There is a work resulting from grace
The point that is critical for us to raise is that works does not have to be a nullification of grace. We are certain and assured of the fact that God is fully responsible for the New Life we received in Christ Jesus. There is nothing of man to be contributed to it. It is all of God. Yet, you must note the tenor of the word of God.
(NOTE: As long as we are not biased and are willing to read the scriptures freely with an open mind, not reading into it through the lens of human or religious traditions, but committed to the whole counsel of God.)
We must see clearly that in as much as we have been redeemed from the law, saved from the utter futility of trying to please God solely by keeping rules and regulations, and brought by grace through faith into the obedience of Christ and made righteous by the same, the natural outward expression of grace, which is the new works we do because of whom and whose we have become, is not in anyway undermined. Let’s consider Ephesians 2:8-10
‘ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 KJV
Irresponsible grace is heresy
While it is heretic to think that we did something to be saved, it is all the more heretic to think we do not need to DO anything again since we have been saved. Our freedom from the works of the law is not a release to shun the very life of righteousness that the grace we have received produces. That freedom is the liberty from the tyranny of the law against those who are seeking to approach and please God all by themselves. It is fruitless, futile and permanently extorting and even excruciating!
Christ has become the only One who has by Himself pleased God in every point of the law without coming short of God’s glory (Romans 10:4, Hebrews 4:15). And having done that, His life has been offered to us as a New and Living way to God (Hebrews 10:20-24). When we drop all our efforts and simply accept the works of Christ, which is grace, we have seized from our own works then and have now entered into the works of God (Hebrews 4:1,9-11).
So, we are not trying to gain God’s approval independent of Christ. He is the Firstborn among many brethren (brothers) so what God has given to Him is available to us as we come to Him believing that we are now joint heirs with Christ, seated together with Him in heavenly places (Romans 8:17,29; Ephesians 2:6)
Now, having received all these privileges in Christ, all by grace not by any effort of ourselves, except that we applied our freewill to accept these great offer, you cannot then say that you are not obligated to produce the fruit (or express the life) of what He has done in you. The highlighted word in the last sentence would not have been necessary if we were not free moral human agent with the capacity to freely choose our course in life and character of life.
Grace is unto good works
Hence, we see in the scriptures that all the work of grace that was done in us is for a purpose:
1. “…UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) What grace has produced in us, that new man, is created UNTO good works. These are not efforts we make apart from Christ, rather they are deeds, actions and works that God Himself prepared beforehand as the only evidence of the new creation He was going to make through the atoning and reconciliatory work of Christ. These works can only be done by this type of man, the one who has been recreated in Christ Jesus (Amplified Bible), i.e. the one who has received the grace of God.
2. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” It should be sufficiently evident that there would be no need for this emphasis of what we do after we are saved, if it was automatic for everyone who gets saved to live in the light of that salvation. Then it would mean that the LORD was wasting His utterance here. The word, “let” is critical for us for it shows that it all depends on our will. There is no fault in what Christ has done and there can be no amendment to this entire project of redemption. And it is not as if the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ, is looking for any slight opportunity to withhold His help from us whom He regenerated (Please read the entire chapter 2 of Hebrews).
The issue is that all things are yours, including the combined help of the Trinity and His human trustees, but are you willing? (1 Corinthians 3:21-23, Philippians 3:8, Isaiah 1:19)
The heavenward part is permanently secured; the only issue is the earthward part, with us. When Jesus said to take up your cross daily to follow Him, He was offering you the way to make that earthward part always in agreement with the heavenward; allowing God’s will to “cross out” your own will, as it were, so that these mighty provision of God for you to continue in Christ is not compromised by your own unwillingness to respond to the riches of the grace of God already displayed to you (Matthew 10:38, Luke 9:23).
Why obedience to God is not automatic after salvation
God has done something in those who are saved such that if not for the resident capacity for choice within us, it would automatically express itself in newness of life. Therefore, the principle of choice in us makes it necessary for the Holy Spirit to keep instructing our hearts through scriptures of our need to live up to our new life. And let me remind you by the way of a question: what is the use of being born again when your life has not changed? It is not scriptural debates and theological knowledge that will influence our world, it is a changed life. When the light of your changing life shines, that is when men can see your good works and they will give glory to God for your life, and perhaps they may even seek to know the LORD, who has shown you such mercy. (Please read 1 Peter 2:12 and Proverbs 4:18)
Finally, in the book of Titus, the scriptures remind us that there is a need for those of us who have believed in God to “…be careful to maintain good works…” (3:8) and not be like those who “… profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (1:16). Apart from the fact that “…These things are good and profitable unto men.” (3:8), that is, it helps to show the world what Christ has done in us and removes the moral difficulties in believing the gospel, what makes it difficult for those of us who believed in Christ to be saved, to also believe in Him to live according to that new life? It is not a different kind of faith that is needed; it is the same faith you have received. Something has to be wrong for you to claim you believe in Jesus and have been saved and that belief is not carried to its logical conclusion of living as He lived (obedience & transformation). “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:6)
Images from disciples of hope, cgioutreach dot org, Augustine’s quote from pinterest, Steve’s bible meditations.