To Be Found in Christ

| Mon, Jan 21, 2013 | Set 3 Week 4

Share | 4 Comments

Philippians 3:9,

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

Paul has declared in Philippians 3:7–8 his all-surpassing desire to know Jesus. The glories of Christ out-weigh all the things that Paul formerly valued. Jesus is better, period. In verse 9, he continues with a word that grounds his affections. He has said he loves Jesus and now he shows one reality that makes Jesus so lovable.

Let’s the look at this verse in two parts: first, what it means to be found in Christ; and second, what is its relationship to righteousness.

Found in Him

Not only does Paul consider Jesus better than everything else, but he wants to be found in him. To be found in Christ introduces the central metaphor in Paul’s theology: union with Christ. It is the grammar of the gospel by which Paul speaks, as Sinclair Ferguson has said. Being found in Jesus is actually cosmic in its scope. The world, as Romans 5:12–21 tells us, is divided into two humanities, Adam or Jesus. There is the old age (in Adam) and the new creation (in Christ).

Paul is not speaking sentimentally here. He is reconstituting his entire personhood. To be found in Christ is to come to the end of self, the end of Adam and the old age. Paul is saying that he wants to be defined altogether differently, not dead in sin, but alive to God in Christ (Romans 6:11). He is a new man within a new humanity that’s part of a new world (Ephesians 2:14–18).

Having His Righteousness

Now the theme of union with Christ converges with another vital metaphor in Paul’s theology: the righteousness of God. For to be found in Christ — to be a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) — is to be absolutely acquitted in the divine court. Paul desiring to be found in Christ abandons all attempts to forge a righteousness of his own. His law-keeping is rubbish. Whatever he has, it isn’t good enough. And faith in Jesus, the desire to found in Jesus, says that and more.

The righteousness that Paul needs, and the righteousness that Paul has in Christ, is the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ. We see here that being found in Christ and faith in Christ are two ways of speaking about the same reality. To be in Christ is to cling to him by faith. We are united to Christ by faith and faith in Christ is the spirit of our union. And his righteousness becomes ours. “Righteous” is the sovereign decree that transforms the standing of a guilty sinner into a justified saint, and it is the free gift to those who believe (Romans 4:5).

This passage is the tip of the spear. Union with Christ and his righteousness. Yes. Yes, Father. We want that. We want to be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of our own, but the righteousness that comes only through faith in Christ, your righteousness that depends on faith. Amen.

Reflection

1. What does Paul mean by “found in him?”

2. What is the relationship between being found in Christ and having his righteousness?

3. How does this verse relate to Philippians 3:7–8? In particular, how does union with Christ support Paul’s declaration on the surpassing worth of Christ?

Topics:  ,  

4 Responses to “To Be Found in Christ”

  1. Rita Kroon Says:

    Love following your blogs on the fighter verses! Very helpful to have a deeper understanding of the verse rather than just memorizing them! Thanks!

    Reply

  2. missy Says:

    Thank you for doing this. I find it very helpful! I am wondering if you could recommend a commentary that would be good for doing this sort of thing on my own for other verses. I have an ESV study Bible, and know there are good commentaries out there on books of the Bible, but are there good commentaries on the whole Bible.

    Reply

  3. William Joshua Ovey Says:

    This really open wide my understanding toward what it means to be found in christ. Please i want you to help me with a tips that will build my strength to crave more for the word of God, because sometimes i often get weak to study the word when ever i found that i’m not understanding. Thank you very much

    Reply

Leave a Reply