And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ…
The phrase implies —
1. That there is an estate in Christ.
2. An abiding in it.
I. LET US EXPLAIN THE PHRASE. It is taken from plants which are grafted into stocks, or from the branches which are in the tree. Of this union there are three degrees.
1. We are in Christ in the eternal love and purpose of God.
2. When Christ died we were in Him as a public person.
3. More properly now by faith, as friends are in one another by love. But as Christ is in heaven, how can we be united to Him? I answer, If a tree did reach to heaven and have its root in the earth, doth this hinder the union of root and branches. And although Christ be in heaven, yet are we united to Him by His Spirit, and receive influence from Him of all grace and goodness.
II. THE DOCTRINES THAT ARE CLEARED HEREBY.
1. Justification by faith. For if the question is, How are we saved by Christ's righteousness? I answer, Christ and we are one, and whatsoever He hath is ours.
2. The sacrament. The Paoists would have the bread transubstantiated, that the body of Christ may be united to us. But I ask, How is the foot united to head? By spiritual vigour passing to and fro through the body. It is not, therefore, necessary that there should be corporal union. Christ comforted His disciples more by His Spirit when He departed, than He did by His corporal presence.
III. THE COMFORT OF THIS. Before we were in Christ we were in a state of horror and condemnation. But now we are in Him —
1. Our nature is exalted to the Godhead.
2. Whatever we may lose in other states here is a state that cannot be shaken.
3. Blessed are those who die in the Lord.
4. After death we shall be with Him in our Father's house. 5, All who touch us touch Him (Acts 9:4).
IV. THE DUTIES WHICH SPRING OUT OF THIS.
1. In duties towards God how thankful we ought to be to Him.
2. It ought to stir us up to duties in respect to our fellow members, particularly in charity to Christ's poor.
3. Towards ourselves. We are to carry ourselves with dignity, and to grow up into our living head.
V. HOW SHALL WE COME TO BE FOUND IN CHRIST.
1. We must come where He is.
2. We must separate ourselves from what is contrary to Christ.Learn —
1. That a Christian is continually under Christ's wing till he be in heaven.
2. There is such a time when God will search men out and lay them open as they are.
3. The foundation of future happiness must be laid now.
(R. Sibbes, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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: