“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”
Some people suspect they have committed some terrible sin that precludes them from an eternal relationship with God. By entertaining this anxiety, they build their own purgatory. They lose the confidence of their tie to the family of God.
“And be found in him”
The person doing the finding in this verse is God. The question is, how will God find the believer at death? If I have committed some horrible sin, will God find me a sinner who is not eligible for eternal life? Or, at least, will God have to take me to some divine woodshed to discipline me before He lets me into His heaven? Will I have to suffer before God permits me into His heaven? No, God will find the believer at the point of death “in Christ.”
The phrase “in Christ” is the believer’s position before God. Our position is the same as that of Christ. When God looks at us, it is the same as if He is looking at Christ. Christ has a perfect position before God, so we have a perfect standing before God. We hold the same status quo as Jesus holds before God. Jesus has perfect righteousness. Because we are in Him, we have perfect righteousness. Jesus has eternal life; therefore, we have eternal life. Our position before God in Christ can never improve. It is perfect. It is as perfect as Christ is perfect. At the moment of salvation, we receive as much eternal life as we will have for eternity. We receive absolute righteousness as perfect as Christ’s absolute righteousness. Positional truth cannot improve. So at the point of death, God will find us perfect in Christ.
Some people think that when Christ comes, they must be at their best, or he will not accept them. We are as complete in Christ the day we become a Christian as the day we die. God’s acceptance of us at death is never dependent upon how we conduct ourselves in time. It does not depend upon works; it depends upon His grace (God’s work in Christ). We do nothing to get God’s blessing; we have God’s blessing in Christ.
The moment we receive Christ as our personal Savior, we are placed in union with Christ, into His status before God. Our position never changes. We can never improve upon it. Everything depends upon Christ, not upon us, not upon our works. When we face God, it will not be with our righteousness but with the righteousness of Christ.
The issue in this verse is how the believer is to be found at death by God. It is one thing to possess positional truth; it is another to apply it to ourselves at the point of death or the Judgment Seat of Christ. Our position before God is the same as Christ’s before God. Our status quo before God is equivalent to Jesus Christ’s position before God. We are “in Christ.” We will be found one way at death—”in Christ.” We cannot improve our position in Christ because it does not depend upon our works. It does not rest on how we conduct ourselves in time; it depends solely on our relationship to Christ.
Our status quo before God is the same as Jesus Christ’s before God forever.
Our confidence at the Judgment Seat of Christ is not in our works or the perfection of self but is solely based on the finished, complete work of Christ. That work satisfies God completely. Our confidence is in Christ, not self.