Righteousness can never be earned by working for it. It’s easy for us to think of salvation as a free gift of God’s grace. But righteousness? Now that’s a different story. Being righteous is rooted in the fact that Christ is now in me, and I in Him. It’s not about getting God to accept me; He’s already done that. Redemption means that we have actually become the righteousness of God Himself, allowing us an almost unbelievable status with God.
The question is how the reality of God’s righteousness, having now become our own, plays out in the believer over the course of his life. What about our old nemesis: sin? How is it that God could allow our struggle with sin to exist right alongside this awesome righteousness we now possess? The incredible gift of God’s grace has everything to do with it! In Christ, God has actually caused us to die to sin itself.
From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself