It should be obvious even though many deny it. If I must know anything, believe anything, accept anything, become anything through a process of meeting requirements, then any resulting salvation is by my works. If the onus for making my salvation a reality rests with me, then whether I am saved or not is a matter of personal achievement. If I gain salvation it will be because I have acted.
The result of this kind of process is by nature self righteousness, a position of acquired superiority. There is very valid reason to question such a concept of righteousness. We all know that the words “self righteous” are not used to describe a noble character. We don’t generally hear that someone is self righteous without associating those words with arrogance, self importance, and disdain for others.
The Apostle Paul constantly warned against the allure of this form of righteousness and the ill effects it generates in the human heart. No one in the scriptures denounced righteousness by doing like Paul.
And yet, here we are 2000 years later hearing every Sunday in churches all over America that here is what you must do to be saved. Why do we accept unquestioningly what is so obviously false in the very words of Paul. I cannot achieve righteousness by what I do. Therefore, the church cannot teach me what to do to be saved. All they can do is teach me how to be self righteous with all the attendant pride and disdain which that creates. Achieved righteousness does not elevate me spiritually; instead it diminishes me, corrupts me, makes me akin to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.