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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

4 short introductory video studies First recorded in 2007, posted to GodTube in 2010  These short videos were made nearly 14 years ago. ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

A Fresh Look at the Power of His Resurrection

The phrase "the power of His resurrection" comes from a passage in Philippians 3:10. It is often taken out of its context and treated as a lone scripture. This practice is common and can be dangerous as we have seen with other verses such as 1 Cor 6:9. 


Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites...
1 Cor 6:9


As we saw in that study, this verse is often used to "prove" that homosexuals either are not truly saved or they have lost their salvation. It is clearly a warning. and Paul is writing to Christians, so some preachers have to do theological gymnastics to get it to mean unbelievers. We note this error and the other great error too often drawn from the verse/passage; equating the Kingdom of God with the hope of resurrection life. We have to note:

  • The context is clearly believers
  • The issue is inheriting the Kingdom of God, not the free gift of Life


We have a similar problem in the standard interpretation of Philippians 3. In this case, the problem is not so much to whom it addressed (although we will see how one verse is misapplied to unbelievers), but as to what area of the hope of the believer is being addressed. While different in scope, as with 1 Cor 6, we have a failure to note the full context.


so as to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death

 -Philippians 3:10 


I've used the Far Above All Translation because (a) I think it's a good translation overall and (b) it maintains the dependence of the verse on the context. Small thing, but note how the KJV starts the thought as though it is independent, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection..."

So, let's pull the lens back and look at the passage and its full scope. Let's walk through the passage as it leads to Paul's warning concerning "the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end in destruction" (3:18-19). We looked at this phrase in a couple of previous studies (most notable HERE). Again, it is wrongly applied to unbelievers and, again, it misses the main thrust of the passage, that is, "Suffering."

Chapter 3 of Philippians has to do with suffering. It is suffering which is central in bringing the believer to maturity (perfection) and it is suffering which conforms one to the image of Christ making him eligible to "attain" a reward, the prize, a crown. Let us look back to Philippians 1:27-30. We are called to not only believe (the path to the gift of Life), but to also suffer (the path to reward). 


Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.


 Chapter 3 carries on the theme of suffering and maturity. 


Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 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; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore let us, as many as are mature [perfect], have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.


Paul starts off with his religious pedigree. The enemies he references are those who preach earthly ordinances in this age. Is circumcision a biblical practice? Most certainly! Was it still being practiced after Pentecost by Jewish believers? Most assuredly! And with no objection from Paul or James. Here is an excerpt from our look at the Council in Acts 15:


In Acts 21, James tells Paul of an accusation against him, that he is teaching Jews to forsake Moses and not to circumcise. Paul was not guilty! It was a false accusation. Paul himself circumcised Timothy (Acts 16). I've covered that elsewhere, but suffice it to say, in the Acts age and in the Acts epistles of Paul, God still recognizes a distinction between Jewish and Gentile believers. It is in Acts 21 that the mini-law for gentile believers [stated in Acts 15] is repeated.


Philippians is one of the epistles written post Acts. It is for the current age. We no longer teach circumcision for either Jew or Gentile as the kingdom hope is no longer our hope. Paul reveals that, post Acts, the middle wall of partition has come down (Eph 2). No longer is there a distinction between Jew and Gentile in any way. Furthermore, there is no more earthly kingdom hope for those who step into the blessings of the "one new man" of Ephesians. 

The enemy who could cause a loss of an inheritance in 1 Cor 6 (Acts Age) was one's own flesh. In this age (Post Acts, Dispensation of the Mystery, Eph 3), we still have the old nature (flesh) to contend with, but we have a new enemy: the rudiments and ordinances and rituals of previous ages (Colossians). These are earthly things for an earthly hope. Since the hope of those who step into the blessing of the "one new man"  in in heavenly places (far above the heavens, where Christ dwells in the true Holy of Holies), we have an added enemy of earthly religion, traditions of men, and kingdom practices.

Man's traditions and religions may steal the hope of the free gift o f Life in any age by hiding the doctrine of God's free gift of Life by grace alone, but for the believer of this age, traditions and religion can also rob a believer, not of Life, but of reward. This is the setting for Philippians 3:19.

After Paul lays out his religious pedigree in verses 2-6, he continues with this (7-11):


But what things were gain to me [religious accomplishments], these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 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; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.


Paul is content to discard his religious standing. He says in regard to the Law in verse 6 that he is "blameless." He makes no claim to being "sinless," but rather he has followed the Law in all its precepts which included animal sacrifices for sin (which could never take away sin) before he understood grace, and religious adherence after (such as trips to Jerusalem for the feasts, baptisms, Passover Lord's Supper, etc.).  

These are biblical practices which had a proper time and place and purpose. But when we "rightly divide the Word of Truth," we must note that not all practices are for all ages. The most obvious example is the sacrifices. Surely Christendom recognizes that the blood of bulls and goats are not for this age. We also have no such command as building an ark, or refraining from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, or a prohibition against eating certain foods (here we should note that in the Acts Age, Gentiles were commanded to eat kosher). 

Post Acts, Paul sees all these things as nothing more than rubbish. He seeks only to "know Him." In his first reference to this idea, he connects it with his suffering for him (or possibly suffering in order to know him). He adds to his second reference concerning "knowing him" that he also know "the power of His resurrection." What could this mean? Is it some mystical power from within?

I believe it is a large and encompassing concept. Surely, the new, divine nature we are given by grace upon faith in Christ finds its strength in the conquering of the grave. But I think there is much more which is borne out in the rest of the chapter.

Paul seeks to "attain to the resurrection of the dead" in verse 11. We have looked at this goal in a previous post. Suffice it to say here, this is not a reference to the common understanding of  "resurrection." Such a thing is assured in Christ as a free gift. Paul refers here to the special reward of a resurrection which is "out from among the rest of the dead." We know from 1 Cor 15 that there are ranks in resurrection and each will be raised "in order" (1 Cor 15:23). The Lord referred, in the Greek, to his own resurrection as one of these "out from among the rest of the dead" resurrections. A statement which confused his disciples.  


Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead.  So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.

-Mark 9:9-10


No Jew would be confused about the idea of the resurrection of the last day. This was common knowledge as Martha states in regard to the hope of seeing her brother, Lazarus, "in the resurrection on the last day" (John 11:24). They were confused by the Lord's use of the same structure we have in Philippians 3; a special resurrection out from among the rest of the dead.

As of Paul's writing in Philippians, he had not yet "attained" the hope of this special resurrection nor of "the Prize" he sought. He was to press on in the race set before him. He was to go on to maturity (perfection). Those who wanted to grow in maturity had to leave yesterday behind and press on towards the high calling of this age. To do so, we must eschew practices which bind us to an earthly hope.

We must rise above outward shows of righteousness and the rudiments of the earth.

This is where the enemy enters in. This is a new enemy. We already have these enemies: the principalities and powers in heavenly places and the old nature. Added to these enemies are fellow Christians who seek to bind us to earthly things and deny the life of suffering for the Lord.

If we are to truly know Him and the power of His resurrection, we must overcome these three enemies. 

  • We overcome the flesh by walking in the new nature
  • We overcome Satan and the powers on high by the Word of God rightly divided (sound doctrine) and the full armor of God. 
  • We overcome the enemies of the cross of Christ by refusing earthly ordinances and teaching the Dispensation of the Mystery to those who will hear it.

All of these come with suffering. The flesh will war against the new nature. This is both a physical and a mental war. Memories will be used to haunt and depress us. Our flesh will be pulled toward gratification. The powers in heavenly places, filled with hate for Christ and those that are His, will make us suffer mentally and emotionally. They will attack us with "fiery darts" of false doctrine, doubts, fears, worry. And, finally, our fellow Christians will reject us as they present a way to appease the flesh through ritual and traditions. They will reject the high calling of this age. Even those who claim to have heaven as their hope, they will cling to kingdom practices. They will try to drag us into the ways of the earth. 

This last temptation comes in two forms

  1. An absolute denial of self in the form of self-aggrandizement through religion
  2. A promise of heavenly blessing in this life as the reward for faith
We must resist both as both will be presented to believers as the path to maturity of faith. These Christians are still our brothers and sisters. We still esteem them better than ourselves. We still seek their good. Paul's love and care was for ALL the saints, even those who sought to make his bonds harsher; even those who were his "spiritual" enemies. They were never his personal enemies.

Without a knowledge of the Dispensation of the Mystery, true maturity is impossible. We shall be judged some day for the deeds done in the flesh (Col 3). This includes both carnality and religious activities of the earth. For Colossians 2 warns us not be robbed of our reward (there is our goal) through the vanity of religious practices of other dispensations which are bound to the earth and its kingdom. 

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ... So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival [feast day] or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

-Phi 2:8, 16-23 


The "power of His resurrection" Paul sought by knowing him better is the power of the "out from among the rest of the dead" resurrection. It is attained by maturity (perfection) which is come by through: 

  1. "studying to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth" (2 Tim 2:15)
  2. "walk worthy of the [heavenly] calling with which you were called" (Eph 4:1)
  3. "hold fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God" (Col 2:19)

This just scratches the surface. But all of it is predicated on understanding the calling of this current age and understanding its hope. We have to start there if we want to "attain" to that special resurrection. We must accept the suffering that will come from both the world and Christendom which rejects it. 

God is calling us to suffer. And it is through suffering for these truths that we can begin to get to know him and join in His suffering and rejection. Of the nearly 8 billion people alive today, 75% reject even the name of Christ. Of those who claim it, most reject His finished work. Of those who understand the finished work and proclaim it, the vast majority reject the heavenly calling of the Dispensation of the Mystery, and in doing so they reject Paul. And it is only in following Paul that we can find our way to truly suffering with Christ.

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Let us understand the difference between the free gift and that which attained.

"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



With Paul, let us "eagerly wait for the Savior." There is reward in that as well.

"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



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