Before a lifeguard attempts to rescue someone who is drowning, he will wait for the person to give up on his efforts to save himself.
If the person is still struggling, with his hands flailing and legs kicking everywhere, a well-trained lifeguard will not come close to him just yet because he knows that he will be pulled down and both will drown.
So even though the lifeguard wants to save the drowning person, he cannot until the person has exhausted his strength and gives up trying to save himself. Then, the lifeguard immediately grabs hold of him and brings him to safety. Similarly, when you think that you can still save yourself, God’s grace cannot flow.
If you mix law and grace, both will “drown” and you will lose BOTH. In other words, the person who is “drowning” must know that he is drowning and that he cannot save himself. (Now, isn’t that a deep revelation!) Only when he gives up on his efforts can grace come and rescue him.
Jesus had no effect on the Pharisees precisely because they thought that they were self-sufficient in their law-keeping and saw no need for the Savior. They had no revelation that they were drowning!