Righteousness

—that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
— Philippians 3:8-9

The righteousness of God by faith is so far from being a thing built on the rubbish heap of legal fiction called vicarious sacrifice, or its shadow called imputed righteousness, that only the child with the child-heart, so far ahead of and so different from the wise and prudent, can understand it. The wise and prudent interprets God by himself, and does not understand him; the child interprets God by himself, and does understand him. The wise and prudent must make a system and arrange things to his mind before he can say, I believe. The child sees, believes, obeys—and knows he must be perfect as his father in heaven is perfect. If an angel, seeming to come from heaven, told him that God had let him off, did not require so much of him as that, because it was so hard for him to be quite good, and he loved him so dearly, the child of God would at once recognize, woven with the angel’s starry brilliance, the flicker of the flames of hell, and would say to the shining one, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Nor would there be the slightest wonder or merit in his doing so, for at the words of the deceiver, if but for briefest moment imagined true, the shadow of a rising hell would gloom over the face of creation; hope would vanish; glory would die out of the face of God—until the groan of a thunderous no burst from the caverns of the universe, and the truth, flashing on his child’s soul from the heart of the Eternal, withered up the lie of the messenger of darkness.