Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness. (Romans 3:24–25)
I am glad the word “freely” is included in this passage. The problem with religious people is that they are always trying to earn redemption and they never arrive. They are never satisfied and never relaxed because they think they have to do just a little bit more to be made righteous. It never will work.
We are justified only through faith in the blood of Jesus. Let’s look at Romans 4:4: “Now to him who works [the religious person], the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.”
Many people think that if they have always lived rightly and done their duty, God owes them righteousness or justification—that it is a debt they’re due. But in actual fact, God doesn’t owe anything to anybody. Notice verse 5: “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
The first thing we have to do is stop trying to make ourselves righteous. Stop trying to be a little better. Call a halt to all that. What we need to do is just believe. It is that simple. Otherwise, we will never make it.