Phil 3:11, Paul used the term "IF" when speaking about his own future resurrection.
Wasn't Paul already saved? If so, why would he use the "IF"?
Paul was, indeed,
already saved and his other writings do not indicate any insecurity about
his position (Note 2 Tim. 1:12 and Romans 8:28-39 especially). The New
Testament and Paul’s writings in particular do not teach that we are insecure
in our position. There is no need to see that insecurity here.
In the context, Paul gives a whole lists of reasons he could have been
confident in the flesh (3-6), then states that he counted them loss for
Christ (v. 7). In v. 8 he repeats that he “counts all things loss” for
Christ, adds that he has “suffered the loss of all things,” and then, as
if he hasn’t said it enough, announces that he “counts them as rubbish,
that I may gain Christ.” All these things he counted loss for Christ are
the basis for his statement in v. 11 “if, BY ANY MEANS, I may attain to
the resurrection from the dead.” In other words, he would let anything
go, whatever it took, to gain Christ and the resurrection. The statement
is not one of insecurity in his future resurrection, but emphasis that
he would have let no fleshly advantage whatsoever stand in the way of gaining
The context of this passage and the thrust of general New Testament
theology would be absolutely enough to nail this interpretation--but there
is good grammatical evidence as well. Although the word ‘if’ is there,
it is only there because the fulfillment of Paul’s confident hope in the
resurrection is still future. Again, despite what it sounds like in English,
this is not an expression of insecurity. The Greek language often used
a conditional statement when a future, as yet unfulfilled, event was in
view. The ‘if’ is in a grammatical construction that introduces a future
supposed fulfillment with a great degree of probability. That is a fancy
way of saying Paul confidently expected this resurrection. In fact, it
is possible to treat this as a statement of a goal or purpose introduced
by ”in order that” or “so that.” Several translations do just this. The
New American Standard Bible has, “in order that I may attain to the resurrection
from the dead.” Additional evidence for this view of the grammar is in
v. 12, where the same Greek construction with the ‘if’ is always translated
something like “that I may lay hold of.” No insecurity there--just the
statement of his goal or purpose for pressing on.
Unfortunately, there are times when it’s hard to get one language’s
nuances of meaning into another language. But, as I suggested before, there
is plenty of help in the context and theology. The Bible seldom leaves
us with a strange statement that we couldn’t figure out without being a
Greek in the first century.