“It would be a huge mistake, therefore, if you thought that Paul is telling us that ‘faith’ is what justifies us before God. The heart of the gospel is not, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,’ but, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.’ It is not faith that saves you; it is the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith did not die for you as a sin-bearing, sin-atoning sacrifice. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who was made sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God! Never once does the New Testament tell us that sinners are justified before God on the ground of faith. God justifies believing sinners by Christ’s blood. Jesus Christ himself is our righteousness. Faith is what takes us into Christ, in whom God justifies the ungodly. In Christ, God’s own righteousness is counted ours, just as our sins were counted Christ’s.
This needs to be said for a number of reasons, but perhaps, above all, for this reason: the centre of the life of faith is not faith, but the Lord Jesus Christ. The focus of the life of faith is not the quality of my faith, but the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ian Hamilton (2018), Salvation: Full and Free in Christ (Banner Mini Guide). Banner of Truth.