So how are we to understand this theme as paul & James wrote about it? Are we sinners because we sin or do we sin because we are sinners? Are we righteous because of what we do, or are we made righteous, so that only a rightoues person can keep a righteous Law?
So what about the 1888 Message, where the Righteousness of Christ The Person took a higher profile than a rifghteousness based upon human performance in connection to the keeping of the Ten Commandments? Keeping God's Law does not make us into Christians, yet where Christ is at the heart of The Believer, it is impossible to follow Him, without keeping The Law.
Is Paul & James looking at the different sides of the same coin? Paul, heads it that without the righteousness of Chrtist by faith all our law keeping is a waist of time, while James looking at the other side of The Coin declares, unless we keep God's Law, the righteousness that appears to be by faith is without substance. (See Romans 3: 10 - 12, 19 & 20, 21 - 28 with James 2: 14 - 26 & Rev 14: 12)
1 Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
2 Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith
We find among the writings of our dear sister the following quote...
Selected Messages Book 3 (1980), page 168, paragraph 1
Chapter Title: Ellen G. White Reports on the Minneapolis Conference
Justification and Christ's Righteousness Presented.--Elder E. J. Waggoner had the privilege granted him of speaking plainly and presenting his views upon justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ in relation to the law. This was no new light, but it was old light placed where it should be in the third angel's message. . . . What is the burden of that message? John sees a people. He says, "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12). This people John beholds just before he sees the Son of man "having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle" (verse 14).
The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials (1987), page 1782, paragraph 2
Chapter Title: To Brn-Srs. of the Iowa Conference (cf. Lt 165, 1901)
Christ Our Righteousness. I am sorry that so many are doubtful in regard to justification by faith, and that some are standing in opposition to the light that God has given on this subject. Sinners are committed for trial. They must answer the charge of transgressing God's law. Their only hope is to accept Jesus Christ, their Substitute. He has redeemed the fallen race from the curse of the law, having been made sin--a curse--for them. Nothing but the grace of Christ is sufficient to free the transgressor from bondage. Through His grace those who are obedient to God's commandments are made free!
Last but by no means least, can this be said of us? Bye God's grace, let the answer be, NO!
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (1923), page 449, paragraph 2
Chapter Title: Elevate the Standard [THIS SECTION IS A REPRINTOF THE TRACT, THE SIN OF LICENTIOUSNESS.]
But many--not a few, but many--have been losing their spiritual zeal and consecration, and turning away from the light that has been constantly growing brighter and brighter, and have refused to walk in the truth because its sanctifying power upon the soul was not what they desired. They might have been renewed in holiness and have reached the elevated standard that God's word demands; but condemnation is upon them. Many ministers and many people are in darkness. They have lost sight of the Leader, the Light of the world; (Page 450 onwards) and their guilt is proportionate to the grace and truth opened to their understanding, which has been abundant and powerful.
Your views would be more than welcome, but above all our prayers, for a purer heart before God! Amen!