There is absolutely no doubt that salvation is by the grace of Yahweh. There is nothing we could do to save ourselves and there was no good in us to provoke Jesus to save us. Salvation came out of Yahweh's love, his compassion and mercy for his creation. This grace also enables the Spirit to empower us to live and serve in his presence, with power to overcome everything from our old nature, the fallen world and the enemy of our soul. But none of this takes away from the importance of us living the righteousness of Jesus.
Jesus taught us, as well as showed us, that there is a difference between right and wrong, good and bad. The world fudges those lines and says there are no absolutes but the righteousness of Jesus Christ proves otherwise. In fact, all the way through the Scriptures the importance of righteousness was lifted up. Even though the prophet Isaiah, as he spoke of our approaching salvation, Yahweh stated:
Keep justice, and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come,
And My righteousness to be revealed.
Blessed is the man who does this,
And the son of man who lays hold on it;
Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil. (Isaiah 56:1-2)
We no longer walk in righteousness, doing good instead of evil, to try to earn our salvation. The grace Jesus gave us on the cross took care of that, but now we walk in righteousness to bring pleasure to Father. For us it is an act of love, as we live in obedience to Jesus. The expectation is, if we call him Lord we will submit to his commands, teachings and instructions; we will obey. He told us:
But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)
Too often we dismiss much of what Jesus taught, abusing the Scripture that tells us that we are no longer under law but under grace. What that is telling us is that we are no longer under the condemnation of the law but under the forgiveness that comes from grace. But this does not minimize our need for obedience if we are to be followers of Jesus Christ, his disciples and fellow heirs:
If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)
Salvation is by grace but a loving relationship with Jesus provokes in us a desire for righteousness. In fact, Paul the apostle says that we become slaves to this righteousness instead of a slave to sin. Let me be clear, this is not righteousness by law but righteousness by faith. We have been declared to be righteous under grace, but Jesus expects us to walk in that righteousness. It is a state of being, declared by Yahweh, which provokes us to action.
Simply put, if you really love Jesus then obeying him becomes a top priority to you. Jesus showed us that there is a difference between right and wrong, good and evil. He didn't just tell us, he showed us. It is interesting because to me righteousness looks a lot like love. You can't say you love Jesus and then expect him to believe you when you do the opposite of what he taught. It also confuses the people who are looking in, the ones who want to see if there is anything authentic about this thing we call faith.
Why do you call him Lord? Righteousness may call on you to die to what you want today. For the sake of love, can you answer that call and obey? Love keeps us from twisting the truth of the Word to meet our selfish agenda and beckons us to the righteousness of Jesus. As always, it is a matter of choice. We are under grace but we walk in righteousness.