Once we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, it seems that we should realize we have no righteousness in ourselves. Deep down, we know, but our human nature tends to push the correct knowledge somewhere in the mind where we are not confronted with the facts. Although we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we begin to think that we are responsible for our own righteousness, conveniently overlooking the fact that we are saved by grace through faith.
In Philippians 3, Paul discusses the subject in great detail. In verse 3, Paul states that he puts no confidence in the flesh as many Jews of his day did. Insisting that new converts to Christ follow the Jewish law was a popular trend in Paul’s day. Although popular among some Jewish people, it was controversial, and it was not biblical.
Paul, formerly known as Saul, was a Pharisee of Pharisees. He followed the law to the letter. He crossed all his t’s and dotted all his i’s, so to speak, before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Although he had great credentials, Paul acknowledged that his greatness was nothing compared to the greatness of Christ.
Romans 3:23 clearly states that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Why is it that when we begin to gain victory over sin in our lives, which, by the way, only comes through Jesus, that we begin to get pride, a sin within itself? Any accomplishments we make spiritually are only because of the grace of God poured out on us. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts and helps us.
My confidence cannot be in my good works. No matter how many good deeds I do, they will neither make atonement for my sin nor allow me entrance into heaven. If that were the case, Jesus would not have come to be the sacrificial lamb for our sins. The good I do should be a result of my love for Jesus, not a pathetic self-righteousness.
Confidence in Christ
I clearly believe that we can be confident in who we are in Christ, but we also must have a realization of who we are without Christ. This will keep the balance. We will have godly confidence without self-righteousness. We can be confident of who we are in Christ, who we are because of his death and resurrection. Our confidence should not be in our works which represent a false ability to save ourselves.
Just as the religious leaders of Paul’s day thought that being circumcised along with following the letter of the law made them righteous, we often think that we are righteous because we do good deeds. No, our confidence is not in our flesh, but in who Jesus is through us. We should not be doing good works to be righteous. We will do good works as a result of the change that has been made inside of us because of Jesus Christ. Anything else is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
What about you? Where is your confidence? Place your confidence in Christ, rather than yourself. The righteousness of Christ is one that does not fail.