It is very clear to me as I read and it`s easy to understand within the word of God that we are saved by grace through faith, and Jesus saved us by His deed on the cross, dying and resurrecting from the dead. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood-and this is to be received by faith.
Also I clearly see that by this salvation He introduced to us a part which is called righteousness. Now this word wasn’t unknown to humanity or better to say in the Old Testament to those who chose to believe in God. Those that He called righteous in the Old testament, He, God called them with that name. They weren’t ashamed by the name God Himself addressed them with.
Along the way many tried to deserve that name/position and tried their best by following the law and the traditions. One of them was Paul. He states in Phillipians 3:6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
Than he goes on in verse 7-8 that he now considers that righteousness a dangerous one , as it is by his own deed, and Paul understanding grace, he didn’t want to become enemy of grace, so he would rather consider all garbage.
Those verses contain a very strong language, and Paul had to make a difference between his own righteousness and righteousness which comes by faith in Christ.
Previously in the same chapter in verse 2 Paul calls the teachers of the law: Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh.
He was so aware of the danger of not understanding grace.
So don’t be afraid to recognize what Jesus did for you and how God addresses you- a righteous person in His sight, because of Jesus.
“He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished, He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus”. Romans 3:25-26
Yesterday`s religious activists are todays legalistic activists, who still don’t understand the amazing grace of God.
Paul is not ashamed to be called righteous, knowing he is justified by Jesus Christ, why would you?