In Philippians 3:10-11, Paul goes on to explain why he discarded any personal merit in order to be found in Christ and to be credited only with Christ’s merit. Even though he had more religious credits than other men he 31 joyfully abundantsaw his own righteousness as nothing but something to be thrown away in comparison to the great wealth to be found in Christ’s righteousness. He writes, “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

He does not doubt the assurance of his salvation. When Paul says “If, by any means” he doesn’t mean there are still conditions attached to the reality of his resurrection. As Richison observes, “The Bible was originally written in Greek. There are four ways of saying ‘if’ in the Greek. One of these ‘ifs’ is to assume the statement as true. This is brought out by spelling, not interpretation. The ‘if’ in this phrase is something Paul is assuming true.” Paul does not doubt something here at all, he’s asserting a fact. We should probably translate the “if” in this passage as “since.” I believe Paul has confidence in his eternal state. But he is once again asserting that the only source of that confidence is through faith in Christ alone as laid out in the previous verses. He’s saying that putting my faith in Christ alone and His righteousness is the only sure way. If I’m trusting in my own good works, there is no hope. But through faith in Christ I do have hope. That’s why the New Century Version translates verse 11 to says, “Then I have hope that I myself will be raised from the dead.” It is a way of saying if I’m trusting in my righteousness, I’m lost forever. But because I have Christ’s righteousness I can look forward to the resurrection with confidence.

But following the path of my self-righteousness, as George Rusty puts it, “…dead ends for three reasons. First, the goal is unclear. How will we know when we finally arrive? When are we finally good enough? Secondly, the goal is unattainable. No amount of human effort or goodness can ever bridge the gulf that sin makes between God and me. Earning my way to Him is impossible. And third, the goal is unfulfilling. How can we love someone who makes us earn their favor? Imagine if your wife gave you a list of chores every morning, and threatened that if you didn’t accomplish them all perfectly, she’d leave. Even if you try to please her, your marriage is about an obligation, not a loving relationship. But love is not something we earn. It is something that’s given, with no strings attached.” True joy comes from the Gospel. Good works is not Good News. Rusty concludes, “When we live by love, we have abundant life. Living by love is all about accepting, not accomplishing. We accept God’s love and experience joy and freedom. A love relationship with Jesus is an adventure!”