In his endeavor to bring us down, Satan wields a two-edged sword: “It only makes sense that God would expect you to perform for your salvation,” he says. And on the flip side, “Give it up! You’re a failure! You’ll never be able to overcome that sin. You can’t please God unless you work at this thing a little harder.” His devices really shouldn’t surprise us, though. He is unambiguously described in Scripture both as the deceiver and the accuser of God’s people.(Revelation 12:9-10)
Satan’s tactic of accusation is always rooted in lies. Jesus said it well in John 8:44, “…Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The devil is a master of manipulation, having perfected his methods of deceit and accusation through the combined experience of thousands of years of both observation and application.
But Paul knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we cannot earn our way into good standing with God. Through Christ, God made provision for our righteousness in spite of our sin, and in so doing He also chose to override the necessity of performing good works in order to satisfy Him. So it’s not hard to see why the utmost desire of Paul’s heart, both for himself and for others, was to be found in Christ—having a righteousness anchored in God’s provision rather than our own efforts.(Philippians 3:9)
Excerpted from: Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself