The greatest theme of the Bible, and the crux of the Gospel, is summed up in the often-sung words, 'Twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. As rich and as true as this is, there are some ministers who treat the word "grace" as a curse word.
I've read articles by some who almost spew the word with contempt. I refuse to quote them or give them any credibility, but they aren't hard to find. They hold their congregations or followers in the bondage of legalistic expectations. With complete disregard for the clear teaching from scripture, "You are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:14)
I can imagine them standing with their stone tablets held high. Every time the Holy Spirit breathes out the word "grace" to a poor sinner, these modern day Pharisees bang those tablets together, screaming, "Measure up! Straighten up! Get your act together!" All in Christian love, of course. While God offers his grace freely, these self-righteous leaders use the law to stone those who most need grace.
The Apostle Paul recognized that the law brought about self-righteousness. "I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith." (Philippians 3:8, 9 NIV)
Jesus looks at those holding tight to their stone tablets and says, "You who are without sin, any of you who has kept every command and have made yourself righteous, you be the first to cast a stone." They would be wise to follow the example of the first century hypocrites who dropped their stones and walked away.