Philippians 3:8c-9 says “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.” There are two different types of righteousness. There is righteousness that comes from self effort, which is based on a person keeping the Law of God. This is also known as works righteousness. And there is a righteousness which comes from God Himself, through trust and belief in Jesus Christ. This is known as faith righteousness. One is acceptable to God, and one is not (Gal 3:11). One will give you eternity in Heaven, and one will not (Gal 2:16) . One is the administration of death, and one is the giver of life (2Cor 3:6-9). One is a curse, and one is a blessing (Gal 3:10, 13-14).
Not understanding the difference between these two types of righteousness is a major problem in The Body of Christ. It steals our victory; robs our joy; crushes our confidence. It takes away our hope and peace; it causes us to be weak and beggarly; timid, guilt-ridden, self centered, and defeated Christians.
This is not at all what God intended for us. We are to be more than conquerors; we are to always triumph; we are to be victors. We need to understand what Jesus did for us. We need to walk in the victory that He has provided. As Christians, we are the righteousness of God, in Christ (2Cor 5:21). We are a new creation. Old things have passed away; all things have become new. All things are now of God (2Cor 5:17-18). We are The King’s kids. We are heirs of Almighty God, and co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom 8:16-17).
Most Christians still live under the Law. They still relate to God based on their performance. In their mind, their acceptability with God varies from day to day, based on how well, or how badly, they have performed that day. They have no real victory. Of course, one who lives under the law never has any victory. Do you know why? Because you can’t keep it! Therefore, because you try to be right with God by keeping the law, you are constantly under condemnation (2Cor 3:9), and you constantly see yourself as a disappointment to God. Does anybody relate to what I’m saying?
Some of you might be saying, “That law of God is killing me!”. Well, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do. The letter kills (2Cor 3:6). The law will slay you (Rom 7:9-11). It will kill your pride; it will kill your self righteousness; and it will kill the thought of you ever being right with God by your works. Just when you think you’re alright, the Law will pop up and say “Oops, you missed it right here!”. The Law is very unforgiving. It never hesitates to show you every single failure in your life. Yet, it does nothing to help you.
The Law is perfect, pure, just, and holy. Man, however, is not. And herein lies the problem. God’s Law demands perfection, and we’re not perfect. So God, in His love and mercy, does something wonderful for us. He sends His Son, Jesus Christ, to keep the Law for us; since we can’t do it on our own. Then Jesus pays the penalty for mankind, who can’t keep the Law; and dies in our place. Death is the penalty for breaking the Law of God. And no matter how good you think you are, if you’ve broken one, single commandment; you are guilty of all of it (Jam 2:10). So yes, my self righteous friend, Jesus died for you, too.
Now it gets even better. After Jesus dies, He rises from the dead three days later, just like He said He would. Now here’s the deal of a billion lifetimes: If we will put faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord, and trust in His sacrificial death to be right with God; then God will freely give us His very own righteousness (Rom 3:21-24). Did you hear what I just said? God Almighty will give you, as a free gift, His own righteousness. All you have to do is put your faith in Jesus Christ. This is called faith righteousness, and this is The Gospel.
There is much more to say, but until next time, rejoice in the Lord! (Phip 4:4)