While I don't advocate the Gospel of "easy believism" but make no mistake, salvation is all about God's mercy for the undeserved sinner but no heart that's hardened against it will ever want to receive it. The picture above is a picture of the lost sinner who is about to drop to Hell, the hand may demonstrate the free gift of salvation but pride is preventing the person from accepting it.
Due to the truth that salvation may be a free gift but it may cost you a lot after you receive it. When a person gets saved, there is the possibility of being disowned and living a life of persecution. Pride is all about self. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:18 saying, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." The idea of salvation that is by grace through faith can cost anybody who accepts it because of of the pride of life. The pride of life is focused on the three persons of "me, myself and I".
A typical answer of salvation by faith alone and that good works are the fruit of salvation, that no goodness of man is ever good enough for Heaven is repulsive to the natural mind. The worldly gospel says, "Salvation is by your effort to do good. If I am not good enough for Heaven then God is not holy." or "God saved me initially by faith but I must do good to stay saved." is contrary to what the Bible says. Ephesians 2:8-10 is clear with these steps that you are saved by grace through faith so no man could boast and good works follows. If a person had to do good works either to get saved or to stay saved instead of being saved, the person's actions and beliefs seek to rob God of the glory. Such prideful people want the glory for themselves and to say, "Look God, you have to let me into your Kingdom because I did my best."
It's funny how some groups who teach works salvation criticize the Pharisees without knowing the context. The Pharisees were not scolded for mere hypocrisy which we all suffer like when we fail to take away the beam from our eye. Rather, the Pharisees thought themselves that because they did their best to keep the Law, they were good enough for Heaven. Jesus shattered their delusion of self-righteousness that they were good enough for Heaven. Romans 10:3 has Paul mentioning that the Jews were still trying to establish their own righteousness while such people are ignorant of the righteousness of God. When I think of why so many Jews refuse to get saved, I blame their pride of life. Though I can go ahead and open up the history books that shows the Vatican's several anti-Semitic activities such as the Inquisition, the Crusades and the Nazis but the Jews who refuse Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are just as lost as the heathen who hates them.
Many conflicts refuse to end because of the sin of pride. Looking at some conflicts, they continue because somebody was so full of pride. Sinful man is no different especially when their enmity with God will not end because of pride. Many people say they are okay but their life is far from okay by their actions. Either they are proud of their sinful lifestyles (while claiming to be morally good people) or they are proud of their external display of righteousness that covers their inner total depravity. Do you remember the rich young ruler? He was also consumed in his pride when he said, "All these I kept since my youth." When told of what he was lacking to sell everything, give to the poor and follow Jesus - he showed his pride because all his riches was his pride and accomplishment. This really showed that nobody can ever brag, "I kept the whole Law." because we are all sinners.
Atheists also have the problem of pride. They think the whole idea of man being not basically good and in need of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is an attack on their pride. They think believing in a God deteriorates their belief in the natural goodness of man. When I look at how a lot of popular atheists talk in media - it can be shown that they are so full of themselves. They would say something like, "Believe in God, that's a fairy tale for adults." or "I am too great to believe in a God who is willing to save me from my sins. Only stupid losers believe that." What is so offensive to them is the idea that man is foolish and must be made wise, man is unrighteous and must be made righteous.
Christians do good works with a pure and humble motive that is why it is truly a good work not out of a need but because they are grateful. Romans 3:31 says, "Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." The Law is never made void by faith but established by faith. True faith will result to good works (James 2:14-25) as the challenge goes that you cannot show your faith without good works. Although a Christian is not 100% sinless but he or she grows in grace in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Grace is something that you do not earn, you do not deserve but God gave it anyway and that grace makes the person so grateful that they don't want to sin anymore and the struggling against sin is proof that a person is truly saved.