There is a strong connection between righteousness and the resurrection of the dead. Adam’s death caused man to lose right standing before the Father. This further led man into darkness a biological death where he was trapped in Sheol/Hades/Hell. Jesus resurrection and ascension reversed that pattern. That is why no one under the old covenant age no man could attain resurrection.
Paul mentions about attaining that resurrection.
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3)
But before that he said.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. (Philippians 3)
What things did he count as gains to but now a loss for Christ.
4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Philippians 3)
Paul is clearly speaking justification by faith alone.
Paul explains two kinds of righteousness:
1. Self-righteousness by the law that leads to death and damnation.
2. God’s righteousness given through faith which ends in life and salvation. This is the righteousness that Paul now identifies with, that which comes by faith in Christ.
So this is how he explains it;
In verse 8, Paul tells us he is no longer trusting in his own righteousness in order that he may gain Christ. (Why he left the Law)
In verse 9, he tells us that to gain Christ means to receive His righteousness. It is not something we work for. It is a free gift.
Then he goes on in verses 10-11 to explain further what it means to gain Christ.
To gain Christ means: “Receiving his righteousness, knowing him, knowing the power of his resurrection, knowing the fellowship of his suffering, and being make like him in our death to sin.”
What is the end result of the gain?
in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:11 (NASB)
Paul left the law to embrace Christ knowing that it would lead him to attain something; “the resurrection from the dead”
This was a hope to him as that time. This hope was spiritual based on the nature of gains of being in Christ.
Righteousness is a spiritual reality with tangible impact in our lives. Shouldn’t the resurrection also be?
The Greek word that Paul uses here for “resurrection” is exanastasi. This Greek word is only used here in all the New Testament. It is the word anastasis, which means: “resurrection.” with the preposition ek in front of it which is the equivalent of “out”. This is literally, “the out resurrection out from the corpses.”
The resurrection of the righteous will take them out of the total number of those dead.
But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” Acts 23:6 (NKJV)
This is how it is captured in the Youngs literal version.
6 and Paul having known that the one part are Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, cried out in the sanhedrim, `Men, brethren, I am a Pharisee — son of a Pharisee — concerning hope and rising again of dead men I am judged.’
7 And he having spoken this, there came a dissension of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, and the crowd was divided,
8 for Sadducees, indeed, say there is no rising again, nor messenger, nor spirit, but Pharisees confess both. (Acts 26)
The Sadducees embraced a doctrine of humanism and did not believe in the realm of the spirit. They rejected the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead ones seeing that they didn’t believe in angels or Spirits too.
Paul clearly made his position known that he believed in that resurrection and he also believed that it was about to happen. This is why he said this.
“I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will (about to be is omitted in English translations) be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. Acts 24:15 (NKJV)
So his message to his brethren he was being persecuted because he preached a resurrection to happen? Why?
The Jews had not embrace Jesus as the Messiah. They believed that Messiah would bring an end to Mosaic age and usher them into the kingdom age where the dead ones would be resurrected. For them to accept Paul’s message was for them to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. That would mean that they were wrong all the while and for them to leave Moses and embrace Jesus. They couldn’t so they kept holding on to the worship at the temple in Jerusalem which eventually came crumbling in ad70.
“And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 “To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, HOPE TO ATTAIN. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8 “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead? Acts 26:6-8 (NKJV)
The resurrection from the dead was a promise to the Fathers and also known as the hope of Israel. This is so because Adam was the first father who had this promise. This was what they hoping to attain.
This is exactly what Paul was explaining in his letter to the church at Phillipe. No one could attain this under the law that produced self-righteous which still resulted in sin-death. He was hoping to attain at the end of that old covenant age that was already dawning on them hence the message of the kingdom being at hand was essential for them be ready for a new dispensation.
In the age of righteousness, the righteous dead ones would be alive with Christ, no more separation at death anymore.
In his classical teaching on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul sheds light on the nature of the resurrection.
35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
If you look closely at the verse above you will note that there is nothing here about a physical resurrection for each of us. On the contrary, it is obvious it is a spiritual invisible body raised at the coming of Christ, which will then be repeated as each of us pass through physical death in our future.
Like a seed of wheat or grain which possesses an outer shell, when it falls to the ground, the outer shell dies and erodes, yet a plant filled with life emerges, so too is the resurrection. For every seed is embodied in its shell, and then another form/body emerges.
It is an immediate reality, a spiritual one with tangible realities. We have already put on immortality in our spirits BEING the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. What the law could do not grace has attained for us. That is how we attained resurrection. Halleluyah!