When Paul was to tell us about his faithfulness to the LAW before he knew Christ…he used a unique phrase to express his pass mark:
‘…touching the righteousness which is in the law, BLAMELESS…’ (Phil 3:6)
As in, there is nothing you can possibly dictate as a requirement for righteousness under the Law…that you will find Paul wanting! I like how the NLT puts the above verse:
‘…And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law WITHOUT FAULT…’ (Phil 3:6 NLT)
Wouldn’t you consider Paul as a ‘super man’? Hardly can a mortal man come to such conclusion about himself! Can you? Like… Can you really say… concerning the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the Law, you are BLAMELESS? I guess no! But Paul did! He was serious with his ‘spiritual’ life of keeping the Law!
But if you keep reading the New Testament, you will find yourself reading Brother Paul again writing to Timothy about his life before he knew Christ especially when he was zealous for the Law. It is expected to think Paul will use same expression of ‘Blameless to the Law’ he used in Philippians for Timothy too – since he is describing same timing! Here is what he says about himself:
‘… Christ Jesus came into the world to save SINNERS; of whom I AM CHIEF…’ (1Tim 1:15)
I thought he was BLAMELESS when it came to the Law! How come he now realized that he was not just a sinner as at then – he was a CHIEF of sinners! As in, if sinners gather, he will be conveniently appointed as their ruler. Yet he was a Judaist (addicted to fulfilling the law) from birth! (Phil 3:5)
Why the sudden switch? How come the fast transition from ‘blameless concerning the law’… to… ‘chief of sinners’ in describing the same events and timing? (Phil 3:4-6, 1Tim 1:11-14) The answer is in this profound verse which every believer ought to memorize:
‘…For no one CAN EVER BE made right with God by DOING WHAT THE LAW COMMANDS. The law simply shows us HOW SINFUL we are…’ (Romans 3:20 NLT)
What Paul didn’t realize on time was that “the deeper you go into the Law, the more you realize how sinful you are”! In Philippians, Paul spoke from the perspective of the Law… while in Timothy, he spoke from the perspective of Grace. When you look at your works via the lens of the Law, you will consider yourself as BLAMELESS! (Luke 18:18-21) But when you humble yourself to the truth of the Gospel and view your works via the lens of Grace, you will see how much of a CHIEF SINNER you are! (Luke 18:13-14)
What then will be the accurate way to be righteous before God…if blamelessness concerning the Law can subtly equate becoming the chief of sinners? Let’s learn from the same Brother Paul! In that same Philippians chapter 3 context, Paul came to a conclusion that explains what God desires to see in any believer at any time!
‘…I NO LONGER count on my own righteousness through OBEYING THE LAW; rather, I become righteous THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST. For God’s way of making us right with himself DEPENDS ON FAITH…’ (Phil 3:9 NLT)
Now listen carefully: Difficulty in accepting that you cannot be righteous by the Law is the sure sign that you are on the path to seeing how much of a CHIEF SINNER you are! But rejoicing in the truth that you can never ‘do enough’ to earn God’s righteousness but only by faith in Jesus… then it’s a sure sign that you are on the path of a true VICTORIOUS Christian living! Righteousness only comes by FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST! I conclude with the last phrase in the above quoted verse:
‘…For God’s way of making us right with himself DEPENDS ON FAITH…’ (Phil 3:9 NLT)
Have you believed in the atonement of Jesus for your sins? Then, congratulations! You are righteous WITHOUT your works. This Right Believing…will definitely lead you to…Right living!