Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
We continue our lesson on the Epistle to the Philippians. In this verse, Paul was talking about true righteousness. There is true and false righteousness. These two are opposite, just like heaven and hell. Let’s see what the word of God wants to tell us about righteousness and how can have true righteousness.
I. In the Old Testament
A. The Hebrew word “righteous” or “just” originally meant “straight” or “right.” In Greek it means “to do justice,” “to be just,” “to justify” “declare righteous” or “treat as just.”
B. The God of Israel is revealed as a God of righteousness, who acts rightly in all his works and judgments (Gen. 18:25; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 11:7; Dan. 9:14). God judges fairly; he does not clear the guilty or forsake the righteous, and the judges of Israel are commanded to act according to his example (Exod. 23:7; Deut. 1:16-17; 10:17-18; Ps. 98:9).
C. The righteousness of God is revealed in his punishment of the wicked and disobedient (Neh. 9:33; Ps. 7:9-17; Lam. 1:18; Dan. 9:14).
D. Consequently God’s righteous judgment is often expressed in terms of his saving acts. Righteousness many times is closely related to God’s salvation, mercy, and loving-kindness, especially in the Psalms and Isaiah (Ps. 40:10; 85:9-10; 98:2-3; Isa. 45:8; 46:13; 51:5; Jer. 9:24).
II. In the New Testament.
A. Jesus of Nazareth is presented as the promised Messiah, and thus God’s purposes of righteousness and salvation are spoken of as centered in him. Understandably, then, we find righteousness closely linked to the NT theme of the kingdom of God (Matt. 5:10; 6:33; 13:43; Rom. 14:17), a kingdom and a righteousness for which John the Baptist prepared the way and which Jesus as the righteous Son and Redeemer brings to fulfilment (Matt. 3:15; 5:17-20; 21:32; Acts 3:14, 25-26).
B. Jesus spoke of a false righteousness which is found in those who trust in themselves as righteous or justified because of their moral accomplishments (Matt. 23:28; Luke 16:15; 18:9), but he taught that the truly justified are those who acknowledge their sin and trust in God for forgiveness and his righteousness (Mark 2:17; Luke 18:14).
Illustration: Our Concept of Righteousness
There are Christians who, in effect, define righteousness by what they shun. They keep away from certain foods and drinks, from certain people, from certain places. There certainly are occasions when Christians do well to keep their distance, but our Lord’s emphasis was against that way of defining unrighteousness. He stressed one’s internal attitude, regardless of the external surroundings: “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:20–22).
It is convenient to focus on the sins of others; this keeps the spotlight away from oneself. And it is convenient to understand sin in terms of actions that can be physically avoided; one can thereby avoid disturbing thoughts about attitudes such as coveting, envy, and pride, which our Lord includes on his list of “evil things” right along with theft, murder, and adultery. God everywhere shows a lot of concern about sin, and so should we. But it is the nature of sin to deceive us, even when we think we are being righteous. We must work at keeping our understandings and emphasis in line with what God has revealed.
Source: A Treasury of Bible Illustrations.
III. Self-righteousness – the false righteousness
A. The vanity of self-righteousness :
1. No better than filthy rags. Isa. 64:6
2. Ineffectual for salvation. Job 9:30-31
3. Unprofitable. Isa. 57:12
4. It is only external. Mt. 23:25-28; Lk. 11:39-44.
5. Are abominable (detestable)before God. Luke 15:16, Isa. 65:5
B. Characteristics of a self-righteous man:
1. Boastful. Mt. 23:30
2. Reject the righteousness of God. Rom. 10:3
3. Condemn others. Mt. 9:11-13; Lk. 7:39
4. Consider their own way right. Pr. 21:2
5. Proclaim their own goodness. Prov. 20:6
The Pharisees and the Sadducees are examples of self-righteous people during the time of the Lord Here. They look down at other people and consider them inferior to them. (Lk. 11:39; Jon. 8:33; 9:28). In general terms Israel herself is also self-righteous (Rom. 10:3). In the Book of Revelations, the Church of Laodicea, Rev. 3:17 is self-righteous. The Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that they are the only true Christian is a clear indication that they are self-righteous. Same is true to the Manalistas, SDA, Mormons, Pentecostals with their Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues.
IV. True Righteousness
A. Righteousness is an attribute of moral purity belonging to God alone (John 17:25). It is He alone who is truly righteous. No one in the world is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, that is, except the true Christians.
1. In a legal sense, all of us stand guilty before God. We are all “unrighteous.” (Rom. 3:10, 2:23). We have all have “sinned” (literally, “missed the mark”).
2. We are counted righteous in the eyes of God when we receive Jesus by faith (Phil. 3:9).
3. Our righteousness is based on what Jesus did on the cross. Christ’s death took away our sins and made it possible for sinners to have “the righteousness of God,” i.e., right standing before God (Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22; 5:17).
4. The righteousness that was Christ’s is counted to us. We, then, are seen as righteous in the eyes of God.
5. That gift of righteousness is to be followed by upright living (Rom. 6:13-14).
6. As a result, will spend eternity in the presence of the holy, pure, loving, kind, gentle, and righteous God. Our righteousness.
V. Conclusion: Righteousness is closely related to salvation. Righteousness is an attribute belonging to God. True Christians are righteous in the eyes of the Lord because of what Jesus Christ did for us. He died for our sins. Come to Christ and be saved. Come to Christ and be one of those counted to be righteous.