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Our Only Righteousness

It is our wisdom, and our comfort; we care for no knowledge in the world but this, that man hath sinned, and God hath suffered; that God hath made Himself the sin of men, and that men are made the righteousness of God.

The righteousness wherein we must be found, if we will be justified, is not our own … Christ hath merited righteousness for as many as are found in Him. In Him God findeth us, if we be faithful; for by faith we are incorporated into Him. Then, although in ourselves we be altogether sinful and unrighteous, yet even the man who in himself is impious, full of iniquity, full of sin; him being found in Christ through faith, and having his sin in hatred through repentance; him God beholdeth with a gracious eye, putting away his sin by not imputing it, taketh quite away the punishment due thereunto by pardoning it; and accepteth him in Jesus Christ, as perfectly righteous, as if he had fulfilled all that is commanded him in the law: shall I say more perfectly righteous than if himself had fulfilled the whole law! I must take heed what I say: but the apostle saith, “God made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Such we are in the sight of God the Father, as is the very Son of God Himself. Let it be counted folly, or frenzy, or fury, or whatsoever. It is our wisdom, and our comfort; we care for no knowledge in the world but this, that man hath sinned, and God hath suffered; that God hath made Himself the sin of men, and that men are made the righteousness of God.

—Richard Hooker
The Works of Richard Hooker, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1845), 3:490-1.