Psalms 97:9 (CSB) For you, LORD,
are the Most High over the whole earth;
you are exalted above all the gods.
Psalms 90:2 (CSB) Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from eternity to eternity, you are God.
The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.
The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator
Luke 17:10 (CSB) In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we’ve only done our duty.’ ”
It is because of our fallen state and in sin, each child of Adam is wholly presumptuous that we, somehow, bridge an infinite gap between us and God. This sin in us clouds our judgment, keeps us blind, and fills us with hubris to fool ourselves that we are have done enough good not be damned to hell, that God grades on a curve because we are certainly not as bad as "that guy", or worst yet, bet our entire existence on the asinine notion that there is no God.
Within all of that sinfulness, we will stop at nothing to justify our self-righteousness.
And yet, every single thing that we do in our own power might as well gift wrap a used toilet wad and hand it to God as a gift. It is utterly offensive to the God of the Universe. For:
Isaiah 64:6 (CSB) All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.
And utterly useless to God for:
Acts 17:25 (CSB) Neither is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives everyone life and breath and all things.
yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant
And if our filthy rags of self-righteousness are worthless and offensive to God, why would we even think that we could somehow do enough good in order to force God to do something for us? The God of the Universe has not, have not, and will never owe anybody anything anywhere of all time ever. For:
Isaiah 45:21–22 (CSB) Speak up and present your case— yes, let them consult each other. Who predicted this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, the LORD? There is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior; there is no one except me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.
Romans 4:4–5 (CSB) Now to the one who works, pay is not credited as a gift, but as something owed. But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness.
Job 35:7–8 (CSB) If you are righteous, what do you give him, or what does he receive from your hand? Your wickedness affects a person like yourself, and your righteousness, a son of man.
In short, there is no other way to explain this. Righteousness is perfection and we have all fallen infinitely short of the glory of God.