Ever since man became a sinner, he has been self-righteous. When man had a perfect righteousness before God, he did not glory in it nor cherish it; but ever since man has fallen and lost all righteousness, he has PRETENDED TO HAVE ONE! Immediately after his fall, Adam wrapped himself in his apron of leaves and began to defend himself by blaming his troubles on God who gave to him the woman, and the woman for giving him the fruit. As it was with Adam, so it is with all men; we justify ourselves before God and men. Self-righteousness, is born within us; and while we can, to a degree, control lust, lies, and murder, our self-righteousness will not allow us to confess our sins and come to God for mercy as guilty sinners. Millions of sermons have been preached against self-righteousness, but it remains the number one sin which keeps men from coming to Christ.
One well said, "I scarcely ever preach a sermon without condeming self-righteousness, yet I find I cannot preach it down. Men still boast of who they are, what they have done, what they have NOT done, and mistake the road to heaven to be one paved by their own works and merit." God help us!