For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Eph 2:8-9
One of the harder subjects to understand in the Bible is grace. I believe part of the reason lies in the curse in Genesis – Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread. Gen 3:17-19
In the curse issued because of sin, man now has to work for his very existence. Through work comes the reward of working. The harder you work the more benefits you reap.
However, grace is not a result of reward. God makes this very plain when he says, “not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
There is nothing you can do to earn grace – it is a gift.
You cannot force someone to give you a gift or it would not be a gift.
You cannot take grace by demands or force or it would not be grace.
It is interesting that grace existed before the Law existed; Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Gen 6:8
Since grace existed before the Law then grace is greater than the Law. Grace accomplishes what the Law cannot!
The Law and the sacrifices required though it cannot make you perfect.
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. Heb 10:1
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
If righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. Gal 2:21
Even through you cannot do anything to earn your salvation, I believe that once you are saved you should live in the grace of Christ as the evidence of your salvation.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10
You are not saved because of the work you have done for Christ but you are saved to do the work of Christ.
God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Cor 9:8
I’m not sure the idea of grace will ever be fully understood. Just accept it and thank God for it. Then give it to someone else!