There’s an old play on the word justified: “just-as-if-I’d never sinned.”
But here’s another way of saying it: “just-as-if-I’d always obeyed.” Both are true.
The first refers to the transfer of our moral debt to Christ so we’re left with a “clean” ledger, just as if we’d never sinned.
The second tells us our ledger is now filled with the perfect righteousness of Christ, so it’s just as if we’d always obeyed.
That’s why we can come confidently into the very presence of God (Hebrews 4:16; 10:19) even though we’re still sinners–saved sinners to be sure, but still practicing sinners every day in thought, word, deed, and motive.
~ Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington in The Bookends of the Christian Life, page 26.