It is 6 AM here and I am falling asleep, but I’ll give it a shot.
You are quite correct that we cannot earn our way to salvation. It is a gift, freely given, that all we need do is accept.
That, to me, is a cop out. I can accept the Lord into my heart then go on a killing spree with a clear conscience.
To me, once you accept the gift of salvation, you have a duty to attempt to live up to it. We can not, as we are only human, but we both can and should try.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. Your use of the term "cop out" is curious, since I did not in any way condone the idea that we accept the Lord "then go on a killing spree with a clear conscience". My contention is that, per Holy Scripture, we are not saved by ANY works that we do - with which you said you concurred - and that must in turn mean we are not KEPT saved by works we do either. You see, to me, it is a cop out to say we are saved by God's grace and then turn around and say BUT you have to do this, that, and not do this, that in order to remain saved. That kind of reasoning comes from the false doctrine of infused grace rather than imparted grace.
The difference between these two really boils down to what must "we" do to be saved - since being saved is NOT a temporary condition. Either you have eternal life and are born again or you are condemned. There is no middle ground. We are born from above or we are still dead in our trespasses and sins. The real question, then, is what does Scripture say? Peter had that question asked of him, "What must I do to be saved?", when he was miraculously freed from prison. The jailer was so terrified but what he saw with his own eyes, that he wanted whatever Peter had. Did Peter answer him with, "Go to my church and do everything they tell you to do and if you did it all right, when you die you may be saved."? NO! He said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." All that other stuff about not sinning or not intentionally sinning is man-made distraction from the truth of the Good News - that God creates within us a NEW nature and we are changed from the inside. That doesn't happen because we are good enough first, but by God's grace that he pours upon us when we come to him in faith.