“On my own, I am not righteous or good. But under the grace and mercy of God, I am granted the “vicarious righteousness,” as you termed it.” (Darius)
I think the key thing to understand here is the term ‘righteous’ and what that means. I am not sure in our current society we have a real grasp on what is being said when that term is being used biblically.
To be ‘right-eous’ is to be in good standing with some object – in this case the law. What it means is you are living by the law and are in ‘right’ standing with what is being asked of you.
Now since you are a Gentile, like myself, we are actually exempt from the law – since we are not required to follow it (not being Jewish and all). Paul makes this same argument a bunch of times – however his clause seems to be because Jesus included us in the ‘faith’ tree (as a branch of that tree) and this inclusion by the messiah has also made us exempt from the law (which we were anyways). Now one can see Jesus as fulfilling our place as Gentiles to fulfill our righteousness before the law, thus providing the exemption (which seems to be what you are saying). I basically see it as inclusion and we still have to live ‘righteous lives’ to the teachings of Jesus.
I know it sucks but we’ll never be perfect or ‘good enough’ as compared to the standards set. However, the goal seems to be a disciple, a student of the teacher (master in the subject) and to follow it the best we can to show we actually are his students. Now some might get a 60% while others get a 80% – but nonetheless they are all students of the same teacher. The hope is we take the teachings, elaborate for our situations, and build from them – proving the teacher’s work was not in ‘error’. That’s not really about perfection as much as it is about following a paradigm and ‘way’ of living to honor your master.
So I think that you have to be righteous in some way, in fact the gospels make no bones about that concept and applying it to people trying to live in that ‘way’. If it is vicarious – and we are added righteousness – then why stay a Christian…isn’t all your spiritual needs fulfilled already by the vicariousness of that righteousness?
*Comment was said on Stupid Church People’s blog ‘Church People Say Some Dumb Sh*t’