It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. – Romans 9:16 NIV
Salvation is not a matter of birthright; that my parents were saved does not get me a free pass into heaven. It does not come about because of great effort on my part; there is nothing I can do to earn salvation. And it is not the result of a dream fulfilled; no matter how much I might plead and beg, God is not obligated to me.
This reminds me of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14 who went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee told God how great he was, while the tax collector pleaded for God’s mercy. The Pharisee was depending on human effort for his relationship with God while the despised tax collector knew he deserved nothing and depended on God. The Pharisee received nothing from God. The tax collector was justified.
His mercy is toward all people (Rom. 11:32) and all who call on him will be saved (Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13). I am so thankful that the Lord was merciful to me, a sinner. That he did for me what I could not do for myself.