What is self-righteousness? Self-righteousness is righteousness done by self, for self, apart from God.
What is God’s righteousness? It is righteous acts that God does daily for widows in distress, orphans and those who have no helper. It is anything God does in the way of righteous acts.
Can humans perform God’s righteousness? Most certainly! Righteousness is the heart and core of Jesus Christ’s message. Jesus did all His righteousness in the name of the Father when He was performing His Father’s works upon this earth (John 10:25, 37-38).
We are to do all our works of righteousness in the name of Jesus Christ for the glory of the Father (Col. 3:17; Matt. 5:16). Jesus said to have people over for dinner who cannot return the favor (Luke 14:12-13). He said to help people who have no money, visit the sick, clothe the naked, give a person a place to stay who is in need of it, practice hospitality, visit the widow in her affliction, help the orphans, and pray for people (Matt. 25:33-40).
On and on the Scriptures go, showing us how to do Christ’s deeds or works and, in the process of doing so, overcome our human natures (Rev. 2:26; John 14:12). No wonder disciples back in Christ’s day did such mighty works (Acts 9:36). The apostles were making people who were doers of the word (Titus 3:8; James 1:22). They were becoming happy slaves of righteousness. They were doing God’s Will, which is righteousness, from the heart (Eph. 6:6). The rich were told to be rich in good deeds with their money and to be always ready to share (1 Tim. 6:18). Even Zacchaeus understood what God meant by repentance when he vowed to give half of his wealth to the poor and pay back four times what he had taken fraudulently from people (Luke 19:8). He knew God’s policy of righteousness never changes.
Ezekiel 33:14-16 says, if the wicked turns from his ways and starts to practice justice and righteousness, he shall surely live. If he pays his debts to others, none of his sins will be remembered against him. If he has started to practice righteousness and justice, he will surely live. Remember, God never changes (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8).
In every nation, the man who respects (fears) God and practices righteousness is welcome to Him (Acts 10:35). The righteousness God wants from us is His righteousness, not self-righteousness (1 John 3:7). So, beware of practicing your righteousness to be noticed by other people, because that is self-righteousness (Matt. 6:1). Instead, find out what God expects and begin to practice doing your righteous acts for God’s glory daily (Matt. 5:16, 20; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2:15; Col. 3:17). Then you, like Abraham, will be God’s friend (James 2:23).