Why can’t our good works be counted as righteousness before God?

Q:  But why cannot our good works be the whole, or part of our righteousness before God?
A:  Because, that the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect,1 and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.2

The Heidelberg Catechism (#62)

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1 “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”” (Galatians 3:10 ESV); ““‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” (Deuteronomy 27:26 ESV)
2 “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” (Isaiah 64:6 ESV)

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I’ve been acting like I’m okay, but I’m not

“He serves God, does not swear, honors father and mother, does not kill, does not commit adultery, and the like. Meanwhile, however, he does not observe his heart, does not note the reason why he is leading such a good life. He does not see that he is merely covering the old hypocrite in his heart with such a beautiful life.”

Presumption Produces Self-Deceptionby Tullian Tchividjian