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Overview of Eternal Rewards - Part 2 (4 of 12)

Mike Connell

I thought: he already had Christ? He's a Christian. Yet he's talking about ‘gaining Christ’, so he's not talking about our salvation experience. He's talking about winning, or obtaining something, he doesn't yet have.

“...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 made conformed to His death...”

And here's the key line: “...if by any means, I might attain to the Resurrection from the Dead”.

Notice that Paul considers that all his achievements are meaningless, compared to the prize. The prize is ‘winning Christ’. Since he has already received Christ into his heart and life, and he has a relationship with Him, including encounters, he must be talking about something ahead to be won. It's a prize.

Notice there, the word ‘resurrection from the dead’ - this is the only place in the Bible that used this term. When they use the term ‘resurrection’, they use the term ‘anastasis’, which is the Greek word for resurrection. “Anastasis ek nekron” is the normal statement - Anastasis, meaning ‘resurrection’; ek, meaning ‘from’; and nekron, meaning ‘the dead’.

So normally, if it's talking about resurrection from the dead, it will be “anastasis ek nekron”; but this one is different. He uses “ek anastasis”. He puts the two together, so it reads something like this: if by any means I might attain to the “out-from” resurrection from the dead. He's saying: this resurrection is a different resurrection; this is the thing I want to win!

I believe when he talks about this resurrection, he's referring to the First Resurrection, when people are resurrected for the millennium, to rule and reign with Christ. Notice he says: “if by any means”. That statement means: there's a possibility I may not make it!

In the Book of Acts, they said: if by any means, we might reach Crete. Well, they didn't - they sank! They didn't make it! So “if by any means” means: I'm going to do the very best I can, any means possible, so I might get there. You must realise then, it's clear he's not convinced he qualifies yet; and he's been in ministry for quite a while. This is six years before his death. He's been planting churches, and doing all kinds of things, yet when it comes to this reward, he's saying: everything I've done doesn't mean anything much, compared to qualifying for this. This is what my life is for; I want to qualify for that. He's indicating it's a possibility that it may not happen. It's a prize to contend for, it's the high calling of God and Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:12-15 - “...not that I have already attained it, not that I'm already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of what Jesus Christ lay hold of me. Brethren, I don't count myself to have apprehended it; one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, reaching forward to the things that are before, I press towards the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ. Now let us, as many be mature, have that same mind, and if you think otherwise God will show it to you surely.”

He's going on to say: I haven't made it, so it's not my experience yet, and I'm not sure I'm actually going to be qualifying for it. He says: he has not apprehended the prize, meaning ‘to take possession of it’ or to be certain he's got it. He says: I press towards the mark. That word ‘press’ means: to flee, to run swiftly, to take hold of a prize; you see in the whole language of it, there's a certain resurrection ahead, and it's a prize to be won.

It consumes me. Everything is nothing, in comparison to getting or losing this. Everything is nothing. I want to get this; and he said: I press on towards the mark, for the prize of this high calling of God in Jesus Christ. If there's a ‘high calling’, then there's probably a ‘low calling’ as well. This is a high calling - that we will live our life, and qualify to rule and reign with Christ; and Paul expresses it there.

In the letter to Hebrews, it's talking about the people of faith; and it slips this one-liner in there…

Hebrews 11:35 - “Women received their dead raised to life, and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance”.

Why did they allow themselves to be tortured, but refused to be delivered? It says: “...that they might obtain a better resurrection.”

So everyone knew about the general resurrection. Everyone's going to be raised, so don't worry about being raised from the dead. Everyone's going to be raised from the dead. But they're saying: this is a better resurrection, and it caused them to endure everything, even to the point of dying. Why? To get a stronger resurrection. The word ‘stronger’ means: a ‘more excellent’ resurrection; a ‘nobler’ resurrection; a ‘having dominion or power’ resurrection.