The "From God" Righeousness

A couple of weeks ago, I preached on Philippians 3:4-11. Verse 9 is chuck full of gospel richness:

I want to gain the Messiah "and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ-- the righteousness from God based on faith."

In the sermon, I pointed out four things about this righteousness:

First, it is found “in Him.” All people are either in Adam or in the Last Adam. The doctrine of union with Christ is the key that unlocks the riches of Christ, the hub from which all the spokes of the blessing of salvation flow. Romans 3:24 says, "They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (my italics). Romans 8:1 reads "Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus" (my italics). Galatians 2:17 says "But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin?" (my italics, ESV). Second Corinthians 5:21 reads, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (my italics, ESV). First Corinthians 1:30 reads, "And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (my italics, ESV). You get the picture. The status of righteous is found in union with Christ. Calvin, in the first paragraph of Book Three of The Institutes, says, “First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us” (3.1.1).

Second, it is not found by our own doing. Galatians 2:16 is emphatic in this regard. Note that the Apostle basically says the same thing three times in a row in this verse: "Know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified."

Third, it comes through faith in Jesus Christ. It is important to note that it is not mere faith that is acceptable to God, but faith in Jesus Christ. People assume that all roads lead to God, as long as you “have faith;” as long as you are sincere in what you believe. This is offensive in our pluralistic context, but sincerity is garbage to Paul (3:8). He was sincerely committed to Judaism, advancing beyond his peers. But he came to find out that he was sincerely wrong. Faith in Christ is the necessary and exclusive condition for being found righteous before a holy God.

Fourth, this righteousness is a gift of God (ek theou). Oh, and what a precious gift!? Infinitely more valuable than all the world’s gold, the highest academic pedigree, all the respect of all the businesses of the world. “Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” We needed an alien righteousness, one that we could not of ourselves produce, and God in his grace has provided it. Praise Him.