but this lies at the bottom of all the saints' communion with Christ -- a deep, fixed, resolved persuasion of an absolute and indispensable necessity of a righteousness wherewith to appear before God.
The holiness of God's nature, the righteousness of his government, the severity of his law, the terror of his wrath are always before them. They have been convinced of sin, and have looked on themselves as ready to sink under the vengeance due to it.
They have all cried, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved?' 'Wherewith shall we come before God?' and have all concluded, that it is vain to flatter themselves with hopes of escaping as they are by nature.
If God be holy and righteous, and of purer eyes that to behold iniquity [Hab. 1:13], they must have a righteousness to stand before him;
and they know what will be the cry one day of those who now bear up themselves, as if they were otherwise minded (Isa. 53:1-5; Mic. 6:6-7).
They weigh their own righteousness in the balance, and find it wanting..."
- John Owen, Communion with the Triune God