Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Take note! I, Paul, tell you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all. 3 Again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to keep the entire law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace.
Apart from Christ’s righteousness, no one can do enough good works to take him/her into heaven. We are like a rag that’s stained (sin) with nasty, dirty oil that gives off a bad smell. Imagine taking that rag to clean your car (your life).
You dip that rag in a bucket that contains water and soap then you start wiping it on the filthy car to clean it. All you will do is spread the oil and dirt all over your vehicle, making it worse than when you started and making it stink even more. In the same way, by trying to keep all of God’s commands without Jesus righteousness being applied to your life by faith in Him, it will only make you self-righteous, which produces pride as found in Luke 16:15, “And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”
The only thing you are accomplishing is looking worse in God’s sight and giving off a smell that’s detestable to God. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to help us get into heaven with our good works adding to it but, He died because it is impossible with our good deeds (filthy rags) to make it into heaven. Apart from Jesus crediting us with His righteousness, we cannot obtain something we don’t have to begin with since we are born in sin. A sinner must be punished since God is a righteous judge, and if we are born that way and are guilty, how can we erase the sin in our lives, let alone make up for it by living a better life? Even if you live a good life, you are still guilty and must pay for your sins. Jesus alone paid for it in full at the cross by taking your punishment that you deserve upon Himself, and on the third day, He rose from the grave in victory.
Romans 4:25 He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Don’t try to be good first, thinking that you have to clean yourself up before you go to Jesus. First, go to Jesus through faith for the cleansing of your sins then you will be ready and equipped with the Holy Spirit to do God’s will.