Not by our works: The Bible teaches that there is no way we can be declared righteous in God’s sight by doing good works (Rom. 3:19-20). We can’t fulfill God’s law (Rom. 8:5-8). We can’t live in a way that is pleasing to God and so earn a righteous status in God’s sight. We deserve only condemnation.
God has provided a way: But in the gospel God has supplied the very righteous status we need by punishing Christ for our sin so that we would be counted righteous in him. For our sake God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Counted righteous in Christ: The only way to be declared right in God’s sight is to be counted righteous in Christ (Gal. 2:16). The only righteousness that will satisfy God’s holy demands on us is the perfect righteousness of Christ which we can receive by faith in him (Phil. 3:9; Rom. 5:17).