The Last Farthing

—Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing.

— St. Matthew 5:26

Neither shalt thou be delivered from the necessity of being good by being made good. Neither death nor any admittance into good company will make thee good; though, doubtless, if thou be willing and try, these and all other best helps will be given thee. There is no clothing in a robe of imputed righteousness, that poorest of legal cobwebs spun by spiritual spiders. Christ is our righteousness, not that we should escape punishment, still less escape being righteous, but as the live potent creator of righteousness in us, so that we, with our wills receiving his spirit, shall like him resist unto blood, striving against sin; shall know in ourselves, as he knows, what a lovely thing is righteousness, what a mean, ugly, unnatural thing is unrighteousness. He is our righteousness, and that righteousness is no fiction, no pretense, no imputation. 

Righteousness is just fairness—from God to man, from man to God and to man; it is giving everyone his due. He is righteous, and no one else, who does this. And any system that claims there is any salvation but that of becoming righteous even as Jesus is righteous; that a man can be made good, without his own willed share in the making; that a man is saved by having his sins hidden under a robe of imputed righteousness—that system is of the devil and not of God. Thank God, not even error shall injure the true of heart; it is not wickedness. They grow in the truth, and as love casts out fear, so truth casts our falsehood.