says,
"...according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:..."]
The prince of the power of the air is another name for Satan; the devil. So, it's one way or the other. I see no in between ground here. Either God is working in an individual or the spirit of rebellion against God, sinfulness against God, hatred of God, - all the things that Satan represents are working within a person.
Now that's a very sobering thought.
Further, this is written to those that already believe, leaving no room for us to think more highly of ourselves than others to whom perhaps the Lord has not revealed Himself as yet, or those to whom He might never be revealed.
You see, ONLY GOD gets the praise in the act of salvation.
If you belong to the Lord, then it's not because of anything you did. You were dead to things of God. You did nothing to earn it.
So then, as it is written in the book of Jonah 2:9
".... Salvation is of the Lord."