Faith v. Works; Righteousness v. Self-Righteousness…
Faith, apart from works, is the KEY to the Father’s heart and the initiation of covenant relationship through Jesus Christ as our Lord. Once saving faith, apart from works, has initiated covenant relationship and the redeemed in Jesus receive the indwelling Holy Spirit as Guarantor of that covenant relationship, works of obedience to the indwelling Holy Spirit’s guidance becomes natural or a defining characteristic of the one born again as Jesus said you will know them by their works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 11:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; Galatians 5:16; Romans 7:15-20).
No one can “work” them self to God the Father as our works of self-righteousness before salvation are considered as a “filthy garment” in the nose of God; actually, the Hebrew defines self-righteous works as a “bloody menstrual cloth” (Isaiah 64:6).
We are saved by grace (unmerited favor unattainable through human effort – a gift) through faith (believing-trusting) in Jesus as our Lord who died for us, alone; then, our works of obedience are a natural outflow of our salvation through the indwelling Spirit via the conscience via the daily process of sanctification. It is the one who believes on Him that justifies by faith that is saved and not the one who works for their salvation through acts of self-righteousness (Galatians 2:16).