"There are two religions in the world, grace and works. But only grace works!"
My friend's quote speaks of God's undeserved and unexpected favor - grace - bearing the pragmatic effect of adequately justifying the sinner, while authentically motivating and empowering the saint.
The latter point raises the question: how does God's grace in the Lord Jesus Christ lead to genuine godliness in the lives of born again believers? The answer lies in the heart, God's heart. The Lord created the human race in His image, and thus with the capacity to receive and express love. "God is love" declared the Apostle John, and our primary calling in life, expressed in the two great commands, involves loving God and loving people (I John 4:8; Mark 12:30-31). Moreover, love begets love. "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). The more we discover this elemental quality of our Lord's character, nature, and way, the more motivated and empowered we are to respond in kind. "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18). Grace unveils such transforming glory, the glory of God's loving heart, as expressed in the Apostle Paul's Corinthian benediction: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (II Corinthians 13:14).
The more we discover the Biblical teaching of grace, the more we discover the wondrous love of the God who so freely redeems those who trust the Lord Jesus. This fosters real love in us, and thus a pure motivation and powerful enabling whereby we "do the will of the God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:6). Love alone serves as the acceptable reason for doing that which we do (I Corinthians 13). Grace alone leads to the unselfish devotion in our hearts that originates in our Lord's heart. Grace works. It first redeems us from the penalties of sin, and then redeems us to the purity of love whereby we genuinely relate to God and people in the only motivation pleasing to our Heavenly Father…
"Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor."
Weekly Memory Verse
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.