Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Romans 4:4-8
If you were to stack your good deeds alongside the righteousness that God credits to your account, it would be small indeed. Even if you were the modern day Mother Teresa by giving yourself completely to the cause of the poor, it would be slightly better though not much. It’s like comparing the amount of water in a mud puddle to the amount in the Atlantic Ocean. Is there really any comparison?
But faith is the key to having this righteousness credited unto us by the “God who justifies the ungodly.”
You could go your whole life doing good deeds, spreading good cheer, and being perfect in the eyes of the world, but your righteousness would still be that mud puddle in our illustration.
Having simple faith (like that of a little child) is vital to entering the kingdom of God (Luke 18:17, Matthew 18:3, Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 21:16). Without it, it’s impossible to enter (Hebrews 11:6).