Scripture: Philippians 3:9-12
I. If I have Jesus, I gain righteousness.
- Paul uses the word righteousness twice in verse 9. Righteousness means being in the right with God. Righteousness is from God (vs. 9). In other words, it is a gift from God. 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” At the cross God made a trade with us. We gave to Jesus our sin. And God gave to us Jesus’ perfect righteousness.
- The second thing Paul tells us about righteousness is that it comes to us through faith in Christ (vs. 9). Jesus and Jesus alone can make us right with God. The third thing Paul tells us about righteousness is that righteousness from God is opposed to a righteousness of my own (vs. 9) that comes from the law. I cannot have the righteousness from God and a self-righteousness at the same time. I have to choose one or the other.
II. If I have Jesus, I gain the power to change.
- After we Christians receive the gift of God’s righteousness by faith, what happens to us? We start to change. We start to live truly righteous lives. We live like Jesus lived. Paul wants for himself and for the Philippians to experience for themselves Christ’s death and resurrection (vs. 11). Romans 6:3-4: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” The same power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in every Christian. We have that kind of power living in us. Since Jesus can raise the dead, he can give me the power I need to live a new and righteous life. I can now stop living my dead life of sin. And I now have the power through Jesus to live a righteous life.
III. If I have Jesus, I gain the likeness of Jesus.
- This is the final gain Paul writes about in vs. 12. Even the great apostle Paul was not perfect as he finished his days on earth. One day you will live in a world – heaven – that can only be described with one word: perfect. And you yourself will be perfect. You will be like Jesus in His righteousness. And what should we do while we wait for that world? Press on. Paul would follow hard after Jesus. He would keep running the race until the day when Jesus by His grace would make Paul just like Him. Have you gotten stagnant in your faith? Or are you growing?
Press on in knowing Jesus and becoming like Jesus.
The letter to the Philippians
Commentaries on Philippians by Moises Silva, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson & Steven Lawson
Sermon Discussion Questions
- Why do I need a righteousness from God? Where does that righteousness come from? Can I contribute anything to that righteousness?
- What does the power of Christ’s resurrection give me the power to do? What kinds of suffering will I need to go through if I am to know Jesus better?
- What was Paul’s goal in vs. 12? What will it mean for us to be perfect like Christ is perfect when we are in heaven?