I have been a Christian for over twenty years. My conduct has changed, but my righteousness has never changed. It will not change in another twenty years because my righteousness is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even if I become as fallen as Demas or Alexander the coppersmith, I will not be more unrighteous than I already am. On the other hand, even if I suffer as much as Paul did, love the Lord as much as John did, and am as bold as Peter was, it will not increase my righteousness at all. My conduct may improve, but my righteousness can never improve. I can advance in holiness, but I cannot advance in my righteousness, because the righteousness that God has given me is already perfect. This righteousness is just Christ. I am the most righteous person on earth because my righteousness is just Christ. Just as Christ never changes and is well pleasing to God, I cannot change, and I am well pleasing to Him.
Once this issue is settled, all the problems that a Christian faces are settled. We have seen that righteousness has nothing to do with sin. Sin is one thing, righteousness is another. If our coming to God is based on this righteousness, Satan can do nothing to accuse us. I hope that we will not take these words as just a kind of doctrine. In the course of our fellowship with God, we have to see something new. We have to see that man’s condition before God can be good or bad, but his position before God can never change. If our life as a Christian lasts for twenty or thirty more years on this earth, we may become more advanced, holy, spiritual, or mature, but our righteousness will not change. It will not afford us more boldness, nor will it take away any of our boldness, because our righteousness is simply Christ Himself.
(Christ our Righteousness, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)