Feeling discouraged, all too aware of your failings? Feeling puffed up, deceived by your own public displays of spirituality? Ah, take a deep breath and rejoice in the gospel of our Lord Jesus. A gem from the sixteenth-century Anglican theologian Richard Hooker…

Although in ourselves we be altogether sinful and unrighteous, yet even the person who in themselves is impious, full of iniquity, full of sin, them being found in Christ through faith, and having their sin in hatred through repentance, them God beholds with a gracious eye, putting away their sin by not imputing it, taking quite away the punishment due thereunto, by pardoning it, and accepting them in Jesus Christ as perfectly righteous, as if they had fulfilled all that is commanded them in the law: shall I say more perfectly righteous than if they had fulfilled the whole law?

I must take heed what I say; but the Apostle says, “God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” [2 Cor 5:21]. 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 people have sinned and God has suffered; that God has made himself the sin of people, and that people are made the righteousness of God.

Richard Hooker, Learned Discourse of Justification (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hooker/just.iii.html)