There are two types of righteousness, self and Godly. Paul was willing to count all of his accomplishments as rubbish for the gain of righteousness from God. Only through letting go of our personal accomplishments are we able to fully understand the power of His resurrection.
Philippians 3:8-11 “8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection of the dead.”
Paul is following up from his previous statement to confirm that he counts everything he had, position as a Roman, and his position as a leader of the Pharisees, and any accomplishment he has made as worthless for the gain of the knowledge of Christ. This statement throws all self-righteousness right out the window. Today there are fewer people who make a commitment to Christ because they were raised in a Christian home. Many people come to Jesus after they have lost everything and are looking for something bigger than them to believe in. It is rare that a person makes a decision to come to Jesus after they have made great accomplishments, self-pride is too strong, 1Corinthians 1:26. In fact Jesus was even confronted by the Pharisees when was found keeping company with the tax collectors and harlots. A Pharisee would never “defile” himself by getting close to people like that much less sit down to fellowship with them. In Matthew 9:12. Mark 2:17, & Luke 4:17 Jesus responds to the accusation of the Pharisees that those who are well have no need of a physician, only the sick. In Mark 2:17 it is recorded that He continues by saying He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. These statements were not indications that those who were not sick and those who had accomplished any level of self-righteousness did not need Jesus. He is confirming that those who recognize their need and lack will hear His call. Sickness starts long before it is manifested in the flesh and the word of God is very clear that no one is righteous on their own, Psalms14:3, 53:3.
Verse 9 is clear that there are two types of righteousness; self and Godly. Paul had a deep understanding that he did not want to stand on any of his own righteousness, but rest completely on the blood of Jesus. Godly righteousness can only come through faith in Jesus and what He did on the cross and not our personal accomplishments, Romans 10:8-10. Righteousness from God can only come as a gift, Romans 5:15 and a person can only receive a gift if their hands (heart) are open and not found holding on tight to their own accomplishments. Would you try to catch a football thrown at you while holding onto another object so tight that no one could take it away? No, the thought of even trying that sounds stupid, and yet people try to come to Jesus all the time holding on to self and all of their personal accomplishments and even old lifestyles in fear that what they have is going to pale in comparison to what God can give them through Jesus.
In Western culture, knowledge is a mental ascent or understanding, but in Eastern cultures knowledge is experiential, 1 Kings 1:4. Paul wants to have an experiential understanding of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul understood that Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead, but that it was the power of the Holy Spirit that was in Him coupled with the fact that since He was without sin the grave could not hold Him, (Ephesians 1:19-20). In John, Luke and Acts, Jesus tells His disciples that He will send a Helper, (the Holy Spirit), to be with them after He goes up to heaven. Paul is not looking for sufferings as a means to gain this knowledge of Christ. No one should look forward to suffering, but we live in a fallen world and therefore suffering does happen. Jesus was greatly comforted as a result of His sufferings, and now sits at the right hand of God. We can learn how to look forward to God for His comfort when in various trials and sufferings, James 1:2-3. We are to not look forward to the comfort of this world as its comfort is only fleshly and temporal, Romans 12:2.
Acts 24:15 is clear that there will be a resurrection from the dead, both the just and unjust. Paul knows that it is our acceptance of Jesus and His righteousness that is the only way we will see heaven. He was not implying that he had not received salvation yet because salvation is given to us when we become born again, Ephesians 1:14. The Greek word KATANTAO which is translated attain actually means “arrive”. Paul knew he had salvation, but had not arrived in heaven while still here on earth.
Copyright The Power of Grace Ministries. All rights reserved.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California,
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New Your, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming