We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because they are good they proceed from his Spirit, and as they are wrought by us they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s punishment.
Romans 3:20 (CSB) For no one will be justified in his sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law.
Ephesians 2:8–9 (CSB) For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.
Romans 4:6 (CSB) Likewise, David also speaks of the blessing of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
Galatians 5:22–23 (CSB) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.
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.
Psalm 43:2 (CSB) For you are the God of my refuge. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about in sorrow because of the enemy’s oppression?