Not Faith, But Christ

Faith is not perfection. Yet only by perfection can we be saved; either our
own or another’s. That which is imperfect cannot justify, and an imperfect
faith could not in any sense be a righteousness. If it is to justify, it must
be perfect. It must be like “the Lamb, without blemish and without spot.” An
imperfect faith may connect us with the perfection of another; but it cannot
of itself do aught for us, either in protecting us from wrath or securing the
divine acquittal. All faith here is imperfect; and our security is this, that
it matters not how poor or weak our faith may be: if it touches the perfect
One, all is well.

Faith is not Christ, nor the cross of Christ. Faith is not the blood, nor the
sacrifice; it is not the altar, nor the laver, nor the mercy-seat, nor the
incense. It does not work, but accepts a work done ages ago; it does not wash,
but leads us to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. It does not create;
it merely links us to that new thing which was created when the “everlasting
righteousness” was brought in (Dan 9:24).

And as faith goes on, so it continues; always the beggar’s outstretched hand,
never the rich man’s gold; always the cable, never the anchor; the knocker,
not the door, or the palace, or the table; the handmaid, not the mistress;
the lattice which lets in the light, not the sun.

Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness