Tag Archive | righteousness

Put on the whole armor of God, because we do not fight against flesh and blood

armor3Take unto you the whole armour of God! – Eph. 6:13

Paul provides some good advice for us which would be beneficial for us to remember in order to be fully equipped to withstand the devil’s many attacks. We are the ones who are responsible for taking on the whole armor of God, and if we do we will be victorious in each battle against us. God will certainly not force us to take on his armor against our will, but due to his love for us he has made these powerful tools available for us.

The reason why we need the armor of God is so that we will be prepared also on the day of evil and able to stand upright on the last day. If we choose to live our Christian lives without parts of this armor, or if we choose to put on the armor only occasionally, we automatically give Satan more power to overcome us. Satan knows our Achilles heals and where we are most vulnerable in the event of an attack. This means that it is not wise to stand partly unprotected when his attacks are coming.

Eph. 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (KJV)

Here are all the six pieces of advice (NKJV). We can read about ingredients such as truth, righteousness, gospel, faith, salvation, Spirit and God’s word. 

  1. 14 Stand therefore, having GIRDED your waist with TRUTH
  2. … having put on the BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS
  3. 15 having SHOD YOUR FEET with the preparation of the GOSPEL of peace
  4. 16 taking the SHIELD OF FAITH with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one
  5. 17 Take the HELMET of SALVATION,
  6. … and the SWORD of the SPIRIT, which is the WORD OF GOD.

1) It is essential that we stick to the truth and avoid lying, which includes spreading false rumors and slander. It is also a lie to purposely ascribe views to people that they might not have, which means that we must be careful how we express ourselves in order to be good examples to others.

2) We have to live righteous lives, which means that we must obey God’s commandments and keep ourselves from sin. Remember no one will save your soul by living a righteous life for you and instead of you so that you will not have to do it yourself – not even Jesus. The Bible says that it is the one who DOES righteousness who is righteous and will inherit the kingdom of God (1 John 3:7, Hebr. 5:9). Moreover, it is not legalism to be totally faithful to God and his commandments which he expects us to follow. We will not be transferred another person’s righteousness (Jesus righteousness) into us and be regarded as righteous even though we live unrighteous lives. We cannot fool God. Titus 2:11-12 tells us that the grace of God helps us to live righteous lives here and now. and we can do this by the help of the holy Spirit. Fortunately, we get more than once chance!

3) We must always be ready to spread the word of God, answer people’s queries about why we have chosen to be believers in Jesus Christ and help them overcome their hurdles which might prevent them from taking the step to become Christians themselves. Apologetics are often very helpful. We can be fishers of men in numerous ways and we can be blessed and encouraged when we take on the shoes of evangelizing through spreading the Christian faith to others. This is essentially what our brief life on earth is all about, because our real home is the permanent one in the new Jerusalem. We can learn to tune in to God’s voice in order to hear and understand how he wants to lead us in our daily lives in order to become useful tools in his hands.

4) We can move mountains with the help of our faith. If we obey the above mentioned points, it will be easier for us to believe and even expect signs and wonders in our every day life. We can see in the Bible that people’s faith is often strongly connected to their chances of getting healed from various illnesses when others place their hands on them and pray for them. (Naturally all people do not get healed from illnesses at all times, or else they would be immortal and live forever.) We can make our faith increase by living near God and communicate with him, and we are risking to become lukewarm if we seldom or never spend time with prayers, songs and Bible reading.

5) The helmet protects the head as well as the brain which contains our thoughts and dreams. Spiritually speaking, we are able to protect the brain from being exposed to bad influences and various temptations which might request our attention. We can avoid harmful TV programs (and actually avoid the TV all together if necessary), and we can also avoid having  destructive music ringing in our ears through headphones. We can also avoid various environments and situations which we know are far from being uplifting for our souls. Sometimes we are not the ones who decide which circumstances to live in, but at other times we can control our intake of bad influences. What we see and hear might affect what we feel and how we express ourselves to others, which means that it is a good idea to control our thoughts by not welcoming all sorts of rubbish into our brains.

6) Jesus won the battle against the devil in the desert by leaning on the word of God in its proper context. Satan can quote the Bible alright, but if one ignores certain verses and highlight others, he/she might end up with all sorts of heresies. The devil finally gave up when he realized that Jesus was fully equipped to withstand his temptations. We have to train ourselves to be corrected by the word of God and to not be too proud to change our course if we realize that we have misunderstood the Bible text. Heresies can be avoided by being faithful to the word of God rather than automatically following the crowd (that may or may not be on the right track). Satan will get a smaller area to attack if we show him that we prefer to obey the true word of God rather than Satan’s twisted interpretations. Unfortunately, there are Christians who end up following traditions of men because they are impressed by their grandeur.  armor2

Last but not least, Paul tells us to do all this during continuous praying and supplication in the Spirit. We should always pray in the Spirit, and watching out for all the saints (Christians) who keep spreading the gospel to the lost hearts. It is also a good way to a personal relationship with the Master.

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (KJV)

The gifts of the holy Spirit are for today. Do not be fooled by those who claim the gifts have ceased and are no longer in use. This is exactly what Satan wants us to believe, because he wants to disarm us the best way he can!

If we sin, we have an advocate in Jesus so we are constantly forgiven? – 1 John 2:1

1 john 2.jpgMy little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1)

”Advocate” is a translation from the Greek noun Παράκλητον (Strong’s 3875), and apart from the above verse we can find this word also in John 14:15; 26, John 15:26 and John 16:7, with the meaning of either Comforter or Helper – which the holy Spirit is often called.

John writes his letter to advise the recipients to avoid sinning (among other things), suggesting that they can avoid it (which also Titus 2:11-12 confirms). Unfortunately it is quite common that Christians with the reformed theology view understand this verse to mean that we really should not sin but if we do sin we still have no reason to worry because we always have an advocate in Jesus Christ who always forgives his elect no matter what they do.

That would be another way of saying that we have a license to sin, which of course the Bible does not teach. Just like in a secular court it is not certain that we will get an acquittal just because we have a defense attorney, or perhaps we should compare it with the idea that we will not even get a defense attorney unless we meet certain requirements (such as requesting one in the first place, and avoid making further crimes in the meantime). We will not be forgiven unless we REPENT. We will never be forgiven in the midst of our sins or if we have no intention of leaving the old man behind and live a new kind of life. For those who are in Christ (those who believe in him, follow him and obey him) can rest assured they have an advocate in Jesus Christ and that their past sins are forgiven. Their future sins are certainly not forgiven (that would be a license to sin) but they do not need to take an oath to never ever sin again.

1 John 2: 1-2 Being a propitiation for the sins of the whole world

Two verses after 1 John 2:1 (1 John 2:3) we can read how we can know that we know Jesus Christ. The answer is: ”if we keep his commandments”. If anyone claims to know him and does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. This is not legalism but the word of God. The teaching that we can successfully be faithful to God should never be labelled as legalism and something ugly. V. 5 mentions people who do keep his word, which means they truly exist and are not mere fantasies. We should walk as Jesus walked (v. 6), rather than hiding behind Jesus and pretend that our Father does not see our sins. We cannot fool God. The darkness should be in our past once the light has come into our life.

When reading 1 John 1-2 we can see that Jesus is the propitiation (an ”offer”) not only for a select group of people (like ”the elect), but he is the propitiation for the whole world. To be an offer for the sins of the whole world does not mean that the sins of the whole world will automatically be forgiven and forgotten (like the very minute that Jesus died on the cross). Just like in the old testament, during the animal sacrifice system, it was a requirement for the Israelites to confess their sins and repent for them while the priest offered up animals as a propitiation for their sins. Merely killing animals on an altar will not remove any sins – unless people also repent and understand the meaning of this process. We all have the opportunity to get all our sins erased, even the sins of the most vicious criminals, so it is a universal offer – albeit tied to conditions.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.3 And HEREBY WE DO KNOW THAT WE KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.– 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 14 — I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. —17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF GOD ABIDETH FOR EVER. —24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that EVERY ONE THAT DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS is born of him.

1 John 1:8 – the famous ”sin verse”

In the previous chapter (1 John 1) we find the famous 1 John 1:8, so commonly quoted by those who would like to normalize sins also among Christians, but 1 John 1:6 and 1:9 are sadly not quoted just as often. The whole context is important: We have all sinned. IF we confess our sins and start walking in the light (notice the conditions) Jesus Christ will cleanse us from our sins and we will be forgiven. 

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Rom. 8:26 and Rom. 8:27 – intercessionrom. 8.jpg

Also Rom. 8:26 and 27 are often used as an attempt to support the idea that we can be saved in our sins, but such promise cannot be found there either. The holy Spirit is given to those who believe in Jesus and who have repented for their sins, and the focus of Rom. 8:26 is the content of our prayers and the holy Spirit as our Helper. Note that there are two different Greek words for ”make intercession” in Rom. 26 and 27.

Rom. 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

”Maketh intercession” above is a translation from the Greek verb συναντιλαμβάνομαι (Strong’s 4878) with the meaning of lend a hand along with, assist jointly to perform some task, cooperate with, help, etc. Apart from the above verse you will only find this word in Luke 10:40 (Martha’s desire to get cooperation from her sister when it comes to serving).

Rom. 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

”Makes intercession” above is a translation from the Greek verb ἐντυγχάνω (Strong’s 1793), and apart from the above two verses you can find this word also in Acts 25:24, Rom. 11:2 and Hebrews 7:25 – with the meaning of making a petition for something. Does Christ do this only when it comes to the saints? Well, yes, since the saints are those who have chosen to follow Christ and repented for their sins.

Read what else Rom. 8 says below. There is life to get IF we walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit (those who live this way are in Jesus Christ). Otherwise we must expect death, and that warning goes for Christians as well. We have a great Helper to accomplish this, and thankfully we get more than one chance to do what we successfully can be doing.

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.—4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his..13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God

Jesse Morell winner in DEBATE with calvinist Matt Slick

Matt Slick (1)

Jesse Morell demolished Matt Slick due to a more Biblical theology view as well as superior debate ethics 

The entire debate can be found here, together with an outline of Jesse’s presentation in case you missed it.

I do not believe there will ever be a debate with a Calvinist who does not charge the other for misunderstanding or misrepresenting Calvinism. My views are as follows.

Best theology (regardless of presentation) – Winner is Jesse, but he had an easy task before him since it is definitely not hard to find scriptures which contradict Calvinism and support free will. The teaching of free will (as in the logical and traditional understanding of the word – as in being able to make contrary choices) is taught throughout the Bible, and the Bible is actually a book describing people who constantly act against the will of God (all of his multiple wills, if you will). Man’s free will is so obvious that the only way to get around it is to change the meaning of the word as well as twisting a lot of verses, and that is a common skill among Calvinists. (Those who have attended reformed Bible schools are particularly gifted in this area.) The only other option to free will is that God has created most of us to believe we have free will even though we do not.

So it looks like people who ”falsely” believe in free will still act according to God’s will since nothing happens against his will. Calvinism is contradictory to its core, and the amount of Calvinists who are able to be consistent with their own doctrines is zero. Matt Slick did not change this number. Most Calvinists constantly express themselves as though we have free will (a libertarian free will), and they often criticize others and urge them to repent – as though the unrepentant could make this decision of his own and as though a mere person could influence someone to repent even though God has already made his decrees. Matt repeatedly warned Jesse to correct his ways and views as though Jesse has made the wrong theological choices contrary to God’s desires. Apparently God’s irresistible decrees do not always come about, if people believe in heresy against his will? How hard it is for Calvinists do be consistent with their semi-gnostic philosophy. Also the old church fathers before Augustine (who brought so many heresies into church) believed in man’s (libertarian) free will, and none believed in a depraved/ruined nature as can be seen here.

Best presentation and ability to stay on topic – Winner is Jesse who demolished Matt Slick. Jesse showed way more confidence and calmness in his speech despite that Matt sat beside him repeatedly flipping though his papers, adjusting his computer, rearranging stuff on his desk, making shoulder gymnastics, etc. While both naturally provided lots of scriptures and showed great Biblical knowledge, Jesse managed to squeeze in more scriptures without being boring, and selected clear verses which stood as great examples for man’s free will, synergism, and that God’s will does not always happen. Most importantly, he broke apart the verses that Matt provided for his case and when including the entire context the verses in no way confirm the Calvinistic stance but the exact opposite. Jesse spoke with authority without insulting the other person’s character, but rather explained why the teachings of Gnosticism and Calvinism are unbiblical heresies which also the early church fathers fought against. Jesse was way more organized also in his appearance, and unlike Slick he did not desperately search through his notes, folders or a computer. Jesse did not even bring a computer (he had his phone if needed) but trusted solely on his written material as well his book. He seemed to know his material as well as Bible verses by heart and acted as a real pro.

The fact that Matt Slick brought up the topic of open theism shows his desperation, because the topic was rather free will vs election (of human beings). Discussing open theism takes a lot of time and deserves a debate of its own. If Jesse would have spent time responding to Matt’s attempt to go down that rabbit hole, then it is a good guess that Matt would respond back and the debate would set off in a direction which was not intended. A skilled and polite debater knows how to stay on topic rather than getting off the track. It is common that debaters bring up other topics when they cannot refute the current ones on the table.

Most humble attitude and ability to present criticism without insults – Winner is Jesse who was far from being arrogant. ”You shall know them by their fruit”, and it is quite obvious who showed good fruit and who has more to learn. Matt revealed a lot about himself when he made so many faces during his opponent’s speech. I prefer to believe he was nervous rather than purposely trying to disturb his opponent, but it definitely looked disrespectful. The more time that passed, the more faces Matt made and I even saw him forming words with his mouth during Jesse’s later talks (hopefully not saying the words out loud). Maybe Matt reacted in this way because he is so used to his own Calvinistic environment where he does not get a lot of opposition like he did now.

Matt said something about seeing himself as the worst of sinners (listen to the debate to hear his exact phrase), and some people in the audience reacted on that during the Q & A section. Matt sighed about their questions and asked if they would like to know what he meant by that statement. It appears that he disapproved of people who took him by his words, rather than understanding there might be an underlying meaning. It is true that false accusations and misrepresentations should best be avoided, but Matt is pretty good at it himself (and I have listened to his radio shows so I know what I am talking about). When he later asked a girl if she was perfect and she said yes, then he replied something like ”Oh, so you’re divine!”, which she of course never claimed to be. Naturally Matt did not believe it either, but would he like to know what she meant by her affirmation? Could there be an underlying meaning? The fact is that it is possible to be perfect without being divine, so Matt did not need to make this accusation. She did not even claim to never having sinned. Jesus told us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, which means that we can. The question is rather what it MEANS, and it is quite clear that Matt feels that he has the right definition.

Some people in the audience could have sounded friendlier, focusing on formulating the question rather than ”telling” the debaters things, but then it is important to criticize the individuals it concerns rather than judging the entire audience as a group. In Matt’s case he should of course take it up with God if he believes that nothing comes to pass against his will. A consistent Calvinist should know that criticism about anything or anyone is criticism against God himself.

OUR good works will glorify God

If good works will glorify God, then it is hard to understand why God would force people to be wicked non-elect from the foundation of the world and send them to hell because of it (as though they could have made another option contrary to his decrees). Matt would likely protest against this description about forcing, but that is exactly what his doctrines about total depravity and predestination suggest and what Calvin and Calvinistic scholars have admitted (Jesse quoted some of them, but there are plenty more).

The idea that Jesus can transfer HIS righteousness into us is not a Biblical idea. We can of course read about ”imputed righteousness”, and it means to be regarded/reckoned as righteous because we ARE. We are, because we have been totally cleansed in the blood of Jesus and left our old sinful man behind.

Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see YOUR GOOD WORKS, and GLORIFY your Father which is in heaven.1—19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, AND SHALL TEACH MEN SO, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall DO AND TEACH THEM, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That EXCEPT YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL EXCEED the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Who would Matt Slick side with in Matt 5:16-20? The one who does the commandments (obeys them) and teach others that it is possible to do so? That is not the impression I got from the debate. He rather warned Jesse about the teaching that it is possible to refrain from all sin and that we are the ones who must live holy lives rather than leaning on someone else’s righteousness and continue sinning. Jesse is apparently in deep trouble for teaching the importance of being victorious over sin and being able to be completely faithful to Jesus by the way we are living (rather than relying on someone else’s righteousness being transferred into us). Is God particularly mad at those who live holy lives and teach others to do the same? If this is not what Matt meant, then maybe he should not have complained about Jesse’s holiness-teaching but rather supported him. Righteous people will go to heaven and sinners will go to hell. Not the other way around! The Bible provides a warning about teachers who tell others that it is not possible to be totally faithful to God, and that it is not a big deal for Christians since we are unconditionally and eternally saved anyway:

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: HE THAT DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS is righteous, even as he is righteous.

If Calvinism is right, people who have obeyed God to 100% will end up in hell, and Jesus death on the cross is a complete puzzle. Did something go wrong which necessitated Jesus death on the cross? Exactly what went wrong, and could not God have predestined people to live holy lives without the need for Jesus atonement? I cannot think of a religion/philosophy which maligns the character of God the way Calvinism does. Not even mormonism, JW or Catholicism. Many freewillers do what they can to protect God from all attacks by Calvinists, and we must continue to pray for people like Jesse who defends God’s pure character which is far from darkness and sin – and naturally for Matt Slick!

For Calvinists Calvinism is important. Their doctrines require that they blame God for all sin either directly or indirectly, but they must wrap this message in a lot of sweet words so that they can trick more people into falling for Calvinism.

Our righteousness is like filthy rags due to our INIQUITIES – Isaiah 64:6

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6)

This is the famous ”filthy rags” verse that sometimes is used as an attempt to support the idea that whatever we do – whether we are agnostics or christians – our best deeds are still viewed as filthy and unclean before God. But this is not what the verse is saying – particularly not if we view it in context. We can read that there are indeed people who wait for God and remember Him, and we can read about people who work righteousness. We can read about the REASON why certain people’s righteousness is like filthy rags before God and that it’s DUE TO INIQUITY. Sins always separate us from our Holy God. This is the entire context:

Isaiah 64:4For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that WAITETH for him5Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, those that REMEMBER thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. 6But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our INIQUITIES, like the wind, HAVE TAKEN US AWAY. 7And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, BECAUSE OF OUR INIQUITIES. 8But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 9Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

In the next chapter we can see more evidence of that it’s iniquities that cause God to view also our righteousness as filthy rags. There is no obligation to commit iniquities. God doesn’t want people to be rebellious and walk in a way that is unholy to him. We can read below that people walk after their own thoughts, provoke him to anger, offer sacrifices to false gods, make abominable things, blaspheme him, forsake him, refuse to answer him, refuse to hear him, make evil things before his eyes, do things he does not delight in, etc. People couldn’t possibly be predestined to ”choose” something that God does not take delight in, so this must mean that people have a free will to obey or disobey God. The next chapter says:

Isaiah 65: 2I have spread out my hands all the day unto a REBELLIOUS people, which walketh in a way that was not good, AFTER THEIR OWN THOUGHTS; 3A people that PROVOKETH me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; 4Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of ABOMINABLE THINGS is in their vessels;— 7Your INIQUITIES, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and BLASPHEMING ME upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.—11But ye are they that FORSAKE the LORD, that FORGET my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. 12THEREFORE will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: BECAUSE WHEN I CALLED, YE DID NOT ANSWER; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did EVIL BEFORE MY EYES, and did CHOOSE THAT WHEREIN I DELIGHTED NOT13Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:

It also makes perfect sense that God isn’t impressed even with our good deeds if we at the same time perform shameful things in other areas of our lives. (And as we know obedience is better than offerings.) If we confess our sins and REPENT on the other hand, then we are CLEANSED and regarded as righteous before God since we have no sins on our account any more. But we will never be considered ”righteous” as long as we live unrighteous lives. 

Our good works CAN please God IF we live righteously, and then they are NOT viewed as ”filthy rags”:

Matthew 25:21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35But in every nation he that feareth him, and WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, is accepted with him.

2 Pet 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed HIS righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)

Rom. 2:Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

Luke 6:45A good manout of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

The better option is to live holy lives, because then we don’t provide ”filthy rags” before God.