Philippians 3:9
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:
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(9) Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law.—This is not the same as “righteousness in the Law,” that is, defined by law. It is a righteousness resulting from the works of the Law (Galatians 2:16), earned by an obedience to the Law, which is “mine own”—“not of grace, but of debt” (Romans 4:4)—such as St. Paul declares (in Romans 10:3-6) to have been blindly sought by Israel, which he there defines as “life by doing the things of the Law.” We have here, and in the following words, a remarkable link of connection with the earlier Epistles of the Judaising controversy, corresponding to Ephesians 2:8-10, but cast more nearly in the ancient mould. Yet it is, after all, only the last echo of the old controversy, which we trace so clearly in the Galatian and Roman Epistles. The battle is now virtually won, and it only needs to complete the victory.

But . . . the righteousness which is of God by (on condition of) faith.—This verse is notable, as describing the true righteousness; first imperfectly, as coming “through faith of Jesus Christ,” a description which discloses to us only its means, and not its origin; next, completely, as “a righteousness coming from God on the sole condition of faith”—faith being here viewed not as the means, but as the condition, of receiving the divine gift (as in Acts 3:16). It may be noted that in the Epistle to the Romans, we have righteousness “through faith,” “from faith,” “of faith;” for there it was needful to bring out in various forms the importance of faith. Here, now that the urgent necessity has passed, we have the stress laid simply on the opposition of the gift of God through Christ to the merit of the works of the Law; and faith occupies a less prominent, though not less indispensable, position. (See Ephesians 2:8-10, and Note thereon.)

3:1-11 Sincere Christians rejoice in Christ Jesus. The prophet calls the false prophets dumb dogs, Isa 56:10; to which the apostle seems to refer. Dogs, for their malice against faithful professors of the gospel of Christ, barking at them and biting them. They urged human works in opposition to the faith of Christ; but Paul calls them evil-workers. He calls them the concision; as they rent the church of Christ, and cut it to pieces. The work of religion is to no purpose, unless the heart is in it, and we must worship God in the strength and grace of the Divine Spirit. They rejoice in Christ Jesus, not in mere outward enjoyments and performances. Nor can we too earnestly guard against those who oppose or abuse the doctrine of free salvation. If the apostle would have gloried and trusted in the flesh, he had as much cause as any man. But the things which he counted gain while a Pharisee, and had reckoned up, those he counted loss for Christ. The apostle did not persuade them to do any thing but what he himself did; or to venture on any thing but that on which he himself ventured his never-dying soul. He deemed all these things to be but loss, compared with the knowledge of Christ, by faith in his person and salvation. He speaks of all worldly enjoyments and outward privileges which sought a place with Christ in his heart, or could pretend to any merit and desert, and counted them but loss; but it might be said, It is easy to say so; but what would he do when he came to the trial? He had suffered the loss of all for the privileges of a Christian. Nay, he not only counted them loss, but the vilest refuse, offals thrown to dogs; not only less valuable than Christ, but in the highest degree contemptible, when set up as against him. True knowledge of Christ alters and changes men, their judgments and manners, and makes them as if made again anew. The believer prefers Christ, knowing that it is better for us to be without all worldly riches, than without Christ and his word. Let us see what the apostle resolved to cleave to, and that was Christ and heaven. We are undone, without righteousness wherein to appear before God, for we are guilty. There is a righteousness provided for us in Jesus Christ, and it is a complete and perfect righteousness. None can have benefit by it, who trust in themselves. Faith is the appointed means of applying the saving benefit. It is by faith in Christ's blood. We are made conformable to Christ's death, when we die to sin, as he died for sin; and the world is crucified to us, and we to the world, by the cross of Christ. The apostle was willing to do or to suffer any thing, to attain the glorious resurrection of saints. This hope and prospect carried him through all difficulties in his work. He did not hope to attain it through his own merit and righteousness, but through the merit and righteousness of Jesus Christ.And be found in him - That is, united to him by a living faith. The idea is, that when the investigations of the great day should take place in regard to the ground of salvation, it might be found that he was united to the Redeemer and depended solely on his merits for salvation; compare the notes at John 6:56.

Not having mine own righteousness - That is, not relying on that for salvation. This was now the great aim of Paul, that it might be found at last that he was not trusting to his own merits, but to those of the Lord Jesus.

Which is of the law - see the notes at Romans 10:3. The "righteousness which is of the law" is that which could be obtained by conformity to the precepts of the Jewish religion, such as Paul had endeavored to obtain before he became a Christian. He now saw that no one complied perfectly with the holy law of God, and that all dependence on such a righteousness was vain. All people by nature seek salvation by the law. They set up some standard which they mean to comply with, and expect to be saved by conformity to that. With some it is the law of honor, with others the law of honesty, with others the law of kindness and courtesy, and with others the law of God. If they comply with the requirements of these laws, they suppose that they will be safe, and it is only the grace of God showing them how defective their standard is, or how far they come from complying with its demands, that can ever bring them from this dangerous dependence. Paul in early life depended on his compliance with the laws of God as he understood them, and supposed that he was safe. When he was brought to realize his true condition, he saw how far short he had come of what the law of God required, and that all dependence on his own works was vain.

But that which is through the faith of Christ - That justification which is obtained by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ; see at Romans 1:17, note; Romans 3:24, note; Romans 4:5, note.

Righteousness which is of God by faith - Which proceeds from God, or of which he is the great source and fountain. This may include the following things:

(1) God is the author of pardon - and this is a part of the righteousness which the man who is justified has.

(2) God purposes to treat the justified sinner as if he had not sinned - and thus his righteousness is of God.

(3) God is the source of all the grace that will be imparted to the soul, making it really holy. In this way, all the righteousness which the Christian has is "of God." The idea of Paul is, that he now saw that it was far more desirable to be saved by righteousness obtained from God than by his own. That obtained from God was perfect, and glorious, and sufficient; that which he had attempted to work out was defective, impure, and wholly insufficient to save the soul. It is far more honorable to be saved by God than to save ourselves; it is more glorious to depend on him than to depend on anything that we can do.

9. be found in him—"be found" at His coming again, living spiritually "in Him" as the element of my life. Once lost, I have been "found," and I hope to be perfectly "found" by Him (Lu 15:8).

own righteousness … of the law—(Php 3:6; Ro 10:3, 5). "Of," that is, from.

righteousness … of God by faith—Greek, "which is from God (resting) upon faith." Paul was transported from legal bondage into Christian freedom at once, and without any gradual transition. Hence, the bands of Pharisaism were loosed instantaneously; and opposition to Pharisaic Judaism took the place of opposition to the Gospel. Thus God's providence fitly prepared him for the work of overthrowing all idea of legal justification. "The righteousness of faith," in Paul's sense, is the righteousness or perfect holiness of Christ appropriated by faith, as the objective ground of confidence for the believer, and also as a new subjective principle of life. Hence it includes the essence of a new disposition, and may easily pass into the idea of sanctification, though the two ideas are originally distinct. It is not any arbitrary act of God, as if he treated as sinless a man persisting in sin, simply because he believes in Christ; but the objective on the part of God corresponds to the subjective on the part of man, namely, faith. The realization of the archetype of holiness through Christ contains the pledge that this shall be realized in all who are one with Him by faith, and are become the organs of His Spirit. Its germ is imparted to them in believing although the fruit of a life perfectly conformed to the Redeemer, can only be gradually developed in this life [Neander].

And be found in him; a learned interpreter reads it actively, and may find, or recover, in him, all my losses. But following our own translation: by winning of Christ, the apostle doth not only mean the profession of the faith of the gospel, but his union with Christ, and participation of him, which, in the judgment of the all-seeing God, will answer all damages, when a man comes to stand in judgment at his tribunal here or hereafter, Romans 8:1; this being the only course can be taken to be found of him in peace at the last, 2 Peter 3:14, for out of him is to be under the curse, Galatians 3:10 Ephesians 2:3,12,13. It is necessary, therefore, that a man be implanted into him, who in his priestly office acted in our name towards God, Hebrews 5:1 10:7; and that he abide in him, our Head, John 6:56 15:4 Ephesians 5:30 Colossians 2:6,7 1Jo 5:12, and not be found in himself.

Not having mine own righteosness; that we might more fully understand his meaning of being found in Christ, he defines it negatively and positively, by distinguishing of a twofold righteousness, supposing one necessary to his acceptance with God:

1. Inherent, within him, which he called his own, as being personally performed by him.

Which is of the law, he describes it to be in a conformity to the law, and the righteousness which the law requires, and those works of it, which if a man do, loving God with all his heart, he shall live in them, Romans 2:13 3:27,28 10:5. He makes no distinction of any works done by him before or after conversion, but declares he dare not adventure to be found in any personal inherent righteousness of his own, as to the special end of his justification before God, Galatians 3:10-12. He doth not say, not having good works, unto which he was created in Christ Jesus to walk in them, Ephesians 2:10; but, not having mine own righteousness; he could not trust to any thing within him, as to his standing before God; however he was now enlightened, and acted by a better principle, having a better end than while a Pharisee, he could not upon that account have confidence towards God, no more than Noah, who was a prophet and preacher of righteousness, and in his generation, as to his inherent righteousness, the most perfect and just man; or Abraham, Genesis 15:6 Romans 4:3; or David, Psalm 130:3 143:2. But:

2. He stays upon a righteousness without him, which is not his own by any acquisition of his, but the righteousness of another, Titus 3:5-7, viz. of Christ, without which he would not be found, and in which he would be found, i.e. that which is through the faith of Christ, having him for its object; which he doth elsewhere oppose to the deeds of the law, or works of righteousness that he had done, Romans 3:28 Galatians 2:16 Titus 3:5; as he doth believing unto doing, which describe these two sorts of righteousness, in the one of which he would be found at his trial for justification, in the other he would not, Romans 1:17 10:5,10,11.

Hence, he doth by the following expression signify more clearly the righteousness he stays himself upon, and wherein he would be found at God’s tribunal, viz. the same righteousness which Noah had an eye upon (typified by the ark) when, by preparing an ark, he became heir of the righteousness which is by faith, Hebrews 11:7: the righteousness which is of God by faith; not his own, but counted unto him for righteousness; as unto Abraham, who believed God, Romans 4:3; as unto David, unto whom God imputed righteousness without works, Romans 4:6. This righteousness of God which he imputes upon believing, is not originally the believers’ own inherent righteousness, but the righteousness of another in another, and theirs only derivatively from him, in whom believers are made the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21 (who are not said to be made the mercy of God): unto them, being in Christ Jesus, he is made righteousness, 1 Corinthians 1:30, yea, the righteosness of God, Romans 1:17, (these are spoken of by the apostle distinctly, as here, so elsewhere, Romans 10:3, with Romans 9:30,31), as not only freely given and imputed of God, but as being only of value in the judgment of God to justify, because performed by him, who is not only man but God, Acts 20:28 Romans 3:21,24,25 10:3. Not that it can be meant of the essential righteousness of God; for the righteousness by the faith of Christ, Romans 3:22, or that which constitutes them righteous in God’s sight, upon their receiving of Christ and being implanted into him, was that obedience which he yielded unto God for them, voluntarily doing and suffering his will, John 15:13 Romans 5:6-8 Philippians 2:8 1 Timothy 6:13 Hebrews 9:14. For this obedience in their stead being fully performed by him who had the Divine and human nature conjoined in himself, was of infinite value, so that his mediatorial righteousness being some way imputed to those who are found in him, they are found righteous before God in his just judgment, as living members of Christ, to whom they are united by the Spirit and faith, John 6:56 15:4 Ephesians 5:30,32 Col 1:27. This mystical head and body making but one Christ, and thereupon his righteousness is reputed theirs (and thereby they are set right with God) in such a measure as is meet for it to be communicated from Head to members, who partake of the thing imputed, the righteousness which satisfied the law, and therefore most proper to justify against it, and answer the demands of it. And in that it is said to be

the righteoueness of God by faith, we consider faith as the means whereby we came to be interested in it. Faith itself is not the righteousness, which is upon, not in the believer, Romans 3:22, entering into judgment with God; but the righteousness which believers find in Christ, which was ordained of God to denominate them righteous. The law (which requires obedience) having its end in nothing but the righteousness which satisfied it, called the righteousness of Christ, Romans 10:4, with Titus 2:13 2 Peter 1:1; wherein the law is established, Romans 3:31, and its righteousness fulfilled, Romans 8:4; inherent graces are not called the righteousness, but our own, Matthew 5:20 Luke 21:19 Romans 10:8 2 Corinthians 8:8 Colossians 1:4 1 Peter 1:21. Christ is so far righteousness as he is the end of the law, and that he is in the satisfaction itself, not in remission, which is an effect of it.

And be found in him,.... This is another end the apostle had in view, in counting all things loss and dung, and suffering the loss of all for Christ. Calvin, different from other interpreters, reads the words actively, "and may find in him"; and thinks the sense is, that the apostle renounced all things for Christ, that he might recover all in him: and true it is, that for the loss of carnal privileges, he found in Christ spiritual blessings; and for the loss of his own righteousness, another, and a better, even the righteousness of God; and in lieu of external goods, or worldly substance he was stripped of, true and lasting riches; and in the room of outward credit, peace and plenty, true honour, real peace, and spiritual pasture; and instead of the comforts of life, and life itself, spiritual and eternal life; though it is best to read the words passively, "and be found in him"; that is, "be in him", as the Ethiopic version renders it; so the word found is used in Galatians 2:17 Philippians 2:8; and he means not a nominal being in Christ, or a being in him by profession, but a real one; and watch is either secret or open: a secret being in Christ he had from everlasting, being chosen in him, given to him, loved by him, betrothed unto him, preserved in him, and represented by him; and an open one he had at conversion, when he became a new creature, and was created in Christ Jesus unto good works: and here he intends a more clear and evident manifestation of his being in Christ; and his desire is, that he might appear to be in him, in life and at death, and at the day of judgment, and in the following manner:

not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law; by which he means his obedience to the moral, as well as the ceremonial law; for the one was as much his own as the other, and more properly his righteousness: this he calls his "own", because performed by him, and wrought out in his own strength; and which he had an high opinion of, as if it was perfect and blameless; and which he had before put his trust and confidence in; as also to distinguish it from another's righteousness, even that which he had in Christ: he moreover calls it, "the righteousness which is of the law"; which the law required, and he performed in obedience to it, seeking for justification by it; this character distinguishes it from the righteousness of God, which is revealed in the Gospel, and is manifested without the law: and this his own legal righteousness he did not desire to "have", and to be found in; not but that he desired to live soberly and righteously, to have, and do works of righteousness, but not depend on them; he would not have, and account this his moral righteousness, as a justifying one; he knew it was imperfect, filthy, and unprofitable, and that by it he could not be justified and saved, therefore he desired to have another,

But that which is through the faith of Christ; not through that faith which Christ himself, as man, had and exercised on God, as his God; but that which he is the author and finisher of, and which has him and his righteousness for its object; not through faith, as the cause of it; for the moving cause of justification is the free grace of God, and the efficient cause is God himself: and it appears from hence, that faith is not the matter of our justification, or is not our righteousness; for faith and righteousness are two distinct things, otherwise righteousness could not be said to be "through" faith. The righteousness of Christ is here meant, and which is the sole matter of justification, and comes to us through faith apprehending, receiving, and embracing it; and which shows, that it must be before faith, or it could not be through it; as water that runs through a bridge must be before and after that bridge through which it runs. This righteousness is further described, as

the righteousness which is of God by faith; that righteousness which Christ, who is the true God, is the author of, hence it is a pure and perfect one, infinite, and serves for many; which God the Father approves of, and is well pleased with, because his law is magnified, and made honourable by it; and what he graciously gives, and freely imputes without works, to his people: and this is "by faith", which beholds the excellency of it, acknowledges its sufficiency, renounces its own righteousness, and submits to, and lays hold on this, and rejoices in it; and thus men are justified openly and manifestly by faith, receiving the justifying righteousness of Christ: or the words may be rendered "upon faith". This righteousness is as a garment put upon faith, or put upon him by God, who has true faith in Christ; see Romans 3:22. This last clause, "by faith", is omitted in the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, and seems to be read by them as belonging to the beginning of Philippians 3:10. Now this righteousness the apostle desired to have, and be found in; and this he says not, as supposing that a person may be found in Christ, and yet not have his righteousness; nor as if he himself had not this righteousness, and an interest in it; but to show his value for it, and his desire to be continually exercising faith on it, and the trust and confidence he placed in it; well knowing that in this he was safe and secure from all condemnation; this would answer for him in a time to come; being found in this he should not be naked nor speechless, and should have a right and an admission into the kingdom and glory of Christ Jesus.

And be found in {g} him, {h} 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:

(g) In Christ: for those that are found outside of Christ are subject to condemnation.

(h) That is, to be in Christ, to be found not in a man's own righteousness, but clothed with the righteousness of Christ imputed to him.

Php 3:9. Καὶ εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ] and to be found in Him. The emphasis, which previously lay upon Χριστόν, is laid not upon ἐν αὐτῷ (Hofmann), but upon the εὑρεθῶ placed first for that reason, and introducing a new feature of the relation aimed at, annexing to the (subjective) gaining of Christ the (objective) moulding of life corresponding to it. The apostle desires to be found in Christ, as in the element of his life; by this he means (comp. Ignatius, Eph. 11) the whole perceptible manifestation of his Christian being and nature; so that εὑρ. must neither be limited to the judicium Dei (Beza, comp. Flatt), nor taken as sim (Grotius and others). Calvin erroneously makes εὑρεθῶ active: Paulum renuntiasse omnibus quae habebat, ut recuperaret in Christo.

μὴ ἔχων κ.τ.λ.] Specific modal definition to εὑρ. ἐν αὐτῷ: so that I, in accordance with this design, may not have, etc. Van Hengel erroneously connects (Lachmann, also, and Tischendorf have omitted the comma after αὐτῷ) μὴ ἔχων κ.τ.λ. immediately with εὑρ. ἐν αὐτῷ· et deprehendar in communione ejus non meam qualemcunque habere probitatem. Thus, indeed, ἐν αὐτῷ would be utterly superfluous! The subjective negation μή flows from the conception of design (ἵνα), see Baeumlein, Partik. p. 295; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 302 [E. T. 351]; and ἔχων is the simple habens, possessing, not: holding fast (am Ende, Rheinwald, Baumgarten-Crusius).

ἐμὴν δικ. τὴν ἐκ νόμου] See on Php 3:6; comp. Romans 10:3. It is the righteousness acquired as a self-achievement (ἐμήν), which proceeds from the law by means of a justifying compliance with it (Romans 2:13). As to the nature of this righteousness, and the impossibility of attaining it, comp. Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:10; Romans 3:19 f., Romans 4:4, Romans 7:7 ff., Romans 9:31, et al.

τὴν διὰ πίστ. Χριστοῦ] contrast to ἐμήν: that procured by faith in Christ[160] (as the causa apprehendens). The causa efficiens is God (His grace, see Ephesians 2:8); hence, for the complete exhaustion of the matter, τὴν ἐκ Θεοῦ δικ. is added, in which ἐκ Θεοῦ, correlative to the preceding ἐκ νόμου, expresses the causal issuing from God. As to the way in which this ἐκ Θεοῦ takes place, namely, by God’s imputing faith as righteousness,[161] see Romans 1:17; Romans 3:24 f., Php 4:3 ff.; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Galatians 3:6.

ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει] on the ground of faith (Acts 3:16), added at the end with solemn emphasis, and dependent on ἔχων, which is again to be supplied after ἀλλά. So also Weiss. The repetition of ἔχων after ἐπὶ τ. πίστει, which Hofmann feels the want of in this explanation, would be simply superfluous and clumsy. Ἐπὶ τ. π. is usually attached to δικαιοσύνην (“justitiam superstructam fidei,” Hoelemann, Wiesinger), some having taken ἐπί as “in fide” (Vulgate, Calvin), or in fide sitam (Castalio); others as “per fidem” (Beza, Grotius); others, for the sake of faith (de Wette); others, upon the condition of faith (Storr, Flatt, Matthies, Rilliet, van Hengel, J. B. Lightfoot). But it may be urged against this connection, first, that, in accordance with the previous definitions, we could not but expect the repetition of the article; secondly, that δικαιοῦσθαι with ἐπί nowhere occurs in the N. T.; and lastly, that δικαιοσύνη in its quality as righteousness of faith was already distinctly designated by τὴν διὰ πίστ. Χ., so that the same attribute of it would be expressed twice, and, on the other hand, the ἔχων which is to be repeated after ἀλλά (the basis of which is still ἐπὶ τ. π.) would be without any more precise definition. In opposition to Hofmann, who makes ἐπὶ τ. πίστει belong to the following infinitive clause, see on Php 3:10.

[160] On the genitive of the object with πίστις, comp. Php 1:27. Against taking it as the genitive auctoris, see on Romans 3:22.

[161] In this passage also, therefore, justification by faith is the basis and presupposition of further Christian development up to the blessed consummation, ver. 11. Comp. Köstlin, in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1856, p. 121 f.

Php 3:9. εὑρεθῶ. It is probably used here in the semi-technical sense which it received in post-classical Greek = τυγχάνω with participle (French se trouver), “turn out actually to be”. “And actually be in Him,” from the eschatological standpoint (see Viteau, Le Verbe, p. 192). The idea is involved of a revelation of real character. Cf. Galatians 2:17, εἰ δὲεὑρέθημεν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἁμαρτωλοί.—ἐν αὐτῷ. The central fact of Paul’s religious life and thought, the complete identification of the believer with Christ.—μὴ ἔχων. μή either depends directly on ἵνα or is used to express Paul’s own view of what is implied in εὑρεθ. ἐν α. This last thought must be regarded as the basis on which the clauses immediately following rest.—ἐμὴν δικ. “A righteousness of my own.” Cf. Apoc. of Bar., lxiii. 3 “then Hezekiah trusted in his works and had hope in his righteousness”. The noun δικ. is anarthrous to emphasise the idea belonging to it in its essential force. ἐμήν is added to define, and then the definition is elaborated by the clause with the article. An instructive parallel is Galatians 2:20, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ (see an important note in Green, Gram. of N.T., pp. 34–35). δικαιοσύνη, as usually in Paul’s writings, means a right relation between him and God. The retention of the word by Paul to denote the position of the Christian before God is, as Holst. (Paulin. Theol., p. 64) points out, a proof of his close connexion with the Jewish consciousness. We may call it a “forensic” word, for certainly there always lies behind it the idea of a standard appointed by God, a law, the expression of the Divine will. The qualifying words here show what Paul has in view.—τὴν ἐκ νόμου. Cf. the lament for the destruction of Jerusalem in Apoc. of Bar., lxvii. 6, “the vapour of the smoke of the incense of righteousness which is by the law is extinguished in Zion” (and see Charles’ note on xv. 5). This hypothetical δικ., which he calls his own, could only spring from complete conformity to the will of God as revealed in precepts and commands. That is the kind of relation to God which Paul has found to be impossible. On νόμος without the article see on Php 3:5 supr. τὴν διὰ πίστεως Χ., τὴν ἐκ Θεοῦ δικ. ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει. The exact character of this δικαιοσύνη which Paul prizes must be carefully noted. The presupposition of possessing it is “to be found in Christ”. It is not a righteousness which he can win by legal observances. It springs from God. What does this new relation to God precisely mean? The one condition of understanding the Apostle’s language is to remember that he combines in his thinking two conceptions of δικαιοσύνη, or perhaps we should rather say that his own experience has made vivid for him a two-sided conception of this relation. On the one hand, he thinks of δικ. as connected with God, the Judge of men. God, strictly marking sin, might condemn men absolutely, because all have sinned. Instead of that, because of His grace manifested in Jesus Christ the crucified and working through Christ’s death, He deals mercifully with sinners, treats them as righteous on account of the propitiation made by the Righteous One, treats them as standing in a right relation to Himself, i.e., pardons them. δικαιοσύνη thus comes to be God’s gracious way of dealing with us, “forgiveness with the Forgiver in it” (Rainy, op. cit., p. 231), the relation with God into which we are brought by His grace for Jesus’ sake, regarded more or less as an activity of His, practically = salvation (which, already in O.T., rested upon the rectitude of God’s character, see, e.g., Isaiah 51:5-8, Psalm 98:2). God’s justifying of us makes us δίκαιοι in His sight: we possess δικαιοσύνη. That, however, might appear arbitrary. But the Apostle gives no ground for such a suspicion. This δικ. ἐκ Θεοῦ is only reached “through the faith of Christ,” i.e., the faith which Christ kindles, of which He is the author, which, also, He nourishes and maintains (see esp[46]. Haussleiter, Greifswald. Studien, pp. 177–178). This δικ. is securely founded on faith in Christ (ἐπὶ τῇ π.). But what does such faith effect? It is that which makes the believer one with Christ. He shares in all that his Lord possesses. Christ imparts life to him. Christ’s relation to the Father becomes his. But this is no longer a being regarded or dealt with by God as if he were δίκαιος. Union with Christ makes it possible for the Christian to be δίκαιος, to show himself such in actual behaviour. Thus δικαιοσύνη may express something more than the relation to God into which believers are brought by God’s justifying judgment (which for their experience means the sense of forgiveness with the Forgiver in it). It embraces the conduct which is the response to that forgiving love of God, a love only bestowed on the soul united to Christ by faith (see esp[47]. Pfieid., Paulin., i., p. 175; Hltzm[48]., N.T. Th., ii., pp. 127–129, 138–139; Häring, Δικ. Θεοῦ bei Paulus, Tübingen, 1896; Kölbing, SK[49]., 1895, 7 ff.; Denney, Expos., vi., 3, p. 433 ff., 4, p. 299 ff., Holst., Paulin. Th., pp. 65–66).

[46] especially.

[47] especially.

[48] tzm. Holtzmann.

[49] . Studien und Kritiken.

9. be found in him] at any moment of scrutiny or test; alike in life, in death, and before the judgment-seat. The truth of the believer’s deep incorporation in his Lord and Head, and identification with Him for acceptance and life, is here full in view. In the surrender of faith (Ephesians 2:8-10; cp. John 3:36) he becomes, in the deep laws of spiritual life, a true “limb” of the sacred Head; interested in His merits, penetrated with His exalted Life. In the Epistles to Colossæ and Ephesus, written from the same chamber as this, we have the large development of this truth; and cp. John 15:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12.

Lightfoot remarks (on Galatians 2:17, and here) that the verb “to find” is very frequent in Aramaized Greek, and has somewhat lost its distinctive meaning. Still, it is seldom if ever used in the N.T. where that meaning has not some place.

mine own righteousness] Rather more precisely, with R.V., a righteousness of mine own. The word “righteousness” is highly characteristic, and of special meaning, in St Paul. In very numerous passages (examine Romans 3:5-26; Romans 4:3; Romans 4:5-6; Romans 4:9; Romans 4:11; Romans 4:13; Romans 6:16; Romans 10:3; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 3:9; and cp. Titus 3:5) its leading idea evidently is that of acceptance, satisfactoriness, however secured, to law; whether to special or to general law as the case may be. (See Grimm’s Greek-Eng. Lexicon of the N.T., Thayer’s edition, on the word δικαιοσύνη, for a good statement of the matter from the purely critical point of view.) “A righteousness of mine own” is thus a title to acceptance, a claim on Divine justice, due to my own doings and merits, supposed to satisfy a legal standard.

which is of the law] Literally, again “of law.” But R.V. retains the definite article, as practically right in translation, as it was in Php 3:6.—How shall we define the word “Law” here? Is it the Mosaic law from the Pharisee’s point of view, as in Php 3:6? Or is it the far larger fact of the Divine preceptive moral code, taken as a covenant of life, in which the terms are, “Do this, truly and perfectly, and live; do this, and claim acceptance as of right”? We take the answer to be that it means here this latter as an extension of the former; that the thought rises, or developes itself, in this passage, from the idea of special ordinance to the idea of universal covenanting precept. And our reasons lie, partly in this context, partly in the great parallel passages in the Epistles to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians. In the present context the ideas immediately contrasted or opposed to that of “the law” are ideas not of “work,” in any meaning of that word, but of “faith.” And for exposition of this we turn to the argument of Romans 1-5, and of Galatians 2:3, and of Ephesians 2:1-10, and (a passage closely parallel to this; see notes in this Series) 13–17; and of Colossians 2:8-14. In this whole range of teaching it is apparent that the idea of Law, as a whole, cannot possibly be satisfied by explaining it to mean merely a Divine code of observances, though that is one of its lower and subsidiary meanings. It means the whole system of Divine precept, moral as well as ceremonial, eternal as well as temporal, taken as a covenant to be fulfilled in order to acceptance of the person before God. The implicit or explicit contrary is that such acceptance is procured for us by the merits of the Redeeming Lord, appropriated to the sinner by the single profound means of faith, that is to say, acceptance of Him as Sacrifice, Saviour, Lord, on the warrant of God’s word. Such faith, in the spiritual order of things, unites to Christ, and in that union the “member” receives the merit of the “Head” for his acceptance, and the life and power of the Head for obedience. That obedience (see esp. Ephesians 2:8-10) is now rendered not in fulfilment of a covenant for acceptance, but in the life, and for the love, given to the believer under the covenant in which he is accepted, from first to last, for the sake of his meritorious Lord and Head. Cp. further, Hebrews 10, esp. 15–18; with Jeremiah 31:33-34.

Such is the general Pauline doctrine of acceptance, a doctrine such as to give its opponents or perverters, from the very first, a superficial excuse to make it out to be antinomian (Romans 3:8; Romans 6:1); a fact of the utmost weight in the estimate of its true bearing.

Such a general doctrine assists us in interpreting this great incidental passage. And we infer here accordingly that the primary idea is that of acceptance for Christ’s sake, as against acceptance on the score of any sort of personal merit. The spiritual development of the regenerate being comes in nobly here, as in the other and larger passages referred to; but it comes in upon the basis, and as the sequel, of a gratuitous acceptance for Christ’s sake alone. See notes on Php 3:10.

that which is through the faith of Christ] So lit., but better, in regard of English idiom, that which is through faith in Christ. For the Greek construction (“faith of,” meaning “faith in”) cp. e.g. Mark 11:22; Acts 3:16; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Here again, as with the words “law” and “righteousness,” St Paul’s writings are a full commentary. See especially Romans 3:22-28, a passage most important as a parallel here. It brings out the fact that “faith,” in the case in question, has special regard to Christ as the shedder of His sacred blood in propitiation, and that the blessing immediately received by faith thus acting is the acceptance, the justification, of the sinner before the holy Lawgiver and Judge, solely for the Propitiator’s sake. See further Romans 4, 5; Romans 8:33-34; Romans 9:33; Romans 10:4; Romans 10:9-10; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:1-14; Galatians 3:21-24; Ephesians 2:8-9.

Much discussion has been raised over the true meaning of “faith” in Scripture doctrine. It may suffice to point out that at least the leading and characteristic idea of the word is personal trust, not of course without grounds, but on grounds other than “sight.” It is certainly not mere assent to testimony, a mental act perfectly separable from the act of personal reliance. Setting aside James 2:14-26, where the argument takes up and uses designedly an inadequate idea of faith (see Commentary on the Romans in this Series, p. 261), the word “faith” consistently conveys in Scripture the thought of personal reliance, trustful acceptance of Divine truth, of Divine work, of the Divine Worker and Lord[23]. And if we venture to ask why such reliance takes this unique place in the process of salvation, we may reply with reverence that, so far as we can see into the mysterious fact, it is because the essence of such reliance is a going forth from self to God, a bringing of nothing in order to receive everything. There is thus a moral fitness in faith to be the saving contact and recipient, while yet all ideas of moral worthiness and deservingness are decisively banished from it. It is fit to receive the Divine gift, just as a hand, not clean perhaps but empty, is fit to receive a material gift. Certainly in the reasonings of St Paul every effort is made to bring out the thought that salvation by faith means in effect salvation by Christ only and wholly, received by sinful man, as sinful man, simply and directly in and by personal reliance on God’s word. The sinner is led off, in a happy oblivion of himself, to simple and entire rest in his Saviour.

[23] Fides est fiducia (Luther). See this admirably developed and illustrated by J. C. Hare, Victory of Faith, pp. 15–22 (ed. 1847).

the righteousness which is of God] On the word “righteousness” see above, note 2 on this verse. Here, practically, it means acceptance, welcome, as a child and saint, in Christ and for Christ’s sake.

“Of God”:—lit., “out of God,” originating wholly in Him, uncaused by anything in man. Its origin is the Father’s love, its reason and security, the Son’s merits, its conveyance, the Holy Spirit uniting the sinner in faith to the Son.

For some good remarks, of caution as well as assertion, on justifying righteousness, see G. S. Faber’s Primitive Doctrine of Justification, ch. i, pp. 25–32, with footnotes (ed. 1839).

by faith] Lit., upon faith; in view of, under circumstances of, faith. We may render, “on condition of faith.” But faith, in the Pauline view, is not a mere condition; it is the recipient act and state. It is a condition, not as paying for a meal is a condition to getting good from it, but as eating it is a condition.

On the doctrine of this verse cp. the Sermon of Salvation (being the third in the First Book of Homilies), referred to in Art. xi. as “the Homily of Justification”; and the short treatise of Bp Hopkins, of Londonderry (cent. 17), The Doctrine of the Two Covenants. See further Appendix F; and cp. at large O’Brien, Nature and Effects of Faith, and Hooker’s Discourse of Justification, esp. §§ 3–6, 31–34.

Php 3:9. Εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ) viz. ὤν.—μὴ ἔχων, not having) The words, to suffer loss, to win, to be found, to have, are figurative. The immediate consequence of being, and being found, in Christ, is to have righteousness by faith in Christ. The book מחזור, the collection of prayers for the Jews, has אני ממעשים שולל וערום וצדקתך לבדה היא כסתי, .e. In regard to works I am quite empty and bare, and Thy righteousness alone is my clothing.—ἐμὴν, own) The antithesis is, (the righteousness) is of () ; but ἐμὴν without the article serves to indicate oblivion of the past.[41]—τὴν ἐκ νόμου, that which is of the law) Php 3:6; comp. of, Romans 4:14. The antithesis is, that which is by faith.—διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ) by the faith of Christ, viz. in Christ.—ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει) [which rests] upon faith.

[41] i.e. A wish to forget his former kind of righteousness, as if not his at all.—ED.

Verse 9. - And be found in him; now, at the last day, always. In Christ; a member, that is, of his body, a living branch of the true Vine. Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law; rather, as R.V., not harding a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the Law. Not any righteousness of my own, such as that described in ver. 6, the righteousness which consists in and results from conformity to an external law. But perhaps the words are best rendered, as in the margin of R.V., "Not having as my righteousness that which is of the Law." St. Paul was blameless as regards that righteousness which lies in legal observances: in that he puts no confidence, he seeks a better righteousness. But that which is through the faith of Christ; rather, as R.V., through faith in Christ. There is no article, and the genitive is objective. Through faith. God is the Giver, the Source of righteousness; it is given through faith as the means, on condition of faith. The righteousness which is of God by faith. Greek, "upon faith," based upon faith, or on condition of faith. St. Paul speaks of "having" this righteousness. Then it is his; yet it is not any righteousness of his own, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done;" but a righteousness of God given to him, merited, not by his works, but by the perfect obedience and the precious death of Christ, and granted unto all who are found in Christ. It comes from God, the one only Giver of all good things; it is obtained through faith as the instrument or means; and it is given on that faith - on condition, that is, of a living faith abiding in the soul. Thus St. Paul states incidentally, but simply and forcibly, the great doctrine of justification by faith. Philippians 3:9Be found (εὑρεθῶ)

Discovered or proved to be. See on Philippians 2:8. Compare Romans 7:10; Galatians 2:17.

Mine own righteousness (ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην)

Rev., correctly, a righteousness of mine own. The A.V. would require the article with ἐμὴν mine, and assumes the existence of a personal righteousness; whereas Paul says, not having any righteousness which can be called mine.

Which is of the law (τὴν ἐκ νόμου)

Rev., better, even that which is of the law; thus bringing out the force of the article which defines the character of that righteousness which alone could be personal, viz., righteousness consisting in the strict fulfillment of the law.

Through the faith of Christ (διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ)

Rev., better, through faith in Christ. Faith as opposed to the law. The change of prepositions, through (διὰ) faith, and of (ἐκ) the law, as turning on the distinction between faith represented as the medium, and the law as the source of justification, cannot be insisted upon as a rule, since both the prepositions are used with faith, as in Galatians 2:16. Compare Romans 3:30; Romans 5:1.

Of God

Contrasted with my own.

By faith (ἐπὶ)

Resting upon faith, or on the condition of. Compare Acts 3:16.

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