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that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death; (Philippians 3:10)
Paul here is challenging the believers to continue to move forward in their faith. Paul did not see being a believer as a once you get it, sit back and rest in it. He knew salvation was by grace alone through faith, but once saved, a believer was to keep growing, going, and glowing in his Savior. James said it well when he stated – “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” – James 2:18.
To know him (personally, experientially) parallels and explains “found in him.” The Greek word (γινώσκω ginōskō) frequently indicates a relationship between the one knowing and the one known. Paul doesn’t want to speculate about Jesus; he is seeking that personal relationship with Him. Paul isn’t concerned about knowing the correct doctrine about Christ (although he understood this); he wanted a closer and stronger interpersonal relationship with his Savior.
Paul saw two sides to this personal knowledge – Christ’s resurrection and His sufferings. To live for Christ means one must die with him. To live for Christ often includes suffering for (with) him.
It involves experiencing the power of his resurrection, resulting in Paul’s own resurrection from death, and knowing the fellowship (literally “participation in”) of his sufferings.
Paul wants to continue to grow in his intimate relationship with Jesus so that he can continue to learn more of the efficacy of the resurrection in his daily life. This is available to all believers, as Paul shared in his letter to the Ephesian Church. “And what the surpassing greatness of his power is toward us believers. It is according to the working of the strength of his might which he brought about in Christ, when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1: 19-20). This only comes from an intimate relationship with Jesus.
Identification with Christ’s suffering brings conformity to Jesus’ death through refining obedience, and a believer attains the resurrection from among the dead. As we daily meditate upon the vicarious suffering of Jesus for us, it should move us to a deeper love and appreciation for what he did for us. We will spend all eternity praising him for what he did. Paul understood that the physical sufferings of Jesus on the Cross were minor to what he experienced spiritually while on that Cross. His separation from the Father, the burden, and a load of my (and your) sin, the horrific chastisement of God’s Wrath, all was compounded upon the physical sufferings from the beatings, dehydration, the crown of thorns, lack of sleep, nails, and mockery that day. He took this so that I would not have to. My sin, my disobedience, caused him to go through that horrific day.
Paul shows us that we are to live as if we died with Christ that day (Rom. 6:6-8) and had been raised to a newness of life (Rom. 6:4). He says “becoming conformed to his death” shows that we are to allow God to work daily out in us our conformity to Christ. The word (συμμορφίζω summorphizō) speaks of having the same form as another, and in this particular use, it is in the future tense. Paul is telling us that our full perfection will come about in the future – as stated in verse 9, this will be during the (παρουσία parousia).
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That I may know him. That Paul may be fully familiar with Jesus’ nature, character, qualities, his thinking, his standards, his person, work, and with the salvation with which he has bought us. We need to “know (γινώσκω ginōskō) him,” Jesus. This coming to know Jesus is not some immediate revelation; it is gradual, more than accepting that he was a real divine person or knowing a few facts about him. We need to be friends with Jesus. When we think of any friendship, we want it to grow, so we will have to buy out the time to develop it. One of the greatest objectives in the mind of the true Christian is to know Christ. – Ephesians 3:19.
And the power of his resurrection. In other words, Paul is seeking to both understand and experience the appropriate impact or effect that the resurrection should have on his mind. Knowing that Jesus had truly existed and had truly been resurrected should instill in us an immense level of appreciation and deepen our hope of receiving eternal life. It should sustain us in difficult times, times of persecution, and even if we had to die for the truth. It does this because we know that we, too expect a resurrection. (Rom. 6:11) There is no other historical event in the Bible than the truth that Christ has been resurrected from the dead that can impact us at this level, giving us power beyond what is normal. Why would we ever dread dying if it is true that Jesus was raised from the dead? When we are trillions of years into our eternal life, how insignificant will today’s problems be!
And the fellowship of his sufferings. Paul does not seek out suffering simply for pious means but he is willing to suffer the same kind of things that Jesus endured for us. Paul wanted to live a life like Jesus and would have no problem suffering and dying like Jesus. Many eagerly desire to reign with Christ in heaven as kings, priests, and judges or receive eternal life on earth under Christ’s kingdom but not suffer the contempt, mockery, persecution, beatings, and execution. The apostle Peter says, “but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing …” (1 Pet 4:13) Paul says elsewhere, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the congregation.” (Col. 1:24) Paul meant that it is an honor to suffer as Christ suffered. And the true Christian would see it as a privilege.
Becoming conformed to his death. When we say that we want to imitate Christ to be like Christ, we want to live as he did, if need be, suffer as he did, and even die as he did. It is easy to say these things when you are young and healthy, life is good, things are going well. However, if we are righteous during the little persecution and suffering, we will be right when it is much. If we cannot maintain our righteous standing when life is difficult, we seek dishonest ways out and then repent later; we certainly will not survive the great tribulation that is coming.
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 See further John 12:24 f: Romans 6: 1-11; and Galatians 2:19 f.
 Refer back to Philippians Chapter 1.
 Greek word dunamis, which translates as power, or in this case efficacy. Wesley J. Perschbacher, ed., The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, ed. Wesley J. Perschbacher (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1990). Page 108.
 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 122.