There are many things we work for and we deserve to be paid for it. Getting paid for what we do is in no way considered a gift.
We can’t work our way into right standing with God. We have clearly missed his goal for our lives. It is only through the gift of God’s son Jesus, the Messiah, that we can come into the presence of God. It is not something we could do for ourselves. It is only something Jesus could do for us.
Our job is to have faith and believe. Our job is to trust God.
If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift. Romans 4:4-5