The Out-Resurrection from the Dead -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.
BSac 110:438 (Apr 53) p. 139
The Out-Resurrection from the Dead
The Epistle to the Philippians usually is considered to be one of the simpler of the Pauline letters. That is probably true, in spite of the fact that it does contain the famous kenosis passage, about which there has been considerable discussion and disagreement. The significance of the kenosis passage, however, is now fairly well established. One passage in the epistle of joy is still a problem. That passage is the statement of Paul in verse eleven of chapter three. It reads, according to the Authorized Version, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
In this sentence the Apostle uses a word for “the resurrection” which is found only here in the New Testament. The word is exanastasis, which differs from the usual anastasis by the addition of ex, the preposition meaning out of or out from. It has been given the meaning of out-resurrection by many. From the rare noun the passage has come to be referred to as that dealing with “the out-resurrection from the dead.” Its meaning has been and still is in dispute, and it is the purpose of this paper to investigate it. Each of the principal views of the passage will be considered.
The verse is found in the midst of a section of the epistle in which the Apostle warns against Judaism (vv. 2–14). He points out that justification is not by the works of the law, but becomes the believer’s possession on the basis of faith. But the Apostle does not stop with justification. He advances into the field of progressive sanctification (vv. 10–14). As Lightfoot asserts, “The doctrine of grace leads to a progressive morality.”1 Throughout the section the
BSac 110:438 (Apr 53) p. 140
argument is enforced with the personal experience of the author, both in the past (vv. 4–9) and in the present (vv. 10–14 ).
In the immediately preceding context Paul has discussed justification (v. 9) and sanctification (v. 10). It is certainly fitting that his thoughts move into the future, because glorification is the natural consummation of the life of grace. That he is thinking of the future is confirmed by the statements that follow in the chapter (vv. 20,
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