Jesus was resurrected as our only righteousness — our only way to please God.
The Father said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). The apostle Paul reminds us of this again and again throughout his epistles, teaching that Christ alone is our righteousness in God’s eyes.
“Now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:21-24).
The apostle is saying, “My own righteousness is of the law, but the righteousness that is of Christ comes on the basis of faith.”
We can give to the poor and needy; we can be kind; we can think good and honorable thoughts. And we may convince ourselves that these good works will help save us on Judgment Day. Not so! Even if I lived for years without breaking God’s Word in thought and deed, it would avail me no credit. “Not by works of righteousness . . . but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5).
I do not say any of this lightly. It is devastating for any person to hear, “Your good deeds won’t save you.” Indeed, we can’t convince anyone of this. Such convincing requires a miracle of God’s mercy and is a work that must be done by the Holy Spirit.