A holy God? It cannot be
That He could truly look on me!
I’ve cast His laws behind my back!
Pure righteousness is what I lack!
Unto the holy King of kings
A perfect life I cannot bring;
My righteousness is all unclean;
Oh! who shall save me from death’s sting?
The Holy Word of God does say
That all my sins were by Christ paid;
And if by faith I would believe,
God’s righteousness would come to me.
The righteousness of God I need;
There is none other I can plead;
When I by faith on Christ believe,
God’s righteousness will come to me.
...through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Phil 3:9
Paul, a “free born” Roman citizen of Jewish heritage, had as a baby breathed his first breath in the home of one who was considered a Roman national and not as one from a conquered people.
This privileged birth gave Paul the opportunity to obtain proper schooling which helped shape his great intellect and later guided him into becoming “zealous toward God” (Acts 22:3), but this zealousness was “not according to knowledge” (Rom 10:2).
Of course, all this left no impression upon God for in God’s sight all.....even Paul.....had sinned and had “come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).
What Paul needed was the salvation which comes only “through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15) which happened shortly after Paul’s miraculous encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus.
In fact a few short days after that encounter, Paul, who had formerly been named “Saul,” found his heart, his mind, and his spirit had been forever changed. He was now a “Christian” who was “an apostle of Christ,” “a servant of God,” and “a new creature in Christ.”
Years later to the Christians in Rome, Paul wrote a phrase which would have never been written by an unsaved Roman citizen: “but I am carnal, sold under sin” (Rom 7:14). Of course what Paul wrote was in reference to the Mosaic law which was “spiritual” and had nothing to do about nationality and citizenship.
Still, Paul understood the significance of a totally “spiritual” Mosaic law: an individual could never obtain righteousness by obeying the law. Rather righteousness is given because it is the righteousness of God “which is by faith of Jesus Christ” and it is “unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom 3:22).
And it this message of “righteousness which is of faith” (Rom 9:30) that Paul tirelessly wrote and preached about while traveling thousands of miles and suffering many things.
Eventually while visiting Jerusalem, Paul’s zeal for Christ collided with the traditional Mosaic law and because of his Roman citizenship, Paul saw Rome’s grandeur.....but with great cost. After two different Roman imprisonments, Paul was given the sentence of death.
Thus the earthly eyes of Paul permanently closed in death but only for a great “gain” (Phil 1:21). Heavenly eyes replaced earthly eyes and Paul saw at last Him “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14).