Grace does not mean that God smilingly approves of everything we do as believers. We stress grace out of proportion when we teach that everything a believer does is “OK with God.” This is not the case.
We are told several times to do things in order to be accepted or approved by God:
**Kids should take care of elderly widowed mothers—1 Timothy 5:4
**We are to pray for all men, especially rulers and lead a quiet life—1 Timothy 2:1-3
**We are to stop walking in darkness and rather walk in the light—Ephesians 5:8-11
**Using liberty to edify others and not cause them to stumble—Romans 14:18
**Present your bodies as a living sacrifice—Romans 12:1,2
**We are to study the Bible–2 Timothy 2:15
Doing the things that we are told to do is acceptable to God; doing things we aren’t supposed to do is not acceptable or approved by God.
Yes, we are accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6) but this is far from saying that God approves of everything we do.
All believers will have their works tested by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13,14). The resulting ash heap definitively proves that not everything we do is acceptable to God.
This fear of not being acceptable to God motivated Paul to keep ministering (1 Corinthians 9:27). Philippians 2:12-16 explains that we are to work out, make evident, all that Christ is working in us with fear and trembling.
We have convinced ourselves that the grace of God eliminates the fear of God. Not so! Paul says to keep doing things in His good pleasure so that your labor is not in vain, implying your labor could be in vain–unacceptable, pointless, worthless.
Grace does not eliminate responsibility. “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Doing what Paul says to do is the condition for having the God of peace be with you (Philippians 4:9).
Many believers have no concept of God’s peace because they are not doing anything acceptable to God. We’ve overblown this “Christianity is not doing; it’s being” garbage (Christianity is doing what you be!) resulting in a Christianity void of God’s acceptance, approval or peace.