If we are called by God to holiness of life, and if holiness is beyond our natural power to achieve (which it certainly is) then it follows that God himself must give us the light, the strength, and the courage to fulfil the task he requires of us. He will certainly give us the grace we need.
Thomas Merton, Life and Holiness, Bantam Doubleday Dell, p.16
I think sometimes we miss God’s gift of holiness, his grace for healing and growth in Christ, simply because we feel we have to strive for holiness in our own strength, by heroic observances and feats of asceticism, when all the time God is offering us this beautiful thing as a gift of love.
God knows that it is far too easy to take pride in our spiritual achievements. He knows what we are made of, and he doesn’t wish to give us this extra burden of temptation to carry.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.