Ephesians 2:8-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)
8 For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9 not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].
To be righteous simply means to be in right standing with God. The word righteous in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “dikaios” which means observing divine laws or upright, faultless, innocent, and guiltless. This are all attributes of God and no human in their own power could ever claim to have them. The bible tells us that no one is righteous not even one, they are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.
We who are born again are righteous not because of what we have done, but because of what Christ has done. Isaiah 64 tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags before God. Let me repeat once again that we who are born again are righteous not because of what we have done but because of what Jesus did, remember he said it is finished.
The two perspectives make a huge difference in how we approach life. If I find my righteousness through what I do then I will always be striving to do so that I can become. The pressure will be too much more so because as a human I cannot meet the standard. This will lead to frustration disappointment and even anger.
If you find righteousness through Jesus because of what he did, they you do not have to strive to gain it, you just embrace it thus you don’t strive to do so that you can become, instead you do because you already are.
God took my sin and placed it on Christ and at the same time he took the righteousness of Christ and put it on me. Like Barabbas the thief I have been set free not because I am innocent and neither is it because the people wanted me, rather I have been set free because Christ agreed to take my place.