More Questions: 2. How does God make me righteous? 3.When did God make me righteous? 4. How is the righteousness of God shown in me?
Answer 2: It's pretty clear that God makes me righteous through imputation. See Romans 4 (and probably a whole slew of other NT verses). Ascribing, attributing or crediting something to me that I would not have on my own. Like if my bank account was in the red and my dad deposited some money. Everyone agrees on this, right?
Answer 3: The question of when God made me righteous begs another question- when did God attribute or impute my sins to Christ? On Calvary, of course. Here are some scriptures for you.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor 5:21
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.1 Jn 2:2
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
So back to the original question, it seems like there could be two different answers- either at the time of the Crucifixion for all people or for me personally when I chose to believe. But in reality, I don't think it makes much difference. It's clear that Jesus' work on the cross was for ALL mankind, so it's really just a matter of me accepting the gift and believing that he is who he says he is... faith in God through Jesus.
Answer 4: I think the righteousness of God is shown in me by the way I live out my faith in God. If I have true faith, the righteousness of God will be manifest in my life. See the book of James for further reading, if you want.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
So back to Question 1: Can I maintain the righteousness of God in me by a specific act or work?
Answer: No. But do my acts or works speak to whether the righteousness of God is present in me? YES!
I would like to present the idea that the author's three ways a Christian can maintain righteousness do not actually serve the purpose of maintaining righteousness, but are simply good works that flow from a heart that has been justified in the eyes of God through the righteousness of Jesus Christ (justification?). A heart to which righteousness has been imputed because of belief in God who raised Jesus from the dead (imputation?). A heart that has been made free from sin to become a servant of righteousness (sanctification?).