The opposite of Grace isn’t law. The opposite of Grace is self-sufficiency.
Our minds often wrestle with this idea, because we are so wired to counter our awareness of need (knowledge of evil) with our ability to cover it (knowledge of good). Even when we approach God for help, we may not recognize in our souls this thing called self-sufficiency. Sometimes self-sufficiency disguises itself as expectations. Specifically when we try to tell God how we need help, or what kind of help we need, we are still operating in self-sufficiency.
“I have had this struggle all my life,” he said. “I am going to fast and pray for three days and if God doesn’t show up and heal me I am going to give myself over to it and live the lifestyle that my sin dictates.” In this situation, this young man was in desperate need of help. He had need, but failed to receive the help he needed for several reasons. Primarily he remained stuck because in the face of his real need, he still did not need God to show him what he really needed.
As odd as it may seem unconditional love does have a pre-requisite condition. From our perspective, this may look like a condition. But in the same way that someone may direct you to a particular restaurant giving away free food, or the location of a beautiful view, you must follow the directions to get to where the free benefit is located.
The unconditional love of God has such a condition. God’s love is located in the dead center of our need. If you do not need it, you will not get it. Conversely, the more of it you need, the more of it you will get. (Romans 5:20 “Where sin abounded grace abounded all the more”)
The beauty of God’s Grace is that He meets us in our darkest places and our places of deepest need. The frustrating thing about God’s Grace is that if we think we can handle our circumstances on our own soul, He will continue to allow us to try.
He sure does love us.