Given that the power of transformation in the new testament age is the incarnation, you might think every-one would be on to it. Sadly not so. So wedded are we to self-effort and so deeply seeded are the principles of the tree of death embedded into us that much Christianity as Gregory Boyd observes, is a modified version of the knowledge of good and evil.
The wonder of God’s grace is that it is Jesus in person in us, meaning that He is our Forgiver and Transformer in the One Person. Grace is alive and active in the person of Jesus and present in the trinity in you.
“Jesus Christ is God’s grace, present among us. That means that in Jesus Christ, God actively loves us, binds us to himself, reveals himself to us, and that means therefore that you cannot detach that act of God (because God’s being and God’s act are one) from what God is doing in that particular history. If you were to do that, you would then think of God’s grace, perhaps, as a detachable quality that adheres in human nature.” (1)
‘Grace is God’ is the plan of God revealed in Jesus Christ who is Grace. Grace is Christ for you, in you and as you.
In Christ you do not become someone else. In the Spirit of Sonship you become you, according to your original design and in the power of the risen Jesus living in you and imparting Himself to your being. So grace is not an avenue of your private works. Grace is God in you revealing you as a daughter or son.
I once heard a sincere man single out a fruit of the Spirit and go on to say that when we try to do that fruit as in self-improvement, the Holy Spirit comes alongside to empower us to do it. Unfortunately this is a law-constructed version of the fruits of the Spirit and is not really a fruit. A law framework will always undo Christ. So what is the truth?
‘It’s enormously important not to separate the gifts that we receive in Christ, living as part of the new creation — faith, love, love of God, love of neighbour. It’s enormously important that we do not detach those from the giver, because if we do, then we no longer need Christ. And to the extent that we don’t need Christ, we become self-reliant once again. And we can become self-reliant under the guise of speaking about grace.’ (2)
The fruits of the Spirit appear in you because Christ is in you and expressed Himself as you. These fruits are not a new testament version of the law. They are Christ your life.
Some modes of religion have become so distorted that they have been reduced to ‘earning Christ’ which means that the Enemy has been successful in his ploy to suck the reality out of the incarnation – Christ in you. This is why in John, we find law come in the flesh described as a work of anti-christ.
(1) International, Grace. Trinitarian Conversations, Volume 2: Interviews With More Theologians (You're Included) . Grace Communion International. Kindle Edition.