What does the apostle mean by “if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead”?

Question by seth: What does the apostle mean by “if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead”?
The context of this question is:

“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. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:10-12

Dearly beloved, please forgive me if this sounds like a dumb question….but…why would the Apostle say “not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect”….if He, The ONE in whom we believe and trust in “HAS PERFECTED FOREVER them that are sanctified”?

“For by one offering He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified”. Heb 10:14

“Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth”. John 17:17

If He “HAS PERFECTED for ever them that are sanctified”; and we are sanctified through humble agreement with, and meek adherence to, the Father’s Truth, then what does it really mean to “be accounted worthy to obtain that age, and the resurrection from the dead” ? ? ?…as seen here:

“And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
But they which shall BE ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO OBTAIN that world (literally, “Aion”), AND the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: NEITHER CAN THEY DIE any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him”. Luke 20:34-38

Interestingly, the word Jesus uses for “be accounted worthy” is καταξιόω “kataxioō”
From G2596 and G515; to deem entirely deserving: – (ac-) count worthy.

and the word He uses for “TO OBTAIN” is τυγχάνω “tugchanō ”
“…[to make ready or bring to pass] is used in certain tenses; … through the idea of effecting; properly to affect; or (specifically) to hit or light upon (AS A MARK TO BE REACHED), that is, (transitively) TO ATTAIN or secure an object or end, or (intransitively) to happen (as if meeting with); …”

Is the Apostle referring to these words of Jesus in Luke 20 when saying… “if by any means, i might ATTAIN unto the resurrection of the dead” ?

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and REACHING FORTH unto those things which are before,
I press TOWARD THE MARK for the prize of the high (upward) calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you”. Philippians 3:13-15

Thank you very much for considering this question, and “let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded” ! : )

Much love to you and to all : )
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”.
John 6:68

Best answer:

Answer by Carl
Although we are sanctified at the moment we trust Jesus for salvation, we are progressively sanctified as we grow in grace and maturity until the day when we meet Jesus when we are perfected with transformed bodies.

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4 thoughts on “What does the apostle mean by “if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead”?”

  1. I would understand the perfection as justification…we are perfected,
    and sanctification, ie. not having attained, but follow after, so that
    both are able to be true. Since I know the bible is true, I need to
    put things together so I can how they are true, and once I do that,
    it really makes sense to me also.
    I think about Paul, his background, and wouldn’t it be hard for
    Paul to ever think the work was complete in him. As he thought
    of how the churches were at that point of his life…weren’t they
    always in trouble, yet Paul knew he was going to be executed,
    so he couldn’t help anymore.
    I have read some accounts of the saints, and they all indicate
    that the closer they came to ‘God’ or Theos, the further away
    they knew themselves to be. The closer they came then
    to the Holy One, the more they saw their true state…
    to give a few examples…that temper, that refusal to co-operate,
    that way of arguing things, the bad feelings that oft so easily
    arise…the true state.
    Once we begin to have enough light to see some of that,
    always just some, we then can join Paul in saying
    ‘if I may be accounted worthy’, and then we can say
    that we understand how we must ‘work out’ our own
    ‘salvation with fear and trembling’. So, a growth process.
    Since as you’ve put above that ‘to be accounted worthy’
    is ENTIRELY deserving, well then we see Paul’s
    knowing that he also will take heed lest he think
    he’s standing lest he also fall. The word ‘entirely’
    should slow us all down some, wouldn’t you say?

  2. Phil. 3:11-12
    “That if possible I may attain to the [[b]spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.” (THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE)

    This says it the best: the resurrection out from the dead while still in the body! This is exactly what Paul was talking about when he said:

    1Cr 15:51 – 53
    “Behold, I shew you a mystery; WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP, BUT WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, AND WE shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. …”

    Paul taught that it was possible to attain to this place in Christ where we would not have to die physically and then be brought back in the resurrection with a new body, but when that special moment (that only the Father knows) occurs, we the living and matured believers will get changed! We will get transfigured where we stand; in a moment of time our bodies will be made incorruptible! We will then reign with Christ for a thousand-year-day and then we will receive immortality, in which only Jesus now dwells.

    This ‘change’ is our transfiguration just like what happened to Jesus, our FORERUNNER. Jesus was transfigured on the mountain and was made incorruptible, but not immortal. After all, he was killed on the cross (not immortal) but his body did not corrupt in the grave. He was raised in immortality.

    Most people are taught the pablum of christian doctrine; most learn about salvation and water baptism, others go on to receive the baptism of the spirit, but they never grow up spiritually. Jesus taught us that it was possible to be transfigured here and now. Paul also taught that doctrine in all his church plantings.

    This is “the placing of a son through adoption”: the HUIOSTHESIA. All of creation was made subject to bondage and futility and is eagerly waiting for the Sons of God to release them from all of that into the glorious liberty of the matured Sons of God.
    Rom 8:15
    “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but YE HAVE RECEIVED THE SPIRIT OF ADOPTION, [huiosthesia] whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

    Eph 1:5
    “Having PREDESTINATED US UNTO THE ADOPTION of children [huiosthesia] by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

    Rom 8:23
    “And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION, [huiosthesia] [to wit], THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY.

    Huios – a matured son
    – huiosthesia
    tithemi – to put in place /

    The placing of a matured son – whereby the Father publicly declares you His son; From that day forth you have the full power and authority of the Father (not just an in-part realm authority of Pentecost) to accomplish His will and release a groaning creation from 6,000 years of Adamic abuses.

    That is what the functioning of the Melchizedek priesthood is. It is a hard subject to explain to those who still have need of milk and lack understanding in the elementary doctrines of Christ. (Heb. 6:1-3)

    Rom 8:18
    “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with THE GLORY SHALL BE REVEALED IN US.”
    Rom 8:19
    “For the earnest expectation of the CREATION IS WAITING FOR THE MANIFESTATION [602-apokalupsis – to take the cover off] OF THE SONS OF GOD.“
    Rom 8:20 -23
    “For the CREATION WAS MADE SUBJECT TO VANITY, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the CREATION ITSELF SHALL ALSO BE DELIVERED from the bondage of corruption INTO THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD. For we know that THE WHOLE CREATION GROANS AND TRAVAILS IN PAIN together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, EVEN WE OURSELVES GROAN within ourselves, WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION, [to wit], THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY.”


  3. Paul never simply assumed he had arrived. He was a sojourner, until he knew he was with the LORD. If we suffered half the things that Paul did, for his faith, we would throw in the towel and say, enough is enough. Paul longed to “depart and be with the LORD, which is far better”, but for the sake of the believers who depended on him for teaching and encouragement…he was willing to “remain in the body”. Joy, as an acronym, is Jesus, Others, and YOU. Note the position of each person in the trio…Jesus, first, now and always. Others, considered more important than ourselves…and lastly, in imitation of the Servant Lord…is our own self. Could this really be the formula for a joyous life? When our service is done…the LORD will call us home.
    Another scripture says that the LORD provides the faithful with a tremendous welcome to heaven. May it continue to be our hope. To hear, ‘Well done, good, and faithful servant; enter in to the joy of your LORD’…is a worthy aspiration.

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