It needs to be said that while righteousness is expected of God’s people, any attempt to produce it on our own will result in hypocrisy and spiritual pride. Both of which God detests. However, Isaiah 57 discusses how the wicked do not recognize their sinfulness or turn from it. For, “there is no peace for the wicked.” Isaiah 56-57 discusses a people who have become self-righteous based on who they think they are as opposed to who they truly are.
One question to ask: Is my “righteousness” any different from the world’s “righteousness?” Most polls today show that the lives of evangelical Christians are indistinguishable from the world around them. What does this mean?
It reminds me of the situation described by Isaiah in chapter 56:1-8. “Birthright” in itself means nothing. If you read the text it is clear that God was not only concerned whether a person was a physical descendent of Jacob. Rather he was concerned with the heart that was willing to worship Him no matter the cost. In the same sense, I don’t think God is as impressed or moved as we may think He is by the “things we do” for Him.
Rather, what truly matters is evidence of His behavior, His attitudes, His passions exhibited in the lives of those who say they know Him. When it is truly He whom we want, then true righteousness will follow as He guides and directs in our lives. The pursuit is not of righteousness. The pursuit is of God.