Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 3
The resurrection means the wonderful event when God causes dead people to live again. The spirits of God’s people will never die (John 11:25-26); so at the death of their bodies, those people are immediately with Christ in heaven (1:21-23). Then, at the beginning of the new age, when Christ returns to rule all things, the resurrection will happen (John 11:23-24). The bodies of God’s people will rise to life, even as Christ’s body became alive again after his death (1 Corinthians 15:12-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). So in the future age, God’s people will always be with him, in body as in spirit.
Paul expresses the desire that, somehow, he might join in that resurrection. Paul is not expressing doubts here. He knew clearly God’s promises about this matter; he knew clearly the relationship that God had given him with Christ. Rather, Paul writes in this manner to express how difficult, but how wonderful, the resurrection will be.
Before we can join in the resurrection, we must first pass through all the difficulties of our lives on earth. We cannot stand for Christ in these troubles by any amount of human effort. We can only overcome these troubles in the strength that comes from Christ, the power of Christ’s own resurrection (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Philippians 3:10).
However, nothing can be more wonderful than to join in the resurrection of God’s people (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17). Our troubles in this life seem so slight when we think about that wonderful event. So, Paul expressed his strongest desire that he too should have a place in the resurrection.
Next part: Not yet perfect (Philippians 3:12)
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© 2020, Keith Simons.