No one can be saved by their own efforts. We have the sneaking idea that we can earn God’s favor by praying or by believing, by obeying or by repenting. But the only way we get into his favor is by the free gift of his almighty grace.
It takes some of us a long time to understand that we don’t deserve to be saved, and that nothing we do can make us deserving. We say to God, “I really am sorry for what I’ve done. I really am sick of myself.” If only this were true! We have to become sick to death of ourselves, even to the point of despair, even to the point where we can do nothing. Then we will be in the exact right state for receiving his overflowing grace. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Think of what God’s forgiveness means: it means he forgets away all our sins. Forgetting, in the human mind, may be a defect; in the divine mind it is an attribute. God illustrates it through vibrant images drawn from his creation: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist” (Isaiah 44:22).
When we think of forgetting in human terms, we place limits on God’s grace that don’t exist. His overflowing grace never ends. When God forgets our sins, he forgets them completely: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). This is the grace of God’s forgetting.

Wisdom from Oswald

We are not fundamentally free; external circumstances are not in our hands, they are in God’s hands, the one thing in which we are free is in our personal relationship to God. We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us, or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be.  Conformed to His Image, 354 L