The righteousness of the flesh is futile. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, no matter how zealous it seems to work for God. It can never profit the spiritual life nor can it fulfill the righteousness of God.
The Bible says: “To set the mind on the flesh is death…” (Rom. 8:6). It is opposed to the ways of God (Rom. 8:7). Not the slightest chance is there of peaceful coexistence. Sin is the issue of the flesh, whether noble or ignoble; irrespective of righteous acts which can be done independently of God.
The flesh does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. the better it works, the farther it is from God. How many good people are willing to believe in Jesus? How many are willing to come unto God’s presence not because they think they merit it by their works but on the ground of Christ’s righteousness? We must remember that self-righteousness is not righteousness at all. In fact it is unrighteousness. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8).
Our motivation in serving God matters a lot to Him. He diligently searches out the motivation behind every service done unto Him, whether they spring from a pure heart or not. What is the source of our motivation in serving God? However beautiful a man’s activities may be, if they do not spring from a complete trust in the Holy Spirit, they are carnal and are therefore rejected by God.