Paul writes "For while we were powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."
Too often, one comes across participants or members in Christian churches who have the idea that God saves those who are GOOD. You know the type, I'm a Christian because I try to keep the Ten Commandments, or God saves me because I'm different than others who do not go to church or pray - at least I'm trying to do right and serve him.
But Scripture presents a different teaching when it comes to salvation. Christ did not come to die for those who are good, or for the godly, but for the ungodly.
Part of the problem is that many misunderstand the use of the Ten Commandments. Many live or speak as if the Ten Commandments were given for us to try to keep as if to "prove" our righteousness to God or show how good we are or can be. However, God knew of man's fall in the garden and the fact that through Adam's sin all became sinners and are therefore incapable of keep the Ten Commandments. Then for what reason were the commandments given? Paul writes: "the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ" (Gal 3:24). It does this by setting the standard of God's righteousness before us and proving to us our unrighteousness and therefore our need for Christ, one who has come in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be met in us, not through our own works, but through the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us.
In this light, we come to see that before one comes to understand salvation and the grace offered by Jesus Christ, they must first comes to see themselves as "ungodly". (Note, it's not those who are well but those who are sick who need a doctor; likewise it's not those who think themselves good or godly but those who have come to admit themselves to be ungodly who need a Savior.)
This condition of thinking Christ came for those who are "good" is a plague that looms over many and must be addressed not only if these individuals are to be saved but if our churches are to serve as effectively lights to the world in regard to God's saving grace. Make it a point to draw attention to this distinction for many are blindly unaware of it.
Good point. Paul pointed out that the law was a ministry of death that was being brought to an end and the writer of Hebrews informs us that the new covenant in the blood of Christ made the old covenant obsolete [Heb. 8:13]. As you say, anyone basing their righteousness on the terms of the old [Mosaic] covenant rather than fleeing to Christ in repentance and mercy is badly mistaken.