I ran across this great article on Grace, It's from theooze.com
GROWING IN GRACE
by Nathan Colquhoun
Wednesday December 8, 2004
If there is one thing in the Christian life which has held me back from fully accomplishing the so called victorious life that I am supposed to be living it would have to be holiness. I could never fully meet up to the standards that were set before me by the church. I never tithed, I read my bible maybe twice a week, I tried to pray as often as I could, I wore track pants when I should have wore dress pants, I had no problem in wearing my hat inside the church, I questioned everything at the pulpit and always checked up everything that they were saying when I guess I should have just accepted everything they said, I refused to do every tradition that the church tried to mold me to... so I was labeled a rebel. As I journeyed on in my walk, I came more and more to the realization that I would NEVER meet the church’s standards; I would never be the Christian that they called me to be.
I grew up in a Christian household but I never had that many rules. For the most part, my parents left it up to me and trusted that their influence as parents would lead me into making the right decision. I learned about grace over rules long before I understood what God meant by his gift of grace. In life, I was taught to live by grace, so when the church tried to get me to live by rules, I didn’t transition smoothly. A lot of pastors preach until they're blue in the face that we need to live by grace, yet at the same time they try to persuade and convince you to follow hundreds of man-made rules and traditions.
God says we live under grace, and we no longer live by the law (Romans 6:14). A glimpse of that pushes some to believe they can do whatever they want; it won’t matter because the more you mess up, the more grace abounds (Romans 5:20). Believing your sin promotes grace is not a sign of a life lived by grace. Grace is not an excuse, it’s a persuasion.
Since I learned to live by grace with my parents, I easily caught on to live by grace with God. When I grew up things changed. When I understood the grace of my parents and the people around me, my attitude changed. When I was old enough to make decisions that would affect my life, I was moved by grace. I made my decisions not because I was forced to, but because I wanted to. Grace is amazing (hence our most famous hymn). We neither deserve grace, nor should we even expect it. When we learn and begin to grow in an understanding of the kind of sacrifice made so we can live under this grace, it does not come as a surprise that you no longer live under laws and rules but by grace. When you live by grace, you live beyond rules. This is why Paul says to grow in grace. He knows that the more you grow in and understand grace the higher quality of life you will live.
When you live under the law of the Old Testament or even under any law in the New Testament you will break it, I promise. Living by the law says “do not commit adultery.” When you live by grace, grace would suggest that “if you even look at a woman with lust you have already committed adultery in your heart.” The law says “do not murder.” Grace would suggest that “if you hate your brother you have already committed murder.” Grace isn’t harder to live by, it comes like average everyday living to you. When you live by rules, you want to break them, and you will never stop breaking rules. If you live by grace, you desire to live so far beyond the rules that even the 10 commandments seem like the lowliest of living to you, and even if you slip, you still haven’t broken the rules that other people have set for you.
If my parents would have put hundreds of rules and standards up for me to live by, I would have fallen short everyday. Since they allowed me to live by grace, I make them proud because I live beyond any rules they could have set for me. When you live by grace with God, it's not a matter of making yourself obey his commands. It's simply living them, because it comes as natural as breathing