Jesus pays the price for the free gift — He buys it with His blood so that we are able to accept God’s gift of eternal life as our own.
“The free gift is not like the trespass. For if many die through one man’s trespass, much more does the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abound for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brings condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.” (Romans 5: 15 – 16)
The free gift is not only eternal life, but an “abundance of grace” and of righteousness. (Romans 5: 17)
So God’s grace leads to righteousness. “So you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6: 11)