Summary: The resurrection of Christ makes it possible for us to live life on a higher level.
We find verse 11 to be most interesting. What is Paul speaking of here? After all, this is the objective he has in mind as he says what he does in verses 7 through 10. All that he says about the commitment of his life has to do with verse 11. Is Paul speaking of some future event that he hopes to make himself worthy of or is he speaking of something else?
Some say Paul is referring to a special resurrection to occur at Christ’s return. The problem is that the Scripture makes it clear that other than the resurrection of Christ, there are only two resurrections yet to occur - the resurrection of the believer and that of the unbeliever (see 1 Corinthians 15:23-24; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:4-5). The believer’s resurrection occurs at our Lord’s return and the unbeliever’s resurrection takes place after Christ has finished making all things new.
Following the resurrection of the believer, Christians’ works will be judged to determine the degree of reward in eternity. Paul says there will be varying degrees of reward, depending on how we lived for Christ after we came to Him by faith (see 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
But no where does the Bible say there is some special resurrection for believers who have attained “super saint” status. We must conclude then that Paul is referring to something else in verse 11.
I believe what he is speaking of has to do with the present, not with the future. The Amplified translation of this verse helps us at this point.
“That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral]
resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead
[even while in the body].” - Philippians 3:11 (Amplified)
The Bible says that while those without Christ are dead in their
sins, the believer has been transformed by the power of the risen Christ, so that what is true of Jesus is now true of us.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” - Ephesians 2:4-10 (NLT)
God took initiative to provide forgiveness by the cross, so through
repentance we could be reconciled to Him and eventually restored to the level of blessing God planned for us when He first made man.
When Christ returns, we’ll receive a glorified resurrection body and He will finish the work of making all things new. We will then know an eternal state of blessedness. But we don’t have to wait until eternity to know heavenly blessings. Paul wanted to experience as much of the blessings of heaven on earth as possible.
So Paul determined to live:
1. Purposefully – vs. 7-8 - learning from Jesus.
Paul lived his life for the purpose of knowing Christ intimately. He fully accepted the invitation Jesus made to all when He said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” - Matthew 11:29 (NIV)
“Jesus was a rabbi, and as such, one of his primary responsibilities was to interpret the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) for his followers. The Torah is the holiest of Scriptures to the Jews, and included within it are the Ten Commandments as well as 613 additional laws about worship, cleanliness, marriage, nutrition, and every other aspect of Jewish life. Any given rabbi’s interpretation of the Torah consisted of dozens of hedges, which were additional oral laws or rules designed to protect the Law (this includes the extra 613). A rabbi would have had thousands of little laws or hedges he taught as his interpretation of the Torah, his suggested way of living. This way of living was referred to as that rabbi’s yoke, and every rabbi had a distinctive yoke.” - David Putnam, Detox for the Overly Religious