Finally, grace is certainly free, but it isn't always unconditional. The grace of election is unconditional (Rom9:11). But many of God's acts and blessings are conditional. For example,
Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible
But he [God] gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but
gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6; cf. 1 Pet. 5:5).
"For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find
compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is
gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to
him" (2 Chron. 30:0).
For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He
will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it,
he answers you (Isa. 30:19).
Let your steadfast love [i.e., grace], O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in
you (Ps. 33:22).
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on
those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who
keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments (Ps. 103:17-18).
But conditional grace is not earned grace. Why? Because "when God's grace is promised based on a condition, that condition is also a work of God's grace. . . . God's freedom is not reduced when he makes some of his graces depend on conditions that he himself freely supplies." Or again, "conditional grace is free and unmerited because ultimately the condition of faith is a gift of grace. God graciously enables the conditions that he requires." Or again, "this covenant-keeping condition of future grace does not mean we lose security or assurance, for God has pledged himself to complete the work he began in the elect (Phil. 1:6). He is at work within us to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). He works in us what is pleasing in his sight (Heb. 13:21). He fulfills the conditions of the covenant through us (Eze. 36:27). Our security is as secure as God is faithful."