The presence of the Holy Ghost shed abroad in our hearts, the Author both of faith and of renewal, this is really that which makes us righteous, and…our righteousness is the possession of that presence.
Justification actually is ascribed in Scripture to the presence of the Holy Spirit, and that immediately, neither faith nor renewal intervening.
For instance, St. Peter speaks of our being “elect through sanctification,” or consecration “of the Spirit, unto,” that is, in order to, “obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” that is, the Holy Ghost is given us unto, or in order to, renovation and justification.
Again: we are said by St. Paul to be “washed, sanctified, and justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
The same Apostle says, “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
Again: “The law of the Spirit of life hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Again: Christ says, “It is the Spirit that giveth life,” life being the peculiar attribute or state of “the just,” as St. Paul, and the prophet Habakkuk before him, declare.
These passages taken together…show that justification is wrought by the power of the Spirit, or rather by His presence within us.
And this being the real state of a justified man, faith and renewal are both present also, but as fruits of it;—faith, because it is said, “We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith;” and renewal, because in another passage, “renewing of the Holy Ghost” is made equivalent to “being justified by His grace.”
[...] Justification may fitly be called an “inspiration of the Spirit of Christ,” or a spiritual presence. Again in the Baptismal Service, in which we pray God that the child to be baptized may “receive remission of his sins,” which surely implies justification, “by spiritual regeneration,” which is as surely the gift of the Spirit.
[...] We are told, by way of comment upon St. Paul’s words, “Who rose again for our justification,” that Christ “rose again to send down His Holy Spirit to rule in our hearts, to endow us with perfect righteousness.”
[...] In this way David’s words in the 85th Psalm are fulfilled, “Truth hath sprung out of the earth, and righteousness hath looked down from heaven,” in that “from the earth is the Everlasting Verity, God’s Son, risen to life, and the true righteousness of the Holy Ghost, looking out of heaven, and in most liberal largess dealt upon all the world?”
Justifying righteousness, then, consists in the coming and presence of the Holy Ghost within us.
John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification: Lecture 6, The Gift of Righteousness.