The term growing in grace is most often used to indicate growth in Christian character. While I think that usage has merit, a more accurate meaning is to continually grow in our understanding of God’s grace, especially as it applies to us personally, to become progressively more aware of our own continued spiritual bankruptcy and the unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favour of God. May we all grow in grace in this sense.
As we grow in grace this way, we will grow in our motivation to obey God out of a sense of gratitude and reverence to Him. Our obedience will always be imperfect in performance in this life. We will never perfectly obey Him until we are made perfect by Him. In the same way, our motives will never be consistently pure; there will frequently be some “merit points” mentality mixed in with our genuine love and reverence for God.
So don’t be discouraged if you realise your motives have been largely merit-orientated. Just begin now to move toward grace motives. Begin to think daily about the implications of the grace of God in your life. Memorise and meditate frequently on such Scripture passages as Romans 12:1 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. Pray about the aspects of trusty in those passages and ask God to motivate you by His mercy and love. When you recognise merit-oriented motives at work in you, renounce them and cast yourself completely on the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ. As you grow in grace in this way, you will indeed discover that His love compels you to live, not for yourself, but for Him who died for you and was raised again.
– Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace p.102