Our purest works are no better than filthy rags, when tried by the light of God’s holy law. The white robe which Jesus offers, and faith puts on, must be our only righteousness – the name of Christ our only confidence – the Lamb’s book of life our only title in heaven.

[Yet…]

Jesus is a complete Saviour. He does not merely take away the guilt of a believer’s sin, He does more – He breaks its power. (1 Peter 1.2; Rom 8.29; Eph 1.4; Heb 7.10).

“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, flee to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace.”

If we say with Paul “O wretched man that I am,” let us also be able to say with him, “I press toward the mark.” Let us not quote his example in one thing, while we do not follow him in another. (Rom 7.24; Phil 3.14).

J.C. Ryle, Holiness (chapter 3).