For being ignorant of the righteousness of God and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God.
– Romans 10:3 (BLB)
Paul here is referring to the Jews in Jesus’ day. They were zealous for God but ignorant of how God wanted to make them righteous. They felt they needed to keep all the Old Testament laws in order to please God and therefore earn His righteousness. However, God’s plan was for them to submit to a new righteousness that would only take place by trusting in Jesus.
People fall into this trap today. Everyone has their own set of rules that makes them feel they earn points with God. When they do good, they feel they are able to be close to God and when they are not so good, they feel they cannot. These people are either out of touch or just ignorant of how God really makes a person righteous.
The only way one can be made right with God is by trusting in Jesus as their Savior and continuing to trust in what He has done is all we need to be right with God. We do not need to try and earn our way to God.
After trusting in Jesus and His righteousness, we can do good things for Him. However, we do good works because of what Jesus has done for us and not in order to be right with God.