Righteousness means right standing with God.
In human relationships, to be in right standing with each other we need to do things for each other. It is natural to have the same attitude towards God, to think that we can obtain righteousness with God by simply doing good things. Some people live by comparing their behaviour to other people. When they notice that they behave/act better than their neighbour then they consider themselves in right standing with God, which is not the case.
Your neighbour is not the reference point for right standing with God (righteousness), Jesus Christ is.
There is no amount of good that you did, are doing or will ever do that will make you be in right standing with God.
It is said that, it is wise to learn from your mistakes but it is much wiser if one learnt from the mistakes of another.
In the Bible there is a story of a man Paul. His name was originally Saul. Many people remember him for persecuting the early Church (people who believed in Jesus Christ). As a teenager I always thought that Paul was an evil man but as I read the Bible more, I got to discover that he had misplaced zeal.
In Philippians 3:1 – 11, the Apostle Paul writes about his experience in attaining right standing with God.
In this account, Apostle Paul writes about two sides of attaining right standing with God. He wrote to the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi. These Christians had believed in Jesus Christ. Though they had believed, they were being troubled by the Jewish teachers who told them that their salvation was incomplete unless they circumcised their flesh. The Jewish teachers put confidence in the things they did for righteousness (right standing with God). They thought that by circumcising the flesh and performing all the ceremonial laws then they would be right with God.
Apostle Paul writes to the Philippians and tells them that he too like the Jewish teachers had been zealous concerning the law by doing everything it required so that he could attain right standing with God. But having come to the knowledge of Christ Jesus he realised that all he had done to be right with God had been useless.
The Apostle Paul laid all that down, so that he could attain right standing with God by having faith in Christ Jesus alone and not by his own works of righteousness.
Like I said at the beginning some people think that their good works can make them right with God. They claim that they are already born – again because they don’t do any bad things which they have seen other people do. Salvation is attained through belief and confession of Jesus Christ.
True righteousness is not from the law; true righteousness is through faith in Christ Jesus. True righteousness is from God by faith. Not from what you do but from what Jesus Christ did.
Scriptures for study; 2 Corinthians 5:21, Ephesians 2:1 – 10, Philippians 3:1 – 11