Righteous or Self Righteous?
Updated: May 24, 2021
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 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: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:1-11
I recall attending a youth camp as a counselor in 2002, and I remember how God worked in my life. I was into a lot of things I should not have been into, and I was under much conviction all week. I got things right that week, and I was determined to do what was right. Rebekah knew of my actions and was excited to see how God was working in my life. I came home, and I was taking a stand against sin. The weeks went on and I hardly noticed, but I started to ease back into my sinful habits. In no time at all, is was as if I never desired to do what was right, and I was eating the vomit of my sin.
I also remember this time because I was gifted a couple of suits that looked sharp. I would wear them on Sunday while I carried my nice leather Bible, and boy did I ever look spiritual. I was a deacon in the church, and I led the youth group. I knew all the important stories in the Bible, and I even shouted amen at the right times. On Sunday night I was on cloud nine as we recapped Sunday night with a group of friends over a comforting bowl of pasta. I felt charged up for the week spiritually and went to bed content as can be. I woke up Monday and went right back into my sinful routine as lived as though Sunday never happened. I knew all the right things to say, and I had the “Christian” look down to a T. I was not actively pursuing the excellency of Christ Jesus my Lord. I had confidence in my flesh, and I succumbed to its every desire. I was a spiritual mess but I hid it well under my suit and tie.
I look here at these verses and see how Paul followed the law to a T since the time he was eight days old. He knew all the right things and was highly educated in the Jewish law. He knew everything about the law but he did not know the One who made the law. Saul became Paul and he started to see things in a new light. He began to serve God out of his heart and not because there was a duty to religion. Knowledge builds up, but true knowledge changes the life of an individual. Paul’s life was drastically changed and it was not because of the knowledge he had, but it was due to his true knowledge of Christ. Paul was willing to do anything for the cause of Christ, and he ultimately died a martyr. I imagine in my mind that Paul died with a smile on his face as his mission was complete and he ran a good race. He knew what it meant to suffer for Christ, and he counted his suffering as joy.
Where are you today friend? Do you complain when others ridicule you for your walk, or do you desire to win Christ? Are you willing to know Him and the power of His resurrection? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to achieve, “the righteousness which is of God by faith?” Do you have confidence in your flesh which is deceitfully wicked? Do you glory in your Sunday suit instead of glorying in your Lord Jesus Christ? Are you willing to die to your flesh that God may be glorified? May we come to count all things as loss for the glorying of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we seek the righteousness of God and not our own self righteousness. I am reminded of the verse, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked...” May today be the day you get serious about your walk, and may the true knowledge of Jesus Christ change your life. Oh, that we may know Him!
Stay in the fight!