"Do you realize that it is only in the gospel of Jesus Christ that you get the verdict before the performance? The atheist might say that they get their self-image from being a good person. They are a good person and have hope that eventually they will get a verdict that confirms that they are a good person. Performance leads to the verdict. For the Buddhist too, performance leads to the verdict. If you are a Muslim, performance leads to the verdict. All this means that every day, you are in the courtroom, every day you are on trial. That is the problem. But Paul is saying that in Christianity, the verdict leads to performance. It is not the performance that leads to the verdict. In Christianity, the moment we believe, God says 'This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.' Or take Romans 8:1 which says 'Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus'. In Christianity, the moment we believe, God imputes Christ's perfect performance to us as if it were our own, and adopts us into His family. In other words, God can say to us just as He once said to Christ, 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.'"
The courts are closed, the case has been dismissed, Christ has paid the debt and we are now loved and accepted by God. Now, as His children, we live in response to what he has done, not as a way to get his approval. We already have it! That is the amazing message of grace. That is what makes the Christian faith different from any other. That is God's amazing grace for us!