Oh dear, this is getting more obscure in my mind instead of clearer. Nevertheless, I heroically press on with what is likely to be a series of questions rather than answers...
To push the dialectic theme a bit further, and perhaps to locate it at a deeper and more important place: What is the relationship between the righteousness of Christ and the righteous acts of the Christian?
Again, one could envisage a straightforward relationship, perhaps even a relationship of identity. I don't think Scripture allows us to tread that path. Christ's righteousness is once-for-all, and is now in heaven. He doesn't require our participation (in this sense) to complete who he is and what he has done. Jesus' righteousness and the Christian's righteous deeds cannot be identified in a straightforward manner at all.
I think I prefer to say - because I think this is what comes across in the Pauline writings especially - that the righteous deeds of the Christian are an answer (temporal, partial, inadequate, but nevertheless real) to the righteousness of Christ which is extended to the believer. Christ's righteousness (which is also my righteousness by faith) is one thing; my righteous acts are another thing, which relate to the former as a witness. To put it another way, an absolute monarch could make an absolute proclamation; if his subjects say 'yes' to it, it adds nothing to the proclamation, but merely shows their approval, their belief in the rightness of the proclamation. Does that make sense?
So I think there is a heavenly/earthly dialectic going on here. My righteousness is Christ, who is in heaven; my reply to that righteousness is righteous deeds.
But has anything really changed in me?
The answer is yes, but I won't write about it until Monday at least.