Admittedly, strong advocates of the new grace emphasis may not feel that it is their responsibility to deal with the behavior issues that concern advocates of the codes. Preachers of grace typically see the old evangelical codes as destructive forms of legalism that need to be dismantled. Many of us have been personally wounded by legalistic attitudes in the church and resonate with the need to fight their spiritually corrosive influences. Still, it is not enough for the advocates of grace simply to react against legalism. We must also respond to the license that always tempts Christians when preachers say, “God will love you no matter what.” Legalism makes believers think that God accepts them on the basis of what they do. Licentiousness makes believers think that God does not care what they do. Both errors have terrible spiritual consequences. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Grace should not make obedience optional. When God removes good works as a condition for his acceptance, he does not remove righteousness as a requirement for life. The standards of Scripture glorify God and protect his people from spiritual harm. We cannot undermine the legitimate standards of the Bible without grave consequences. God does not love us because we obey him, but we cannot know the blessings of his love without obedience. Thus, a grace focus that undermines Christ’s own demand for obedience denies us knowledge of and intimacy with him. This is not grace. Grace that bears fruit is biblical. Grace that goes to seed uses God’s unconditional love as an excuse for selfish indulgence. Such egocentric living ultimately burdens us with the guilt and consequences of sin that God has designed his grace to remove. Resting on God’s grace does not relieve us of our holy obligations; rather it should enable us to fulfill them (see Eph. 4:7-13). As the assurance of God’s love allows us to cease striving to please him for our own benefit, our good works will begin reflecting more of the selfless righteousness that is truly holy.*
*Chapell, Bryan (2003-02-10). Holiness by Grace (Kindle Locations 220-237). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.