He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit – Titus 3:5 NIV.
I know a man who gave his life to the Lord and dedicated himself to purity. He studied the scriptures very closely and meditated daily so he would not sin against his God. For the longest time he “walked” in purity and was very puffed up about himself. He attributed his “sinless” nature to how much he prayed and fasted. The things he used to struggle with all fell off and he boasted to himself about his new righteous path.
His thorn in the flesh came back and he fell over and over again. He fasted and read the Bible even more and yet he fell again and again. He could not understand why his mind didn’t submit to his will. He started believing that he is not meditating enough and went deeper into the word.
He then realised that righteousness has nothing to do with how much you pray and fast but has everything to do with the grace God has availed for you not to sin (2 Corinthians 12:9). He realised that he had to remain in the vine and God will take care of the rest, no branch can bear fruit on its own (John 15). It is the vine that supplies the nutrients to bear fruit. Righteousness is a gift and not attained by works.
The more he surrenders control and trusts in the vine the more he is humbled because he now realises he can’t do it on his own. He now realises he needs grace more than all other saints. He is the worst sinner and it’s God’s mercy that sustains him. He no longer judges other “weak” saints because he now understands it’s all about grace and mercy, not about works (Titus 3:5-7).
Righteousness has nothing to do with how much you pray and fast but has everything to do with the grace God has availed for you not to sin