Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
If we would have a proper understanding of 3:9, we should not isolate it from verse 8. Rather, the end of verse 8 must be read in connection with the beginning of verse 9. “I have suffered the loss of all things,” Paul declares, “and count them to be refuse that I may gain Christ, 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 these verses, Paul suffered the loss of all things and counted them to be refuse in order to gain Christ and be found in Him. Furthermore, Paul’s desire was to be found in Christ in the condition of having the righteousness which is of God based on faith, not of having his own righteousness.
In verse 9 we see that Paul’s earnest desire was to be found in Christ. In the past Paul was fully in the Jewish religion under the law and was always found by others in the law. But at his conversion he was transferred from the law and his former religion into Christ, and he became “a man in Christ” (2 Cor. 12:2). Now he expected to be found in Christ by all those who observed him—the Jews, the angels, and the demons. This indicates that he aspired to have his whole being immersed in Christ and saturated with Christ so that all who observed him could discover him in Christ. We also should aspire to be found by others in Christ. To be found in Christ actually means to be observed, seen, or discovered by others in Christ.
Before Paul was converted to Christ, he lived in the law and under the law. Whenever someone met Paul, that person found Paul in the law and enveloped by the law. Saul of Tarsus was a person altogether encased by the law, fully boxed in by it. He was living by the law, with the law, and under the law. But one day he was transferred out from under the law into Christ. Henceforth, whenever others saw him or observed him, they could tell that he had become a person in Christ. Paul was not in culture, philosophy, or religion. He was a person who lived in Christ, and his aspiration and expectation were that he would be found by others in Christ. Paul suffered the loss of all things and counted them refuse in order to gain Christ on the one hand and to be found in Him on the other.
In verse 9 Paul does not speak merely in a general way, but in a very definite way. He says that he did not want to have his own righteousness, but he wanted the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God based on faith. “Not having my own righteousness...but...the righteousness which is of God” is the condition in which Paul desired to be found in Christ. He wanted to live not in his own righteousness, but in the righteousness of God, and to be found in such a transcendent condition, expressing God by living Christ, not by keeping the law.
Before Paul was saved, he had no idea that Christ could be his righteousness. The righteousness of the law is the righteousness which comes from man’s own effort to keep the law, as mentioned in verse 6. Formerly, Paul lived in that righteousness which was according to the law. Others could invariably find him enveloped by the righteousness of the law. But now Paul’s desire was to be observed as a person living in Christ and having Christ as his righteousness.
The righteousness in which Paul wanted to be found was the righteousness “which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God based on faith.” The expression “the faith of Christ” implies our believing in Christ. Such faith issues from our knowing and appreciating Christ. It is Christ Himself infused into us through our appreciation of Him, who becomes our faith in Him. Hence, it is also the faith of Christ that brings us into an organic union with Him.
The righteousness which is of God based on faith is that righteousness which is God Himself lived out of us to be our righteousness through our faith in Christ. Such righteousness is the expression of God, who lives in us. It is based on faith because it is on the basis, or condition, of faith. Faith is the basis, the condition, for us to receive and possess the righteousness out from God, the highest righteousness, which is Christ (1 Cor. 1:30).
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