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Monday, April 16, 2018

Your Best Life Later (Prizes, Rewards, & Resurrection)

I heard a verse of scripture yesterday which came from a modern, paraphrased translation. I am not opposed to these translations. They can be great commentaries and help with understanding the gist of a verse of a passage. But they really shouldn't be used as the main source for interpretation or for word studies.

The verse in question is from Philippians 3. Here it is from the paraphrased New Living Translation:

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! 
-Phil 3:10-11 (NLT)
It could be read into this that Paul is saying that resurrection is conditional. Unfortunately, the King James version is even murkier:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 
-Phil 3:10-11 (KJV)
This really looks like Paul is stating that resurrection is in question and that Paul may not qualify.

The gift of eternal life, resurrection, is a gift. It is free. It is wholly by grace through faith. So to what is Paul referring when he speaks of attaining "the resurrection of/from the dead?"

For every hope in the resurrection, we have rewards and prizes beyond the free gift. We see this in the book of Hebrews where men and women hoped to "obtain a better resurrection" (v.35).

In Philippians, the words "from the dead (nekrós)" are used. Is Paul being redundant? No. The translators are thus trying to express the Greek word "ek-anástasis" or "εξαναστασιν" (only used here). The word for resurrection is "anástasis," this is a special resurrection "out from among the rest of the dead."

"The resurrection from the dead" fails us. Literally we have "the out of resurrection, out from among the dead."

We only have this idea in one other place, Mark 9: εκ νεκρων αναστη is used by the Lord to speak of his own resurrection. In verse 9 he speaks it to his disciples, in verse 10 they ponder what it could mean.

Now, no Jew would wonder what "resurrection" meant. They were puzzled at what "resurrection out from the dead" meant. But this is what Paul teaches us to seek in Phil 3.

Phil 3:8-9 emphasizes that we have no righteousness apart from Christ 

"Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord... that I suffered the loss all things... [to] 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"
The gift of life (Rom 6:23; etc.), resurrection, is free.

What we need to "attain" is the "better resurrection" the special resurrection "out from among the rest of the dead." Remember, the great resurrection chapter (1 Cor 15) teaches us that there is no common resurrection, resurrection shall be by "order" or "rank."

"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming." -1 Cor 15:22-23 (NKJV)

In the Revelation we see different resurrections as well.

When Paul warns of those who are "the enemies of the cross of Christ," these may very well be those who preach the gospel, but deny the need for personal sacrifice to attain a "better resurrection." As we covered in a recent TTotD, some of Paul's enemies were those who preached Christ.

So, when a man tells you to have "Your Best Life Now" he's telling you to forsake a far better (unimaginably better) life in the age to come.

There is a prize for those who suffer with Christ in this life. That prize is ruling and reigning with him. On this, we can miss out if we settle for comfort in the present age.

"For if we died with Him,We shall also live with Him. [FREE GIFT]If we endure,We shall also reign with Him." [CONDITIONAL]-2 Tim 2:11-12

And if you are having Your Best Life Now, you might not be looking for his Appearing either:

"Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." 
-2 Tim 4:8
We need to stop seeking our Best Life Now, that we might attain a greater life to come.
NOTES: Rom 8: "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." The Spirit will confirm that one is a child of God, but not every child is an heir of the glory. Heirs of eternal life? Yes. We become heirs of his glory only if we suffer with Him.

The next verse, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" assumes suffering.

The verse in Heb 11 in regard to the "better resurrection" notes the condition, "Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." They endured these things (such as Moses forsaking the Better Life Now in Egypt) so they could OBTAIN a better resurrection.