Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Philippians 3:9 says, “And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God based on faith.” According to this verse, Paul’s own righteousness was intimately related to the law. If we are to be found in Christ, we must fulfill the condition of not having our own righteousness which is of the law, but a righteousness which is not our own—that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God based on faith. Therefore, the title of this message is “To Be Found in Christ in the Righteousness of God through the Faith of Christ.” In the righteousness of God we may be found in Christ, and this righteousness is through the faith of Christ.
In 3:8 Paul speaks of “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.” The excellency of the knowledge of Christ does not refer to Christ’s knowledge; it refers to our knowledge of Christ. It is the knowledge by which we know what kind of Christ He is. This knowledge has its excellency.
Paul obtained the excellency of the knowledge of Christ through revelation. When he was in Judaism, he was under the law. His vision and his thought were occupied with the law. Paul earnestly sought the knowledge of the law and pursued it. To him, the knowledge of the law was so excellent that he was even willing to sacrifice for it. But one day on the road to Damascus, the Lord opened Paul’s eyes to see God’s economy concerning Christ. From that time onward Paul turned from the excellency of the knowledge of the law to the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.
In the four books of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians Christ is revealed not only as the all-inclusive One, but also as the all-extensive One. Christ Himself is the breadth, length, height, and depth. As such, His dimensions are immeasurable. Who can measure this height or depth? Peter received the revelation concerning Christ as the Son of the living God for the building up of the church. However, Peter did not see as much concerning Christ as Paul did. The revelation given to Paul issued in an excellent knowledge of the extensiveness of Christ.
On account of the excellency of this knowledge, Paul was willing to suffer the loss of all things and count them to be refuse. In other words, after seeing the revelation concerning Christ, all other things became refuse, trash, dung. Spontaneously he realized that not only religion was refuse, dog food, but culture was refuse as well. Why did Paul count all things loss? It was because of the excellency of the knowledge of the extensive, all-inclusive Christ. Furthermore, he was willing to count all things loss in order to gain Christ.
To have the revelation concerning Christ does not mean we have already gained Christ. After seeing the revelation, there was the need for Paul to pursue in order to gain Christ. Likewise, we may have the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, but Christ may not yet be ours in our experience. Therefore, like Paul, we need to pursue Christ that we may gain Him.
At the end of verse 8 Paul speaks of gaining Christ, and in verse 9 he speaks of being found in Him. These are two aspects of one thing. Paul desired to gain Christ and be found in Him. To have the excellency of the knowledge of Christ is one thing. However, it is another thing to gain Him and be found in Him. Although I may have seen the revelation concerning the extensiveness and all-inclusiveness of Christ, I may be found in ethics, culture, or good behavior and not in Christ. If someone visits you at home, will you be found in Christ? You may declare, “Hallelujah, I am in Christ! I have been transferred out of Adam and into Christ.” However, this may be merely a declaration, not a fact of actual experience.
In 2:14 Paul says, “Do all things without murmurings and reasonings.” Instead of being found in Christ, we may be found in our murmurings and reasonings. For example, a wife may murmur to her husband, and he may react by reasoning. In such a case, neither the wife nor the husband is found in Christ.
We have spoken a great deal about Christ versus religion, culture, and philosophy. Nevertheless, most of the time we are found in our culture, self-imposed religion, and self-made philosophy. We may make up a certain policy for ourselves to follow in our married life or in the church life. Hence, others may find us not in Christ, but in our self-made policy concerning married life and the church life. This policy may be the source of much of our murmuring, reasoning, and criticizing. We may also use this policy as a yardstick for measuring others. Oh, it is crucial that, having the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, we gain Him and be found in Him!
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