Works ≠ Righteousness | Northlands Church

Works ≠ Righteousness

October 07, 2015 | Karlene Bartolo

Works ≠ Righteousness

by: Karlene Bartolo

We do not become more righteous through our “works”, or good deeds. We have already been made righteous through our faith in Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us on the cross. He calls us to rest in His finished work.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3: 4-6 (NIV)

For many believers, being a Christian sometimes seems wearisome, burdensome, and unattainable. Why do you think this is so?

Unfortunately, many of us have been taught that we must earn our “righteousness” by maintaining a long daily to-do list. Every day, we strive to do good, to be the best person we can be and to keep up with our prayer life and Bible study. All these are good habits, but according to Scripture, they cannot make us righteous. Our righteousness comes through our faith in Jesus Christ, not because of the good deeds we do. We believe on Him, and He calls us righteous, holy children of God.

In Scripture, we see Paul challenging the Galatians’ thinking that they could finish their Christian journey by works of the flesh after beginning by the Holy Spirit. According to Paul, “If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.” (Galatians 2:21 MSG)

So what’s the truth? Of course we engage in good deeds and pay attention to a prayerful Christian life, but not because it will make us righteous, or more righteous. We do those things because of God’s love for us, our love for him, and our desire to know him more.

So when you feel like you’re striving, stop for a moment. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus on Jesus’ love and the fact that He qualified you and made you righteous. It’s not by your works. Jesus wants you to rest in Him. You are righteous! You are free!

(Romans 3: 22-24; Galatians 3; Galatians 5:1; Galatians 2: 21 NIV)


Jesus, thank You for paying for my sins. You made a way for me to be righteous in Your sight, and my righteousness is not based on what I do, but on what You’ve already done.  I want to live a life of wonder, based on my desire to know You, my love for You and Your love for me. Help me to always see myself the way You see me—righteous, holy, and blameless.

© 2022 Northlands Church and Karlene Bartolo. Permission to share so long as credit is given.