“And Be Found In Him”

Philippians 3:9


What man, except the God-man, was more exemplary in self-denial and devotion than the Apostle Paul? Who ever had such rich experiences of grace as him? Who was more gifted and manifestly useful? He was once caught up to the third heaven and saw things no human language can describe. He labored more abundantly than all the other apostles. Still, his heart’s desire was that he might win Christ and be found in him, with no righteousness of his own, but only the righteousness of God in Christ.


He renounced as dung all imaginary inherent righteousness and all his own works of righteousness, in which every Pharisee and legalists clings. He was a man who had experienced grace abundant. Yet, the grace he experienced was not to him a basis of confidence before God. He was a man obedient to the will of God, whose life was marked by that “faith which worketh by love.” Still, nothing he had done was looked to, relied upon, or trusted by him in any measure. He desired never to stand at the bar of God with any of those things, but only in the righteousness of God in Christ.


God the Holy Spirit gave him precious faith in a precious Savior. Therefore, he looked out of himself, out of all that was wrought in him and done by him. He passed it all by and looked through it all to Christ alone. He renounced all personal worth, merit, and righteousness before God, hoping only to be found in Christ. He put the matter of his eternal life and salvation upon being found in Christ, being found only in his infinitely perfect and glorious righteousness.


The law and justice of God, once revealed, pursued Paul as a manslayer to Christ as a city of refuge. He desired to be found in the City of Refuge. This man knew that Christ’s perfect obedience unto death, and that alone, entitles redeemed sinners to heaven and makes us “worthy to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”


From Paul’s desire we learn that the singular Object of faith for a sinner, convinced of sin and righteousness and judgment by the Spirit of God, is Christ. The object of our faith is not what we are, or what we have experienced, or what we have done; but what Christ is, what he experienced, and what he has done. The only Object of faith, wholly and exclusively, is the person and work of the Son of God. If we have the faith of God’s elect, we rest the hope of our souls only upon Christ, and desire to be found in him in life, in death, and at the judgment.


Does this mean that the grace we experience and the works we are enabled of God to perform are nothing? Of course not! They are nothing in the point of our justification before God. Yet, the grace we experience, giving us life and faith in Christ, is the fruit and evidence of our redemption, righteousness, and justification by Christ. The works others see done by us are evidences to them that our faith is real and that our claim to Christ is genuine.


These things do not justify (or even sanctify) us before God. Yet, they do justify our professed faith in Christ and clear the gospel of the grace of God from the legalists’ slanderous charge of licentiousness. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).