|Carved Nativity group made by Faith Craft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
A person is made righteous by faith. That is, they can make consistent right choices because they have been justified. Justification is done by repentance and the faith in the shed blood of Jesus. Until someone has been justified, they cannot dwell in the presence of God–therefore they cannot see things from His perspective. Right choices are made from a gift of faith, understanding and wisdom and we are not to take credit for our new found ability. We do not earn salvation by just making right choices. We gain salvation by accepting the call of God upon our life and receiving the gift of grace. We must always give God the glory for all our victory, because without Jesus we could not be righteous. All men have fallen and gone astray–not one man has made any right choices on his own. We do not gain position in the kingdom by works (acting on choices), we only gain position from the gift of salvation completely by grace. Now that we are saved and continue in this path of faith and righteousness, we can make decisions that will bring eternal reward. It is a miracle of God that mere man could make a decision that would have an impact in the eternities in other words it all God.
5 But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. nrsv
The key is to trust the Lord to justify our lives by His shed blood, not our works. When we trust God, this means we consistently believe in Him and act like it naturally. This is faith and when we operate our decision making this way, then we are making right choices consistently and are therefore righteous.