On the other hand, there are those who become so obsessed with their own “works-righteousness,” with their own goodness, that they do not look to Christ as the true fountain of all righteousness. Men and women must rely “wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save” (see 2 Nephi 31:19). In the purest sense, the works of righteousness which a person performs—ordinances of salvation and deeds of Christian service—are necessary but are insufficient to lead to salvation.
No matter what a man may do in this life, his works will not save him: he will always fall short and thus be “an unprofitable servant” (Mosiah 2:21)without the grace or divine assistance of God. Indeed, it is only after a person has so performed a lifetime of works and faithfulness—only after he has come to deny himself of all ungodliness and every worldly lust—that the grace of God, that spiritual increment of power, is efficacious.
In the language of Moroni:
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32; italics added).