"So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs,
but on God who has mercy."
If it were left up to each of us, we would never come to the Lord. We come only because He draws us. He places the desire for Him in our hearts. This completely negates the idea that we can earn our way to God. It is only because of His endless mercy that we are saved. "Everything of human salvation begins in God. His will is to have mercy. His work enables Him to do so. It is only as that will is made known to man, that he wills to receive the mercy. It is only as that work operates within man, that he is able to work out his salvation. Our wills must be exercised, our running must be positive; but we enter into salvation, and shall at last reach the crowning at the goal, only because of the everlasting mercy of God. There is neither merit nor cause for glorying in our choice or our effort. If God had not willed our saving, neither should we. If God did not work within us, we should work nothing out. Even if, of our service, we can ever say we laboured abundantly, we shall have to add: Yet not we, but the grace of God which was with us." (Morgan, G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)