We could not be more wrong.
In Matthew 5, while in the midst of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ exposed that lie by showing how Grace digs much deeper than the Law.
- Under the law, I would be a murderer if I took a life. Under Grace, I am a murderer if I hate my neighbour and verbally abuse him.
- Under the law, I was an adulterer if have sexual relations outside of marriage. Under Grace, I am an adulterer if I covet and desire to do so.
Under the law, my actions determined how good I was. Under Grace, my motives, my intent and my heart are what defines me. Grace penetrates the deepest recesses of my soul and my secret thoughts. Grace is about who I am inside, not what I do on the outside.
The Forerunner Commentary aptly wrote 'Men's governments deal with the end of the act, Christ deals with the beginning. Jesus changed the law's restraint from the act to the motive. For the Christian, merely abstaining from the act is not sufficient. Jesus imposes the positive obligation of the spirit of the law on him. He seeks to prevent crimes of violence by rooting out the attitudes and drives in a person's character that make him kill. The New Covenant law searches the heart without doing away with the Old Covenant letter.'
The bar is much higher with Grace. But the good news is that Grace empowers us to clear that bar. And the pleasure is fuller and the glory of it... eternal.