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, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11 (NASB)
Paul was writing here of his prior righteousness under the laws of Judaism. In the previous verses he states his “qualifications” as as righteous man and pretty much dares anyone to say that those were not the actions of a person that should be looked upon with favor by God and man. He has listed all the things that a religious person would consider essential to be holy and righteous before God.
That is what makes verses 7-8 so amazing! In spite of what he was and all the religious holiness he had earned, he looked upon it as garbage in light of what Jesus Christ offered him. He saw his “righteousness” for what it really and truly was- garbage, sewage, excrement, foul and filthy, useless trash. Quite a statement from a “Hebrew of Hebrews!”
Once Paul encountered Jesus Christ all of his own holiness and righteousness fell away in light of what Jesus offered him. His deeds of the flesh for the glorification of the flesh became a stench to his own nostrils.
I think we need a little of that- I think we need to breath in a little of our own stink from time to time. It helps us keep a proper perspective on who and what we are. Do you find yourself getting a little religiously righteous from time to time? Do you find yourself congratulating yourself on handling a difficult situation in a way that you think looks good to God? Is your religious service for the eyes of men and women to appreciate? Oh it is easy to slip into that performance mode and make our service to the King a religious and moral obligation to maintain our own personal holiness, isn’t it?
Eyes on the cross…eyes looking to Jesus ladies…When you find you are dissatisfied with life and becoming unhappy with your service and sacrifices it is time to do a heart check and examine what that is really all about. It is easy to become man-pleasers and think that our self-righteousness pleases God. It most certainly does not. Our righteousness is as filthy rags so says Isaiah, and we would do well to remember that.
God is pleased and glorified by His Son and our position in Him and nothing else. Christ IS our righteousness! (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)