Caveat Lector Editorial: From the always thoughtful Orrologion.
“Grace alone is usually understood as meaning a special gift of God to a person that brings him to faith in Him and thus salvation.
In Orthodoxy, our salvation is also due to God, and He alone was able to save us, we were lost without Him. Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountaint (+1994) said to a spiritual child of his:
…the elder would tell me that, if God does not help man spiritually, it is impossible for man to approach the truth, and that this is why Christ came into the world.*
The ‘unmerited’, unearned favor that God bestows on us isn’t something extra He gives to those that will be saved and that is not given to those that are not saved. The graciousness of God was in uniting the divine and human natures together in His Person thus resurrecting and ascending us and our nature to the right hand of the Father, God. Blood is again flowing to the previously severed ear that Christ has healed – we can hear again, we can act again, we can struggle. Any and all ‘works’ the Church (Christ Himself through the action of the Holy Spirit) are not done by us independently – we can only do them because of the incarnation, they are only Spirit-filled and grace-bearing because of the incarnation, they are only salvific because “Christ came into the world”. It’s not just the message, it’s the ontological, organic, physical, ‘natural’ (of the ousia) outcome of the work of Christ starting at His conception, through his birth, life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension. That ‘seomthing extra’ has been given to all of us already.”
* Farasiotis, Dionysios. The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios. Translated and adapted by Hieromonk Alexis (Trader) of the Holy Monastery of Karakallou, Mount Athos; edited by Philip Navarro (Platina, CA: Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2008), p. 120.