“At the same time righteous and a sinner.”
There are two senses in which the believer must view himself. In one sense, the Father sees us as He sees Christ. Jesus having fulfilled all righteousness and offering Himself up for us, has now given us His righteousness (an alien righteousness, or a righteousness that we did not produce or merit by “works of the law”). It is His gift, and His to give to whomever He pleases. While we must always see ourselves as the Father sees Christ in His righteousness and glory, at the same time, we must never forget our present position, as still possessing sin. We are sinners. This is the very thing the Jews, particularly in Jesus’ time, had forgotten. They believed that because the Lord had chosen them as His people that they must have been better than the rest. But they were just as unworthy to receive any particular blessing from the Lord as the rest of us. They did not merit it or deserve it. The Lord called Abraham, the father of us all who have believed (Old Testament and New Testament believers), out of the Chaldeans, out of the land of Ur, a pagan land where other gods were worshipped. The Jews are completely unworthy of any of God’s graces, just as we all are. They believed they were clean by obeying the law outwardly, and possessed no sin, and didn’t consider for a moment that they were still sinners. We will not be perfect in this life and will not be glorified until we die and go to be with the Lord forever. And so, at the present time, we still possess sin. In 1 John, we are told that if we claim to be without sin, we make [Christ] out to be a liar! But we do not hone in on this one reality and lose all hope, but we flee to Christ who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. Therefore, we consider both of these realities at the same time, that we now possess the very righteousness of Christ because of His work, that the Father sees us as He sees His Son, and we are totally unworthy. We are sinners and still sin, but we must run to Christ, the only One who can cleanse us from all unrighteousness, because He is righteous and makes intercession for us before the Father as our great High Priest.