Moralism beats this drum: If I imporve, then I’ll be accepted–by God, by others, even by myself. But the gospel says something radically different. The gospel announces that everyone “in Christ” is already accepted by God because of Jesus’ work for them. Therefore, no improvement, good behavior, or performance is necessary in order to experience the deep acceptance we long for and in fact strive for on a daily basis. This may seem like an impractical distinction, but it makes all the diffeernce in the world.
Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus Plus Nothing = Everything, p62