The primary difference between Law and Grace isn’t their motives, for both desires to please God. It’s their method; Law has to do with works of the carnal nature - from man towards God. Grace has to do with works of the new nature - through man towards God; it’s all a matter “of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter” (Rom 2:29) and until one has a new heart (born-again) everything is from the carnal, sinful, Adamic nature.
Just because the Law has ceased in its purpose it doesn’t cease to be “holy, and just, and good” (Rom 7:12). It’s the dispensation era of a system which determines its value. That was the pre-cross dispensation of judgment, which has led to the post-cross dispensation of grace. Just as Adam’s Law (Gen 3:19) was evidence of the impossibility of pleasing God of himself, Israel’s Law was evidence of the same; “For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh (old nature), God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (old nature), and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (old nature)” (Rom 8:3).
Until the believer understands that the works of a Christian are not the support for acceptance with God, he will be carrying the weight (Heb 12:1) of uncertainty and will be “as one that beateth the air” (1 Co 9:26) in much of the works. What we do as believers effects only one thing; to “glorify your Father” (Mat 5:16) and any other reason will revert the credit for glory to the believer. God is the one who “draws” (John 6:44) but He does it through believers, from whom others may “see your good works”.
If wanting to please God is the believer’s primary goal in everything, He is pleased, for He knows this; but He continues to show us that we are to have the understanding that it’s not works from us, but through us, that pleases Him; for the works through us are those of His Son in our new nature—by the Spirit; not those which are from us in Adam from our carnal nature. Only works from the “new man” are from Christ and all else is Adamic, which the Father does not desire; “So then, they that are in the flesh (old nature) cannot please God” (Rom 8:8).
It’s not to be that Christ shows us the way to please the Father from what we are, but from what He is in us, because “as He is, so are we” (1 John 4:17). When the Father sees one of His own, He doesn’t just see His Son, but He sees the believer also, in “the new man” which is created “after the image” of His Son (Col 3:10). Jesus doesn’t replace us, He recreates us. -NC