If you had asked the people during the time of Christ they would have said that the Pharisees and Religious leaders were great examples of righteousness. Yet, look at what Jesus said about them!
“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:20
The Religious leaders sought to look righteous, but Jesus saw their hearts. It is what is in the heart that counts. Lest we pick on them, we also can pretend to be more righteous than we are. We can fool those around us, but we cannot fool God.
Good works are great, but we must be aware of our own motives behind our good works. Our desire should be to please God and not man. God wants us to live righteous lives, but it must begin in our hearts and not in our outward appearance.