I don't know how it is for you but, I had for many years made "grace", God's unmerited favor, more of a doctrine, than a reality. Yes, it is a wonderful doctrine to acknowledge, but I have found that God's unmerited favor is not a subject, it is A PERSON, AND HIS NAME IS JESUS. When I have Jesus, I have unmerited grace. Jesus and unmerited grace do not exist separately. His unmerited favor is fulfilled in His entire being and you can not separate Jesus from His finished work on Calvary.
When I began to see JESUS as He really was, grace (unmerited favor) began to flow like a mighty river into every dry and empty area of my physical body, marriage, career, and finances. The more I increased in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work at the cross, the more God's unmerited favor was multiplied into my life. Honestly, I have to admit, before then, I was living in unbelief. I believed for salvation. I knew that I was a sinner and that Jesus died for my sins, but I wasn't in faith for how much God truly loved me. I kept His love at arm's length.
I had stopped at the cross and continued to live my Christian life repenting of sin, but never enjoying my salvation, until I found out that I was under the LAW and not under GRACE. What a horrible place to be, always feeling judged and having to do, do, do.Then, one day my eyes were opened to what Jesus had done, done, done! I was a new creation that had never existed before. I no longer just looked at the cross but believed the gospel and came to experience my new life. I believed that I was hidden in Christ,when he died, was buried and raised again. My identification in Christ set me free from the LAW. Praise be to God! Condemnation was over and the resurrected Lord was alive in me. Satan may try to roar like a lion, but Jesus has kicked his teeth out!
I would like to tell you a story. I think you will get the point. During the Koren War, a little orphan girl had captured the heart of an American GI. AS his love grew for her, He and his wife wanted to adopt this little orphan and raise her in the United States. Now, remember, this little orphan only ever knew the sounds of guns, army tanks, airplanes and rockets exploding . Her whole life had been lived in a war zone. After the war, the GI brought her back to New York to live with them in the city. The adjustment for her took several months before she would trust her new parents and new home. It was too unbelievably beautiful and totally foreign to her old life. Every time the noise of a fire truck or police serine sounded off, she would run and hide behind the living room couch. She was so riddled with fear, that it was all most impossible for her to feel loved and accepted . Her emotional memories of Korea were still present and hindered her from believing the best of her new parents. This continued for months, before the orphan believed that her mommy and daddy really did loved her and would protect her from harm. She wasn't able to emotionally grow until she believed and accepted her parent's love. Once she did believe and receive their love, she was able to respond and grow up as a normal little girl.
I don't know about you, but for years, even after I was a believer, I felt like that little orphan girl. Every time I sinned, I felt condemned and wanted to hide. It was hard for me to believe that God really loved me, even when I sinned. I still fell short of His glory. I believed that Jesus had died for my sins, was buried and rose again, but FEAR kept me in the prison of my mind. After years of this struggle, my heart finally believed that the Lord not only loved me, but was delighted in me. He doesn't see my sins. They were all on Jesus and He had dealt with them. Praise the Lord, He ONLY sees the BLOOD of His dear Son. The more my eyes were fixed on Jesus and not my sin, I sinned less and less. I can now thank the Lord and receive by faith His UNCONDITIONALLY FORGIVENESS. Today, I understand how God is changing me. It is from faith to faith, strength to strength and from glory to glory. The more that I see my glorious Lord, the more that I am changed AND SIN LESS. He alone is worthy of all my worship.