God’s grace is a free gift. It cannot be earned. It cannot be taken away.
Many Christians still think that they are justified, that is made right with God (both before salvation and after salvation) by what they do. They judge their standing with God based on their performance. That is dangerous and unbiblical because that kind of believe creates an unhealthy sin consciousness. Instead of the believer being conscious of the fact that he has been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus—that he is as righteous as God (because of Jesus’ work alone), he becomes conscious of sin and the law and so again lives in bondage under the law. That is like a sow returning to its vomit. We are righteous by faith alone and we should never judge our righteousness based on our performance. God’s grace alone is the power that initiates, sustains, perfects, and finishes our righteousness.
Our righteousness comes by faith. It comes from our position in Christ. Christianity is different from many other religions because of this very fact. In Christianity, it is done. It is what Christ has already done. In other religions, righteousness is based on what the adherent does. In Romans 5:1, we see that we are justified by faith alone. That means we are acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right position or standing with God based on our faith alone. God’s grace through the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to have faith in God. Because of that faith in God, we are able to live in a state of grace, a state of God’s unmerited favor where we enjoy 100% of God’s favor and 0% of his wrath or punishment. You could be sinning and God will bless you instead of punish you. He absolutely will not be condoning with your sin. He would be doing everything to get you out of sin. He may even discipline you if that’s what it takes to get you to stop sin. But while he does that, he sees you as righteous as Jesus and blesses you based on that righteousness. If you are a true believer in Christ, you are no longer judged by your performance, but you are judged based on Jesus’ performance. This is a very key thing to understand. If you think your sin affects God’s blessing to you, then you are living under law. Because under the law, God blessed only people who kept his law and punished those who didn’t. Under law, you had to earn God’s blessings by your good works. Jesus Christ changed that completely. God’s grace and righteousness are free gifts. It cannot be earned through good works. That righteousness empowers us to live righteous lives. Righteous living doesn’t give us that righteousness. It’s the reverse. It’s critical to note again that nothing you do can change your standing in God, it’s by faith alone. God through the Holy Spirit is the author, the performer, and the finisher of the new covenant. He is responsible for keeping both your end and his end of the covenant. Your part is nothing except faith through the grace which God himself provides.
It doesn’t matter what the true Christian does, he is 100% righteous, as righteous as God and that cannot be changed. It is an irrevocable gift, the gift of the righteousness of God. Does that mean that you should go out and sin because you cannot lose your position of righteousness or be punished again because of what Christ did? Absolutely not. This freedom instead frees us to live righteous lives from the heart.
With the Christian life, it is all about God’s grace, giving us God’s own righteousness made possible by Jesus Christ and dispensed by the power of the Holy Spirit.