For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
What did the Apostle Paul mean when he wrote in his letter to the Romans, “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin?” I believe he was trying to convey the idea that apart from faith we can not please God. All we do, all our good deeds, despite what lofty thoughts we may have, are often consciously, or unconsciously, performed with ulterior motives. We are trying to find favor with God, or man, or simply trying to make us feel better about ourselves. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” God is not pleased or displeased with us according to our actions, but according to our heart. Our righteous acts are not what put us right in his eyes. 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.” It is our faith in Jesus that makes us right with God. He looks at a Christian, and sees the obedience and good works of His only begotten Son. If this were not the case, then we would have reason to be prideful of our actions, thinking we are earning our way to heaven. Romans 3: 27-28 “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” The law of Moses was given to us, so we could see our need for a Savior, not to save us! Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” When we come to an understanding that we are all sinners, in need of a Savior, we are at a place where God can begin to work with us. Matthew 9:13 “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” If we think we are righteous, we are delusional, we are fooling ourselves, but not God. Repentance begins with repenting of our pride and self worth, not of any actual sin. Knowing how much God loves us, being the sinners we are, gradually leads us to become more like him. Romans 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”