Philippians 3:8-9

Study Date -

Study Type - Adult Lesson

Fellowship - Friday Night Salt and Light

Series - Philippians 2014-15

Book - Philippians

in Christ, Righteousness by faith

Philippians 3:7-11
7But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Last time we stopped in the middle of verse 8. That was a very strange place to end a study, but the latter half of verse 8 and verse 9 are so rich, we need to devote an entire study just to them. Last time, recall that Paul had just finished telling us about having forsaken and lost everything to follow Jesus. Indeed, we know that Paul did leave a life of earthly honor and riches at the call of Jesus. But remember, Paul isn’t writing a lament here about his lost youth, but an exhortation to rejoice in the Lord…
…that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith,
Let’s start our examination of this amazing passage, by thinking about what it means to be found “in Christ.” Paul uses the phrase “in Christ” 13 times in the book of Romans alone! Most Christians have memorized some of his most famous uses of this phrase…
2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Romans 6:10-11
10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
…and my very favorite…
Romans 8:35-39
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus also speaks of what it means to be “in Me,” in two of the wonderful “I am” statements from the Gospel of John…
John 6:48-58
48I am the bread of life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.
52The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
John 15:1-8
1I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
…in His promise of His indwelling Holy Spirit following His bodily ascension…
John 14:15-21

 15If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.

…in His Gethsemane prayer for the disciples and for all people…
John 17:20-26
20I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.
Continuing now in Philippians 3:9, Paul speaks of “not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;” I think it would be valuable to delve deeply into the concept of righteousness, particularly with regard to the idea that Paul expresses here – that we obtain righteousness from God by faith, not by our own works. A word search on “righteousness” in the NKJV finds references in 40 of the Bible’s 66 books. Obviously, it’s a subject that’s important to God…
Psalm 11:7
For the LORD is righteous,
He loves righteousness;
His countenance beholds the upright.
So I think it would be worthwhile to spend some time looking into what the Bible as a whole has to say about righteousness. The very first instance of this word in the Bible is probably the most important, and very relevant to what Paul has to say about righteousness here in Philippians 3:9…
Genesis 15:1-6
1After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
2But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”
4And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
6And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
We don’t have time to delve into the story of Abram, but we need to look at some of the highlights. This promise in Genesis 15:1-6 was pretty incredible, since Abram and his wife Sarai were quite “advanced in years” (God’s “politically correct” term meaning “old”). Yet we see in verse 6 that Abram believed God, and his faith was credited as righteousness. As it turned out, even though Abram honestly believed God’s promise, Sarai did not, and Abram allowed her to convince him to take it upon himself to conceive the promised heir by Sarai’s maidservant Hagar, rather than trusting in God to fulfill the promise. Our world continues to suffer even today as the result of Abram’s and Sarai’s lack of trust. But later on, when God commanded Abraham (as God renamed Him) to sacrifice Isaac, this son of promise, Abraham was ready to obey, not knowing how God could still fulfill the promise, but believing that He could, and would. Abraham’s faith, as we see, was far from perfect. Nevertheless, the Bible declares that Abraham’s faith (limited as it was) was accounted as righteousness to him. The pivotal lesson from the life of Abraham is that God is the only source of true righteousness, and faith in God is our only means to obtain God’s righteousness. As Isaiah reminds us…
Isaiah 64:6
But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
Even if we might, on occasion act righteously, we always stray from righteousness, having been born with a sinful nature. Unlike God’s righteousness, our own righteousness is at best fleeting. Relying upon it can only bring condemnation…
Ezekiel 33:12-13
12Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ 13When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die.
True righteousness is of the Lord and Him alone…
Jeremiah 23:5-6
5“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
?That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:


Job’s friends are not noted for their great perception and sage advice, but the youngest of them – Elihu – did at least recognize the source of true righteousness…
Job 36:3
I will fetch my knowledge from afar;
I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
We can take it as a great encouragement that, although we may often stray from righteousness, if we repent, God will restore to us His righteousness – imputed to us by faith in Him alone…
Job 33:26
He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,
He shall see His face with joy,
For He restores to man His righteousness.
Luke 15 is devoted entirely to this subject of God’s restoration. We’re all familiar with Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, the lost silver coin, and the prodigal son. God clothes the repentant and contrite with perfect righteousness not of themselves…
Isaiah 61:10-11
10I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Jesus spoke frequently of righteousness. Two of the beatitudes of Jesus in the sermon on the mount mention righteousness…
Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:12
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Later in this sermon, Jesus admonishes us to place our quest for righteousness ahead of seeking our own survival needs…
Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
In promising to send the Holy Spirit of God so that He might dwell in us, and we in Him, Jesus also tells us that His Spirit will teach righteousness…
John 16:5-11
5But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, “Where are You going?” 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
The essential doctrine of righteousness, imputed from its source – God Almighty – to mankind by faith in Jesus alone, and not by works is a major theme of the book of Romans…
Romans 1:16-17
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”[Habakkuk 2:4]
Romans 3:21-26
21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Of course, Paul couldn’t cover this subject properly without referring his readers back to the story of Abraham…
Romans 4:1-8
1What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
8Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.” [Psalm 32:1-2]
Before we leave Philippians 3:9 and our Biblical survey of righteousness, note the contrast Paul makes between his own (non-existent) righteousness from the law and works, and the true righteousness which comes from God by faith. The definitive Biblical treatise on this contrast is found in…
Romans 9:30 – 10:13
30What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33As it is written:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” [Isaiah 8:14]
10:1Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
5For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” [Leviticus 18:5] 6But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” [Deuteronomy 30:12] (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” [Deuteronomy 30:13] (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” [Deuteronomy 30:14] (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” [Joel 2:32]
In closing this survey of righteousness, let me leave you with the admonition of…
Hosea 10:12
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

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