Found in Christ!
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
This parenthetical phrase here means a lot to what our salvation is and how our salvation is found. There are two options presented in this verse, and in life in general that can lead one to God.
- The first option is that we behave in a righteous manner. Our lives conform to the laws of God. This is righteousness in self and comes by works of the law, doing the law. In this instance, we would stand before God on our own and He would accept us as right with Him.
- The second option is that we receive righteousness from God on the basis of Christ’s righteous life and death. This is God’s gracious offer of salvation in Christ.
- The language that Paul uses to reflect the transfer from one point of view to the next is “in Christ.” Paul talks about living in Christ vs. Living in the World or in the Flesh.
Paul is in the middle of talking about what is really valueable to Him in life and he takes off talking about why knowing Christ is so important to him, what the result of His knowledge of Christ has produced in him.
- Not having righteousness in myself by law
- God is Creator and Judge
This is the most foundational information about God that there is. God is our creator. And as such, it is His purpose for His creation that is primary in life. Because of this, God is also our judge.
I could say lawgiver and judge, but the lawgiver part is attached to God as creator. The Biblical argument is that because there is only one God and He is the creator, we need to align ourselves with His plans and purposes. As creator, God has a purpose for all that He has made. He has given us His image to reflect. What is His image? It is His character and a likeness of His person. We can love, we can create, we can serve, we can give. We bring order to chaos and purpose to emptiness.
God’s law is His expression of His character. Is God good? Is God loving? Is God faithful? Is God generous?
God as judge from Paul:
Romans 2: 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- Relying on my ability leads to a curse Gal 3:10-13;
Matt 5:20, 48
We have a standards problem when it comes to righteousness and God. The standard is perfection, which we cannot accept. But it is this very standard that necessitates Christ dying on the Cross. If righteousness could be gained by works, then Christ died for nothing. Gal 2:21
Galatians 3: 10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” (A quote from Habakkuk 2:4 and a statement from God to Abraham)
12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Romans 11: 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
- No one will be justified by works of the law!
15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
- Finding Righteousness from God Through Faith
- This is the gospel
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
II Cor 5: 19 … God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
- Faith in Christ’s work makes me righteousness
This is a gift.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
- When do I make it into Christ?
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
Included in Christ. In Christ is Paul’s favorite phrase. And it is very important to our understanding of how we are to relate to God.
When was this true for Paul?
III. In Christ
So far we have looked at salvation that we received in Christ, but we have not considered our responsibilities in Christ.
It is assumed that the law is our responsibility! The law is good, but it does not make us good. It shows us our sin.
- We are made complete in Christ
Col 2: 9-10
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.
Brought to fullness is the Greek word pleruo. It literally means to cram a net full of fish, or to fill in a low spot or fill up a void.
There is something lacking and that lack is filled in. This is what Christ does for us. There is something lacking in you. You do not measure up to God’s standards. Christ fills you in. He fills up what you lack in every way!
This is why you can’t add anything to Christ without diminishing Him. Our righteousness is in Christ alone!
- We are set apart for God in Christ
I Cor 1:
2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people,
God has His purpose for us. It is ever the same since the beginning of time. We are called to reflect His character. Just as Adam was created to have fellowship with God, to husband Eve and care for their children, to care for the garden and reflect God’s character in all of that, so we too are God’s creation!
II Cor 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Ephesians 2: 10
10 For we are God’s handiwork, (His special treasure) created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
You are the light of the world.
You are the salt of the earth!
By this will all men know that you are my disciples, by your love for one another.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
We are expressing our faith in God by loving others!
Love is not a feeling, but it is acting in the best interests of another person.
II Tim 1:
9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
- In Christ we live like Christ
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
- Live by the Spirit= Grace
- Keep in step with the Spirit= Works of love by faith