“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:4-5).
In our witness for the Lord, Romans 4:4-5 are good verses to commit to memory. The reason is that they state the opposite of what most people think about how to be saved. Most believe that the way to be right with God is to be good and to earn your way to heaven by doing good things. These verses say something different.
When people work at their jobs and get their paychecks, they are entitled to their wages. They earned them. They worked for it and have a right to expect whatever they have coming based on an agreed-upon salary. And the employer is indebted to pay employees for their work. People don’t go to their employers after receiving their paychecks, thank them for the gracious gift of money, and protest that they didn’t deserve it. Instead, people take that check and go home, knowing that they earned it and are being reimbursed for their time and labor.
Many want to believe it’s the same way for going to heaven, that you work for it and earn it, that you get what’s coming to you, and salvation is a reward. But that is not the way it is with salvation. It is the complete opposite way. Salvation is “to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:4).
No one receives salvation and God’s righteousness by working for it. It is given “to him that worketh not.” We have nothing to offer God in our unrighteous state. And God’s righteousness is not and cannot be earned. It’s not something we work for and so God owes it to us; it is something we receive by faith alone in Christ.
And you don’t need to clean up your act first or repent and turn from your sins to be saved, as is commonly taught. You just come as you are, as an ungodly sinner, throw yourself on the grace and mercy of God, and believe. You just trust Christ as your personal Savior and that’s it. The righteousness of God is received by faith alone strictly as a free gift from God. Have you believed? source