As my study continues through the book of Romans I stand in awe. (John Piper's sermons are guiding me.)
I was born bad because my heart is bad. I have nothing to offer Christ in and of myself. But He has offered me His righteousness which is the only means to having a relationship with my Savior.
He drew me at a young age. At 4 years old I prayed to receive Christ into my life. I knew not what this life consisted of. I knew not the challenges I would face. But I knew that Jesus died for my sins and I wanted to surrender my little life to Him. As the years came and went, my understanding grew. And still does. Each year I gain more heart knowledge of what this journey is about. And I gain more faith in putting my all in His hands.
But without the righteousness imputed to me, I would have no hope. It was forgiveness and Christ's death on the cross that sets one free from sin, but without Christ giving me His righteousness, I am lost and dead without hope. When God looks at me, He sees His Son's perfect life. Not my pitiful, measly works.
This is transforming. This is salvation. This salvation is the Gospel. This Gospel is what saves me. And will keep me.
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel; for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, 'the just shall live my faith'. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness, suppress the truth."
God's love was the force of sending His Son. But His Son's righteousness is the means of salvation.