Figure Comparative
The righteousness required for salvation How the righteousness of God is received Reason or rational
As understood by the traditional Churches of Christ:
God has provided man with a rational plan of salvation that anyone can understand and follow.
By following this plan (i.e. the moral and religious requirements of the New Testament) forgiveness of sins is now provided to the believer.
The forgiveness of sins is provided to the believer through their own positive response and obedience to the requirements of the New Testament.
For example, if the believer will obey God’s “5 step” plan of salvation  (i.e. hear, believe, repent, confess and be “water” baptized), he will receive the forgiveness of sins and thus salvation.
Man has the moral power and ability to fully cooperate with all of the necessary commands that God requires. 

Thus, when man chooses to cooperate and be obedient to them, he can now be saved.
As understood by evangelical Christianity:
God provides as a gift both the forgiveness of sins and the perfect righteousness we need.
God’s forgiveness is based upon Jesus Christ, who took the full punishment for our sins at the cross so that God would not have to punish us.

Jesus also lived holy for us so that the basis of going to heaven is based upon His perfect life and not our own.

God’s gift of righteousness is available to all who will place faith in Jesus Christ.

Author’s note: When we place faith Jesus Christ, we are born again or born from above. While this new life should bring  about the added benefit of a holy life in that of the believer, it is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is given (credited, imputed) to us as a gift that makes us Holy in God’s sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

Because of the fall of Adam, man is a sinner by nature and by choice and lost the ability to save himself by the principle of keeping commands and laws.

However, because of God’s great love for us, He has provided the forgiveness of sins and the perfect righteousness we need and is given to all who will place faith in Jesus Christ.

Author's Note:
Perhaps this will explain why many in the Church of Christ have had such an unhealthy interest in methodology and procedural matters of the church, such as the controversy over instrumental music, the celebration of Christmas or Easter, church name, etc. 

Because if our righteousness is dependant upon our own ability to respond positively to all the necessary moral and religious commands in the New Testament, then it is imperative that we are then completely obedient in order to receive it and thus be saved.

The idea that God imputes or credits the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to us literally by faith is completely foreign to those in the Churches of Christ. Here they are often trying to be made righteous by what they do (a "by works" righteousness), rather than trusting in Jesus Christ alone who makes people righteous (a "by faith" righteousness).

Paul writes in Phil. 3:9 that he wanted to be found "…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ -the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."