In John chapter 6, Jesus fed over 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. This was the first nugget of grace I found myself I think.
Jesus told the people to sit down and it makes the point that only the people sitting were to be fed. I've heard this as "Jesus gave the bread to the obedient", but I see at as Jesus giving to the people who are sitting and simply receiving from Him.
The apostles, the minds of men, wanted to send the people away if they couldn't feed themselves. Jesus told them "You GIVE them something to eat". Jesus wasn't interested in having the people work for their food, but He wanted to give it to them freely. In fact, these guys wouldn't have eaten at all if they didn't first sit down, and take a load off to receive the food.
It is an insult to the Spirit of grace to add any works or any "we have to do our part" to the gospel of grace. You received it freely, so give it freely. If you didn't receive it freely, you didn't receive it. Why do we say we accepted grace by faith apart from works, yet our religious activity denies it. He only gives to those who sit down and accept it. The work of the Holy Spirit is not someone struggling to keep the commandments ourselves. The Pharisees could have done that. If Jesus was about keeping commandments and re-dedicating oneself, I don't think the Pharisees would have been bothered much by Him. That kind of lifestyle sounds right up their alley. The offense of the cross is grace apart from works. It is scary to the religious mind because it is too much freedom. We can't have that much freedom! We need balance with the law! - Remember Jesus' words? "A little leaven leavens the whole lump".
Reminds me a lot of Gandalf's words if you have ever seen Lord of the Rings. The scene where Frodo yells at Gandalf to take the ring. Gandalf rebukes Frodo and tells him, "Understand, Frodo. I would use this ring from a desire to do good...But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine".
Using any kind of law as a means of behavior modification will not work, or will seem work only for a time and then comes re-dedication. This is what you call cleaning the outside of the cup. Only the Spirit can regenerate a mans heart and make the inside clean that the outside may be clean also. As Jesus said, we think in the Bible we have the words of eternal life, but they are the words which speak of Jesus, but if we aren't willing to come to Him to have that life, then we have no life at all. It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh profits nothing. The Spirit cannot work if we are not willing to deny ourselves and give up trying to save ourselves. Rest in Jesus' finished work.
I get so angry at distrust in the gospel of grace, to think it would lead to lawlessness. Repentance isn't turning away from sin or else people would be sinless. Repentance, as the church loves to say today, involves actually turning away from sin. But no one ever successfully repents from every single sin, so obviously, repentance is more than "turning away from sin". It is an issue dealing with the heart. It is a heart that has opened to God. It is a realization that God isn't who I thought He was. He is a God of grace and truth, not religious activity. Either make the tree good and it's fruit good, or make the tree bad and it's fruit bad. You can't be good when you are evil. We are God's workmanship, not our own. We need do nothing but trust. Only when we do this will true life come out of us.
Sins aren't what sends us to hell anymore. The sins of the world are forgiven.
Jesus said the sin which condemns people now is unbelief in Him. "Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me."
"Do not be deceived, neither fornicators nor idolaters...." Sinners do not inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some us. But we were washed. We were sanctified. We were justified in the name of Jesus Christ. So apparently, sin is no longer what separates us from God. We ought to quit condemning non-believers, because they are not condemned anymore. Jesus said Himself He will not accuse anyone to the Father. He did not come to condemn the world. Rather, people who do not trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ condemn themselves. There is no more hostility. "Everything is now ready."