Righteousness Through Faith in Christ
1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.3For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,blameless. 7But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and 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— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
If the above text is true, if everything in comparison to Christ and knowing Him is loss, then there is a real need to stop and think about this. Paul is in a situation where he literally has lost everything of worldly value. His identity as a Jew and a flippin good one at that. He has lost his freedom. He has lost his reputation. He has lost his rights. But what I notice is a willingness and a readiness to give up such things, counting them as “rubbish.” Strong words.
Again there is language of such strength that points to Paul’s desire to know Christ, to be found in Christ, to have righteousness that comes from Christ. In the last verse I am challenged by his attitude to achieving this, “that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead.” Any means possible. This is the most important thing in his life. If he gets this wrong he gets everything wrong. If he doesn’t know Christ what’s the point of knowing anyone and anything.
This has challenged me in my current situation, not that I am suffering like Paul, as my life changes. As somethings are taken away and as uncertainty replaces those things. Events where my own strength is questioned and I must rely on Christ. I am left with a scenario. Do I rejoice in these times? That is my prayer, that I would rejoice in Christ because of Christ.