...not only are we saved by grace, but that God's love and grace is the essence of the Christian life. I've consistently shared that our "work" is to rest and believe, and that that's how God works in and through us. Restful trust. Trustful rest. Waiting, abiding, believing. It's not our job to produce fruit, but as we abide in the Vine, the life of the Vine flows through us naturally and produces God's own fruit. We are invited by God Himself to participate in His divine nature, but the work is His, not ours.
Objections arise, of course. I can't tell you the number of times over the years that I've been accused of and/or warned about preaching licentiousness, lawlessness, "cheap grace," "greasy grace," "sloppy agape," and other such idiotic things. People have told me in various sorts of ways that I'm teaching others to sin and to not be true followers/disciples of Jesus. They've told me that demons can "rest" and "believe," and that I shouldn't use those words without adding something about "responsibility" and "effort" on our part to work the works of God. They've told me I need to "balance" grace with rules, works and principles for Christian living. They've said I'm causing harm to the body of Christ...
Let me tell you something about those who have been gripped by God's love and grace, and who don't have a focus on performance, but on a loving relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All the objections listed above (and more) are not true of them! Nowhere close. Grace, to them, is not cheap. It's Power. It's Life. It's God's strength in their weakness. If God's Agape is sloppy, it's only because He lavishes it around so wastefully! God's love and grace, to them, is not a license to sin. That's not even what crosses their minds!
Why is it that people think they can help out God by works? Finney bemoaned the presence of works sanctification in the early 1800's; things haven't gotten any better since then. I am convinced that most people are afraid of the gospel; it is too powerful. We need to chain it in, otherwise it might affect our lives more than we want...What? Let God live in and through me? Too radical!
Instead we settle for imitation when God calls us to participation. Of course, then we wonder why we fall and are joyless and see christianity as a painful life with the hope of heaven at the end. Lord, deliver your church from works!