Man is saved by the grace of God. The scriptures plainly state, "For by grace are ye saved..." (Ephesians 2:8). Grace is "the idea of kindness which bestows on one what he has not deserved" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon). Hence, man is saved by the kindness of God; man does not merit salvation through his works (Romans 3:23; 4:4).
God saves man by grace through the redemption, or forgiveness of sins, that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7). This does not mean, however, that a man does not have something to do to be saved. Just as clearly as the scriptures avow that one is saved by grace, they also teach that one must "do the will of the Father" to "enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 7:21). If salvation was dispensed wholly by grace without man having to do anything to be saved, salvation would be universal (everyone saved) or by the arbitrary selection of men by God. The scriptures teach neither universalism nor the arbitrary selection of men by God for salvation. They teach that "whosoever will" may come to Jesus and be saved (Matthew 11:28; John 3:16; Revelation 22:17), but that not all will come so that they may be saved (Matthew 7:13,14).
When a man sins, he forfeits all rights to heaven; if he is ever saved, it must be by an act of favor on the part of God, for God owes him nothing. This grace or favor that we all need- the forgiveness of sins- can be obtained only through Christ. There may be conditions to receiving forgiveness in Christ. However, whether there be one condition for salvation or a dozen conditions required for salvation, no amount of works that a condemned sinner can perform will ever bring salvation to him as a debt. Salvation is always by grace!