As far as I can tell from scripture, the Christian life starts with the assumption that fallen man is irreparably corrupt. Christianity means viewing Adam's race as incapable of producing anything for God.
When we look at the Cross, we see the end of Adam's race (Romans 6:11), the world it created (Galatians 6:14), and our connections with that whole order of things (Colossians 3:1). When we contemplate the resurrection, we see there is a new creation, and it's there - and only there - God is pleased (Galatians 6:15).
We recognize that God accepts us solely "in Christ" (Ephesians 1:6). Because God sees us in Christ, He sees neither our sins nor our righteousnesses (Philippians 3:9).
We are here waiting for God's Son from heaven: we expect Him to come and change our vile bodies - bodies tied to Adam's race and world - to be like His: bodies fit and designed for the new creation (Philippians 3:20).
Meanwhile, we live here in this fallen world. We count ourselves to have died with Christ, because that's what God says happened (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3). We see in ourselves remnants of the life that ended at the cross, but we count that life as over (Romans 6:11; Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:5). We put to death the remnants of the lives that ended at the cross while we wait for Christ (Colossians 3:5; Romans 8:13).
We walk in this wicked world as men and women who have died (Romans 6:13). Our hearts and eyes are to be on our Life, Christ in heaven (Colossians 3:1-2). As we look at Him by faith, we find to our surprise that we become like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).
And some day we'll get a really good look at His face and we'll be transformed in an instant to be like Him forever (1 John 3:2).