John Calvin Complete Commentary - Philippians 3:6 - 3:6

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - Philippians 3:6 - 3:6


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6.As to the righteousness which is in the law There can be no doubt he means by this the entire righteousness of the law, for it were too meagre a sense to understand it exclusively of the ceremonies. The meaning, therefore, is more general — that he cultivated an integrity of life, such as might be required on the part of a man that was devoted to the law. To this, again, it is objected, that the righteousness of the law is perfect in the sight of God. For the sum of it is — that men be fully devoted to God, and what beyond this can be desired for the attainment of perfection? I answer, that Paul speaks here of that righteousness which would satisfy the common opinion of mankind. For he separates the law from Christ. Now, what is the law without Christ but a dead letter? To make the matter plainer, I observe, that there are two righteousnesses of the law. The one is spiritual — perfect love to God, and our neighbors: it is contained in doctrine, and had never an existence in the life of any man. The other is literal — such as appears in the view of men, while, in the mean time, hypocrisy reigns in the heart, and there is in the sight of God nothing but iniquity. Thus, the law has two aspects; the one has an eye to God, the other to men. Paul, then, was in the judgment of men holy, and free from all censure — a rare commendation, certainly, and almost unrivalled; yet let us observe in what esteem he held it.