"Christ’s Righteousness is Everything"
Dr. Phil Newton
His other sermons can be read at: http://www.southwoodsbc.org/sermons/
Used with permission of the author by the invertedchristian.com blog
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3:7–9).
The tendency to consider some matter of pedigree or achievement in the plus column of our lives before God appears most natural. We’re influenced in this direction by the balance sheet of culture, by which certain attainments or heritage or privilege accorded to us puts us in more favorable position in the eyes of those around us. The child of a successful business or professional person tends to be esteemed more than the child of a prison inmate, even though the former may evidence less moral character. Position and attainment in the eyes of the community around us receives the admiration of the culture. That’s a faulty foundation for life and eternity.
Yet Paul, having status, position and religious/moral attainment counted all these things as deficits in his standing with God. In short, he sized up the things that people admire, praise, and long for to help them achieve status and recognition before the community, and without grasping a single strand, he counts them not only as deficits/loss but, he considers them as rubbish fit for the refuse heap. It’s all garbage, he would say—and that’s putting it nicely.
Do we feel that same sense that Paul expressed, that all the pluses in the world’s eyes—even the most religious among them—is but refuse? Did he imply these things to be evil in themselves? Not at all, as far as there are areas of moral and civil good. But none of these things help our standing with God. None of them contains even a hint of merit that will advance what we need before an altogether holy God. Why? We need righteousness—pure, absolutely good, satisfyingly right before God’s righteousness. Without such righteousness we’re without hope.
We can only perceive good and attainment in personal merits if we fail to see God as He is and fail to see ourselves as we are. If our view of Him is low, just a few rungs above human goodness, then we find our moral good to be of value for right standing with Him. Further, if we consider our moral balance sheet as having more pluses than deficits, we’ll lean into trusting in ourselves. But when we see God as infinitely holy and infinitely righteous, and ourselves as wholly sinful in every aspect, thought, and deed, then we gladly embrace Paul’s posture. “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ and may be found in Him not having a righteousness of my own derived from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” It’s all Christ’s righteousness received by faith in Him by which we’re counted righteous before God.
There it is! God’s righteousness through Christ, now, by faith in Christ, counted as our very own righteousness which is our only standing with God. All else is loss and rubbish. The righteousness of God in Christ is everything. Celebrate Him and His righteousness!