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You are missing the context so don't understand what Paul was teaching.
How Does God Make Us Righteous?
How does God make us perfectly righteous in His sight? He does this by putting us IN CHRIST. The Bible says,
"Of Him [God] are you IN CHRIST JESUS...." 1 Corinthians 1:30
The words IN CHRIST express the glorious position God has given to the believer. How did we get into Christ? God put us there! We could not put ourselves IN CHRIST, but God has done this for us. The Bible says, "Of Him are you IN CHRIST JESUS."
We ourselves are not righteous, but God has put us IN CHRIST. When God looks at us, He does not see us as we are; He sees only Christ. Because we are IN CHRIST, we have a perfect righteousness before God. Christ is our righteousness. The Bible says,
"For He [God] has made Him [Christ] to be sin [a sin offering] for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
People in that time and culture had one way to be righteous, and that was to become a Jew by being circumcised and obeying all the laws in the Old Testament.
This verse says that we are made "the righteousness of God" IN CHRIST. This righteousness is perfect because Christ is perfect. This righteousness never changes because Christ never changes. This righteousness is now our righteousness because we are IN CHRIST.
This perfect righteousness is not obtained by our works. We cannot produce it ourselves. It is given to us as a free gift when we take Christ as our Saviour. The Bible says,
". . . those who receive abundance of grace and THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:17
The Apostle Paul was a very religious man. He worked hard trying to produce his own righteousness. But Paul came to see that he could never make himself acceptable to God by his own works.
What did Paul do? He put his faith in Jesus Christ and received God's gift of perfect righteousness. Paul wrote,
". . . I count all things but loss. . . that I may win Christ, And be found IN HIM, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Philippians 3:8, 9
This wonderful gift of perfect righteousness is not just for the Apostle Paul. It is for all believers. The moment we believed, God put us IN CHRIST and we received this perfect righteousness.
God Accepts Us Because We Are In Christ
We are saved to good works.
One doesn't work to belong to Christ or to get to heaven. We have been forgiven for past/present/future sins. We don't want to continue to sin because we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, guiding us and because we love Jesus too much. To cause pain to others causes Jesus sadness.
So you discount the entire Bible in favor of some friendly sounding pseudo-psychology?
I wouldn't want anyone to think that there is anything else they have to do to live eternal life. To do so is impossible as none of us are perfect and we will never attain any kind of level of righteousness (being good and without sin) in front of God and instead this just creates such self defeat and hoplessness that it pulls one away from God. If one is a Christian or wants to be one then all they have to do is believe. That is faith. And it all begins with believing there is a God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. How can we think that there is anything else we have to do to gain such purity to achieve these goals if we don't even believe in our Father? What I'm saying is that yes we have historical records, objects, the Bible. But ultimatelly it boils down to faith. And so by saying to someone that by just believing doesn't get you eternal life then none of God's word is true.
This is apparently your response to my earlier mention of the saying of Jesus about those who in the judgment cry "Lord, Lord".
It is those that cry out to God that they spoke the word, used his name, did good works that God will not take.
I just read a number somewhere of the amount of pastors/ministers/etc that have lost their faith but they keep at their "job" because they have no other way to make a living. THESE are the people that God will call out. It is the tv evangelists who are ripping people off by asking for more and more money while acting like they live the word of God but fail miserably. It is those that pray loudly and give the impression they are so holy but don't really believe - they don't realize God knows what is in everyone's heart and He knows who genuinely loves Him and BELIEVE instead of the poser.
Belief is the first step, then you repent and are baptized and then you are filled with the spirit and sanctified to good works.
So to all confused and worried people - believe. I do believe it is that simple.
I wanted to add a little explanation to what I mentioned briefly earlier.
I'm saying that there is an exception to normal rules when it comes to this particular word because of a standardized usage of it to always mean a particular sort of idea.