The etymological essence of the word, ‘righteousness’ in its root form, diké, implies the idea of two parties finding likeness in each other, without any interference or suspicion of blame, guilt or inferiority. The reference to Abraham finding he was righteous, has the idea of ‘being on the right path.’ Righteousness originally has no legal connotations at all.
The Hebrew word for righteousness is tzadok, which has its origin in the wooden beam used to balance scales, in a system of weights and measures used for commercial purposes, where fraud and deception are not allowed. Therefore the basic sense of the word means ‘not to deviate from a standard.’ Merchants scales were supposed to be regularly checked, as they still are today, with a ‘standard’ weight.
When Adam lost the glory of God (Heb. kavod; weight, the standard weight, continually being conscious of being God’s likeness and image,) the law proved that no amount of good works could balance the scales again. Grace reveals how God in Christ on the cross redeemed His image and likeness in human kind, now the scales are perfectly balanced.
Jesus scooped up the Adamic race of mankind into himself on the cross and died, thereby all mankind died in Christ. All were buried with him and all have been raised with Him, made righteous. Paul points out the importance of realising this at the beginning of Rom.6. This is God’s perspective of mankind. This is what God believes about you. You have been crucified with Christ…Gal.2:20
Not all mankind believe this about themselves and therefore remain in darkness.