Paul F. M. Zahl writes the following wonderful explanation of grace:
What is grace? Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of loveable….
Let’s go a little further. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called ‘gifts’ (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold….Grace is one-way love. Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life, 36.
God’s grace can never be earned, which means God’s love can never be earned. You don’t have to do something for God to get him to do something for you. Love and grace have already come at you from God before you ever sought after him. God’s grace in the person of Jesus means God has already done something for the world.
God so loved the world that he gave his Son. God already gave. God’s one-way love has come. His name is Jesus.
Now, you, receive him.