Christ’s Righteousness

Philippians 3:7-11
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 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: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

If anyone could have counted himself righteous, it would have been Paul. He lived a life, so it seems by his testimony, as a blameless Jew, keeping the law, following all the ordinances, diligent in his duties. But as much righteousness as he had, it was not enough to save him. For that He needed Christ and Christ alone. And the avenue for that was not, he’s careful to say, all the works he had done, but simple faith in the work Christ had done. And now the only righteousness he considers himself to have is that which is imparted to him by God through Christ.

So after that, Paul lives not to know the law and its intricacies, but to know Christ, the life-giving power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, dying to self-righteousness and living in Christ’s righteousness alone. He let go of the old Paul, the “Hebrew of Hebrews” version of Paul, to become “diligent Christ follower” Paul, seeking to be not what the law says, but to be like Christ, to do not what the law says, but what God has called him to do.

It can be easy to feel like we have to do something to earn salvation, to think that we need to do good things or else it doesn’t really count. But we could never do enough good, and God knows that. We could never be right enough, and God understands that. That’s why Christ came, that’s why He died, and that’s why He gives His gift of salvation so freely to all who will simply believe. And after we are saved, we have that privilege to know Him, to get to know Him and to grow to be more like Him, and to have His righteousness imparted to us so that we may leave our old selves behind.

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