NOT HAVING OUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS,
BUT GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS
In verse 9 Paul also says, "Not having mine own righteousness." This phrase modifies the word "found." We need to be found in Christ in a condition of not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but having the righteousness that is by the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is out from God by faith. Paul did not have his own righteousness; he had God’s righteousness. Righteousness refers to proper and upright living, to a life that is right. Paul was found by the angels and by all who were around him in a condition of not having his upright living out from himself, but out from God. This means that God was lived out of Paul. As he was in Christ, having his being in Christ, and moving, walking, and doing everything in Christ, Paul lived out God. Thus, God was expressed in his right living. His living was not his behavior; it was God Himself.
Doctrinally it is difficult to tell whether a brother’s righteousness is his own or is the expression of God. But it is quite easy to tell by discerning the scent of his righteousness. By our sense of smell, not by our sense of sight, we can discern a pleasant scent from a disagreeable one. For example, a certain kind of love may give off an odor that makes us sick. This kind of love is not only natural, human love, but fleshly love. Although it is love, it has a very foul odor. In other cases we can smell a love that is heavenly, fresh, pure, sweet, and divine. This kind of love is the expression of the love of God; it is the loving God manifested through His children. This is the righteousness which is out from God and based upon faith.
THE FAITH OF CHRIST
The righteousness that is based upon faith is conditioned by faith. It does not come by our efforts, endeavors, or struggles. It comes simply by the faith of Christ. Hence, there is no need for us to strive, struggle, or endeavor. We simply need to gain Christ, live in Him, and even rest in Him. Christ is my faith. I have been crucified with Christ, Christ lives in me, and the life which I live I live by the faith of Christ (Gal. 2:20). My living today is conditioned by Christ’s faith. It is based upon the faith of Christ, not upon a faith that I myself can produce. Thus, Christ is not only my life; He is also my faith. By faith, I repudiate myself and take Christ as my life. Because I have no trust in my flesh, I set it aside, take Christ by faith, and live by Him. Spontaneously, God is lived out of me, manifested through me, and expressed from within me. Such a living is a proper and upright living.
This type of upright living is not according to the law, but on account of God, for it is God Himself expressed through us. Because most of today’s Christians do not see this, they are living in another realm, in another sphere. But we are in the sphere of Christ, living out God from within us. This is not a matter of behaving or struggling, but of resting. We simply need to rest in Him, resting in our Lord who is our life and our faith. In this way we live out God as our upright living. This is the righteousness out from God based upon faith. May we all be found in Christ in this condition! Day by day, angels and all who are around us need to find us in such a condition. We should be able to say, "Angels, look at the Christians in the Lord’s recovery. They are in a condition of having God lived out of them. They don’t care for behavior or conduct. They care only for taking Christ as their life. They always take Christ as life and rest in Him. Whenever you see them, you find them in Christ in a condition of having God lived out of them." This is the proper church life with a living testimony. This is what the Lord desires today. Oh, that we may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having our own righteousness which is out from the law, but having the righteousness which is by the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is out from God based upon faith! May we gain Christ and be found in Him in such a condition!
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)