7 These things were my assets, but I wrote them off as a loss for the sake of Christ. 8 But even beyond that, I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ 9 and be found in him. In Christ I have a righteousness that is not my own and that does not come from the Law but rather from the faithfulness of Christ. It is the righteousness of God that is based on faith. 10 The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings. It includes being conformed to his death 11 so that I may perhaps reach the goal of the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:7–11)
The Righteousness of God
Good Day Family,
This week, in our Bible study, we have talked about righteousness. We are studying the Sermon on the Mount, beginning with the Beatitudes. Righteousness comes up a couple of times. The question is, what is righteousness? In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul gives us a clue. He has enumerated the particulars of his former status as a Pharisee and even his continuing status as a citizen of Rome. Paul was well esteemed and well connected. He had power in the synagogue and in the houses of the state. Those were his assets, and he reveled in them until he had a life-altering encounter with Jesus.
Do you remember a particular moment when you knew God in a new way? What was that like and how was the Holy One revealed to you? What message did you take away that still sustains you?
Maybe that isn’t part of your story. That’s okay. But, as we read Paul’s writings, we have to digest through the lens of someone whose life was completely and radically changed when he heard the voice of God speaking directly to him…challenging him to do a new thing and to be a mew person.
Paul thought he was living right until his fleshly eyes were closed and his spirit was opened. He learned that living right means living with and for God. Sometimes, we claim to act on behalf of God but if our actions are not rooted in God’s perfect will, we fall short.
Paul remains clear, righteousness comes from God…”knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings…” That’s a tall order, but God is faithful to go with us and merciful when we go astray. Those assets that Paul once boasted with pride became a detriment, not in and of themselves, but because, in Paul’s life, they became a hindrance to living a full and connected life with the living God. Righteousness is a state of relationship and is “based on faith.” The good news is that it doesn’t depend on us alone, but rather, righteousness is a gift of love from a God who is holy, present, and full of grace.
In the righteousness of God,
We are the church and as we gather, in whatever form that may be, to worship, fellowship and serve, the church is alive and well.
Let us encourage one another. Remain safe and check in on one another. We will get through this, and when we do…and look back on the other side…we will be stronger, more grateful, and more connected than ever.