Isaiah 64:6 KJV
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.
This verse is used by some to discourage self effort in living righteously.
I tell you a truth.
God might have a use for your filthy rags.
There is a song, Must I go and empty handed. Must I go and empty handed, thus my redeemed meet? Not one day of service give Him, lay no trophy at his feet.
Don’t let anyone, especially a so called preacher of the Word talk you out of trying to do right and having good works.
Notice in Acts 10:4 KJV how Cornelius is rewarded with an angelic visit that eventually saves his house, … What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
Many have defined Grace as unmerited favor. Remember God can and does reward based on merit as well.