Lord, instruct us in the word of thy righteousness. Amen.
Philippians 3, 7-11. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 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: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
If you, also, know the Lord Jesus Christ, and know that you have in truth been justified by faith in him, you must learn more and more to prize and praise the excellency of this knowledge. It is counted as having but little value by many in our times; even by many who have made a beginning in the true knowledge of it. When an apostle of infidelity parades his would-be-wise theories, they are at once ready to discard Christ and the gospel, faith and the righteousness which is of faith, the death and the life of the Son of God, with everything that can save from sin and Satan ; and in its place they take up with some false and shallow ideas about their own wisdom and virtue, which end in hopelessness and despair. Paul learned to prize the grace of God in Christ more highly from day to day; and indeed it could not be otherwise, as he was all the time coming into closer fellowship with the Lord. A true scientist who studies the works of God in nature does not tire of it, but rejoices in every new discovery of new depths in the wisdom of God. Now, in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in him are found the deep sources of life, the divine flood of love and righteousness. And the glorious feature of it is this, that in finding them we find exactly what the heart needs, true peace and the treasures of eternal bliss. Should not Paul, and we with him, zealously study these things, into which even the angels desire to look?
My own virtue from childhood is so absolutely worthless as a means of acquiring righteousness, and is such a paltry nothing in comparison with the merit of Christ, which he gives me precisely as though it were my own, that with Paul I do count all mine own righteousness but dung, and throw it away as foul uncleanness. Such a statement offends our reason and pride, and the whole world rises in revolt against it; but it is true for all that. My own righteousness is indeed filth, and I must throw it away. My whole heart follows after, if that I may be found in Christ, and in the righteousness which is of faith.
Paul could not be without him. It is only in the power of Christ’s resurrection that I can live the life of love; it is only in the fellowship of his sufferings that I am purified and made fit to dwell in the holy city. Jesus is my wisdom, my righteousness, my sanctification, my redemption. He is all this; he and none other. In myself I am altogether unrighteous and wretched; but in him I am righteous and blest. Shall not the truth be the truth? I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. I live unto him who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Blessed be thou, Lord Jesus, who didst give me thy righteousness, and didst receive me into the fellowship of thy death and thy life. Let everything die in me which is not of thee, and let nothing but thy righteousness and love live in me. Sanctify me thereby wholly in spirit and soul and body, and let me be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord. Amen.
O love, how cheering is thy ray!
All pain before thy presence flies:
Care, anguish, sorrow, melt away,
Where’er thy healing beams arise.
O Jesus, nothing may I see,
Nothing desire or seek but thee!
From all eternity, with love
Unchangeable thou hast me viewed;
Ere knew this beating heart to move,
Thy tender mercies me pursued.
Ever with me may they abide,
And close me in on every side.