One of my favorite movie scenes is when Indiana Jones takes his leap of faith in his quest for the Holy Grail. As I was reading today's portion of Scripture, I was reminded of this scene because it's not altogether different from the leap of faith that Abraham took. He separated himself from his family, he gave up everything he knew, and he put his faith in God.
Even from the beginning, being righteous before God came down to faith. Genesis 15:6 says that Abraham believed the Lord, and the Lord credited that to him as righteousness. It was belief. The same trust that Abraham had is essential for us, too. It's not about living right and making sure that our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds. Ultimately, whether or not we're found righteous before God has to do with an act of faith. Only now that Christ has made Himself known, our faith is in what He accomplished by dying an innocent death on the cross and cancelling the debt of sin that we owed to our heavenly Father. It is by faith (not by works) that we are made right before Him.