“And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness”
Romans 4:1-8 ESV
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Love is the nature of God. See His fruits:
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
He counts FAITH as righteousness, not works:
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
So it is not about working to earn it, it is about receiving this free gift and then watching the change that He will have in our lives.
It isn’t about acting good, or following the rules in order to earn a prize! It is about accepting the prize free of charge, and believing that it is real – because that belief generates grattitude in our being, in our attitudes. And that change on the inside is what matters.
Works don’t save us. A lack of works don’t condemn us.
But works that are the result of this change in our own lives – this is what provides us the personal assurance that this belief of ours is real. The works that Christ does through me are for me to see as evidence of the truth of my own salvation – they aren’t so they can be seen by others, they are for my benefit and reassurance. They are not so that others can try to judge the state of my salvation, they are my personal proof of the truth of Christ’s promises.
However, in fairness and truth for those that might misunderstand this as a license to continue in sin – we need to be aware that there are some things that are evidence that we don’t believe and we haven’t received:
Galatians 5:13-21 ESV
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
So we want to be sure that we have believed and received, because Christ came to save because “those that do not believe are already condemned”:
John 3:17-21 ESV
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”