When you made Jesus the Lord of your life, He declared you to be righteous in His sight. You are as righteous as you will ever be. You cannot increase your righteousness. Being righteous simply means you are right with God. He holds nothing against you.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We know we are saved by grace through faith. Grace means this is God’s idea not ours. God has more grace for us besides the grace that saved us. As we give ourselves to hearing and receiving His Word, we grow in our portion of grace. We need His grace in order to live as the righteous He has made us. Just because we are righteous, sin does not give up trying to separate us from God. The strength we need to resist sin comes from grace. The more you grow in grace, the more resistant you become to sin.
James 4:5 Do you think the Scripture says in vain, the spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy? VS. But God gives more grace.
God gives us everything we need to live a successful and sanctified life, all we need to do is accept it. When we commit to growing in grace and we emulate Christ, this is called holiness. Holiness is the act of living like a true child of God. We cannot live a sanctified, holy life without grace. Growing up in religion, I had a form of godliness because if I didn’t, I would go to hell. Motive is everything. Why do we want to please God? Are we afraid of hell or are we grateful for His sacrifice? The former motive is easily compromised because it depends on the flesh, but the latter motive is an eternal gratitude.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Having these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all the filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.
God gives us the grace, but it is our responsibility to apply it to our lives. We do this in the fear of the Lord. This is a deep abiding respect for His person and His Word. Pleasing Him becomes our motivation. He is worthy to be worshipped forever and ever. The more you love God, the easier it becomes to please Him. You are as righteous as you will ever be, but you must perfect holiness. Men will go to Heaven despite a lack of holiness, but they won’t produce much fruit.
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. VS. Looking diligently lest any man fall from the grace of God.
Theologians can’t argue on whether this will disqualify one from Heaven or not. I don’t care, I don’t want out. I will not yield my righteousness for any reason. If people are debating this, they may have other unresolved issues. We can all agree on this, if you will pursue holiness, you will see the Lord. I cannot think of one sin worth losing my salvation or relationship with Jesus over. Grow in grace and perfect your holiness, you will never regret it.