Declared Righteous and Living It (Philippians 3:9)
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith —Philippians 3:9
Righteousness. Such an important term related to the character of God and the calling of His children. It is not a word that is used very often outside of Christian conversations, at least not in the biblical sense.
We understand from Philippians 3:8 that everything is worthless and to be counted as loss compared to Christ. This is not just knowing about Christ, but being united with Him, becoming like Him. It is so eternally important to be found in Him. In Christ we stand as being declared “not guilty” before our righteous Judge. This is nothing we could accomplish on our own. All that we have tried to do, such as following the law or even just obeying our own consciences, falls far short because we are unable to do so perfectly (Isaiah 64:6). Our right standing before God had to come another way.
I’m so glad that God initiated His perfect plan to send His holy Son to live the righteous life that I could never live (one that completely fulfilled the law) and to die the death I deserved as a helpless sinner. Through faith in Christ, I am justified, declared righteous by God because of Christ’s substitutionary death in my place. Galatians 2:16 says,
yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Salvation is by grace (a gift of God) through faith, not a work to achieve on my own, but accepting and trusting in what God has already done for us in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).
I was lost without Christ and now I am forever grateful that He not only died for me, but His righteousness is what God the Father now sees in me. Scripture is meant to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Christ in us truly is the “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). And Abraham “believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). This shows that from early on, righteousness was dependent on faith, and God is the one who declares the believer righteous.
Not only is Christ’s righteousness in me, but the amazing, transforming power to live as He did is now available to me (Philippians 3:10). His righteousness in me will bear the fruit of good works that I was created by Him to do (Ephesians 2:10). God planned beforehand that Christ’s life in us should be lived out that way. He prepared good works for us to do, not to earn salvation, but to live Christ’s righteous life before a lost world. He has promised to complete this good work of growing His righteousness in us (Philippians 1:6). But growth will be stunted unless we daily trust and abide in Him (John 15:4-5). As sheep of His pasture, we must depend fully on our Good Shepherd who provides us with all we need.
Am I trusting in what Christ has done for me, or am I still striving to be good enough?
Am I allowing Christ to live in me? Am I listening to Him in His Word each day?
Considering all that Christ has done for me, have I thanked Him today for His gracious salvation and right standing before our holy God, or for the power to live the life He calls me to?