Philippians 3:9 and may be found (1SAPS) in Him, not having (PAPMSN) a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: and that it may be clear to all that I am in Him, not because of any righteousness of my own, that righteousness whose source is the Law, but because of the righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, the righteousness whose source is God and whose basis is faith. (Westminster Press)
Phillips: For now my place is in him, and I am not dependent upon any of the self-achieved righteousness of the Law. God has given me that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ. How changed are my ambitions! (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: yes, in order that I might in the observation of others be discovered by them to be in Him, not having as my righteousness that righteousness which is of the law, but that righteousness which is through faith in Christ, that righteousness which is from God on the basis of faith.
Young's Literal: not having my righteousness, which is of law, but that which is through faith of Christ -- the righteousness that is of God by the faith,
AND MAY BE FOUND IN HIM: kai heuretho (1SAPS) en auto:
Hannah's Bible Outlines
- Joy in the person of Christ (Philippians 3:1-4:3)
- The appeal (Philippians 3:1)
- The warning against false circumcision and confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:2-6)
- The testimony (Philippians 3:7-14)
- The exhortations (Philippians 3:15-4:3)
- To proper attitudes (Philippians 3:15-16)
- To imitation (Philippians 3:17-21)
- To steadfastness (Philippians 4:1)
- To unity (Philippians 4:2-3).
May be found (2147) (heurisko) means to learn the location of something, either by intentional searching (as in the present context) or by unexpected discovery.
In Him - Speaks of union with Christ. Paul's union with Christ was possible only because God imputed Christ’s righteousness to him so that it was reckoned by God as his own. The believer is in Him which is to be intertwined in an eternal, unbreakable covenant bond of intimate love and knowledge with Christ. Paul loves that concept. Paul refers to this great truth of a believer's new position in Christ (86x -- see discussion of in Christ and also in Christ Jesus) or "in Him" (uses by Paul 31x) over 100 times in his epistles. Believers are inextricably intertwined with Christ in an unbreakable bond of covenant oneness and identity. It is a grand truth Paul wants all saints to take in and then live out. Union with Christ is real, vital, and fruit-bearing and one is either in Christ or out of Christ.
Spurgeon - Oh, what a precious place to be found in, “in Him,” trusting in Him, hidden away in Him, a member of His body, as it were, losing myself in Him!
To gain Christ means to be completely united with Him. In Him (in Christ), as noted above, points to the closest possible union between Christ and the believer. This truth is beautifully expressed in the Paul's declaration "to me, to live is Christ" (see notes Philippians 1:21) which means that Paul derives all meaning for his life in Christ . In Colossians he declares "Christ (is) our life" (Col 3:4-note). The same truth is expressed in his proclamation that
"it is no longer l who live, but Christ lives in me and [the life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God" (Gal 2:20 -note)
Dearly beloved of the Father, can you truly say that Christ is your life and that you find your true meaning and purpose in this life in Christ?
Another aspect of the importance of this truth of the believer being in Him is shown in the Genesis flood for God
blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark." (Ge 7:23)
We too are safe "in the ark" Who is Christ and He is our life! Lay down your will and surrender to His good and acceptable and perfect will.
Spurgeon comments on be found in Him writing that Paul …
… longs to be hidden in Jesus, and to abide in Him as a bird in the air, or a fish in the sea; he pants to be one with Christ, and so to be in Him as a member is in the body. He desires to get into Christ as a fugitive shelters himself in his hiding place; he aspires to be so in Christ as never to come out of Him; so that whenever any one looks for him he may find him in Jesus, and that when the Great Judge of all calls for him at the last great day he may find him in Christ. It would be ill to be found where Adam was, shivering under the trees of the garden with his fig-leaves on; but to be found beneath the tree of life, wearing the robe of God’s righteousness, this will be bliss indeed. We are lost out of Christ, but we are found in Him. Once met with by the Great Shepherd, we are found by Him, but when safely folded in His love, we are found in Him.
Do notice how Paul sticks to what he began with, namely, the unrobing himself of his boastings in the flesh and his arraying himself with Christ. He desires to be found in Christ, but he adds, “not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law.” No, he will have nothing to do with that; he has already despised it as loss, and thrown it overboard as dross, and now he will not have it or call it his own at all. It is strange for a man to say “not having my own,” but he does say so; he disowns his own righteousness as eagerly as other men disown their sins, and he highly esteems the righteousness which Christ has wrought out for us, which becomes ours by faith. He calls it “the righteousness which is of God by faith,” and he sets great store by it; yea, it is all he desires. My brethren, this is the thing we ought to be seeking after, to be more and more conscious that we have Christ, to abide in Him more continually, to be more like Him, even in His sufferings and in His death, and to feel the full power of his resurrection-life within ourselves.
May God grant us grace to do this, and the more we do it the more we shall coincide with the apostle in his slight esteem for all things else.
This matter is like a balance, if one scale goes down, the other must go up. The weightier Christ’s influence, the lighter will be the world and self-righteousness; and when Christ is all in all, then the world and self will be nothing at all. (Full sermon A Business Like Account)
F B Meyer adds that "You will have to be found by the swirling tides of sorrow, by some supreme temptation, by the final test of death; you will have to be found in the Judgment; you will have to be found in the dissolution of the Heavens and the Earth. When God comes to find you, where will you be found? In the cardboard of your own goodness, or in the completed Righteousness of Jesus Christ, which He wrought out on the Cross in tears and blood, and which is yours directly you look with penitent trust towards Him? God grant that when you are found, it may be with the Pearl of great price in your hand, and with the Righteousness of Jesus Christ upon your soul!
NOT HAVING A RIGHTEOUSNESS OF MY OWN DERIVED FROM THE LAW: me echon (PAPMSN) emen dikaiosunen ten ek nomou:
- Torrey's Topic "Self Righteousness
- Php 3:6; 1Ki 8:46; 2Chr 32:25 32:31; Job 9:28, 29, 30, 31; 10:14 10:15; 15:14, 15, 16; 42:5; 42:6 Ps 14:3; 19:12; 130:3 130:4 143:2; Eccl 7:20; Isa 6:5; 53:6; 64:5 64:6; Mt 9:13; Ro 9:31 9:32; 10:1, 2, 3,5; 2Ti 1:9; Titus 3:5; James 3:2; 1Jn 1:8, 9, 10
- Philippians 3 Resources - multiple sermons and commentaries
not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired)" (Amplified)
Not having - Not possessing a works works based righteousness based on the law but a faith-righteousness which is from God through faith in Christ. (Ro 3:21, 22-notes)
He does not say, not trusting it, but not even having it, not counting it, not thinking it worth while to put down among his possessions that which he once prized so much.
It must be more glorious to be justified by God than by ourselves. It must be more safe to wear the righteousness of Christ than to wear our own. Nothing can so dignify our manhood as to have Christ himself to be “the Lord our Righteousness.” This Paul chose in preference to everything else.
J Vernon McGee notes that Philippians 3:9 was "the verse that came to John Bunyan (Puritan author of Pilgrim's Progress) as he walked through the cornfields one night, wondering how he could stand before God. He said that suddenly he saw himself—not just as a sinner, but as sin from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. He realized that he had nothing, and that Christ had everything. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
A righteousness of my own - Of my own "making", a result of my self efforts to be "good enough" and to be obedient to the Law (neither of which is humanly possible to the degree God demands - which is absolute perfection!)
Righteousness (1343) (dikaiosune from dikaios = being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified and in accordance with what God requires) conveys the idea of conforming to a standard or norm. In Biblical terms it is that which is acceptable to God and in keeping with what God is in His holy character. It conveys the idea of being in right relationship with God or of being rightly related to God.
The root word also means “straightness” and so defines that which conforms to a standard, that standard being God's perfect character. It is right standing with God. God is totally righteous because He is totally as He should be. Righteousness is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. The righteousness of God is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves and all that He provides (thru Christ). Righteousness here stands for acceptance with God on the ground of his own supposed merits in satisfying God’s legal requirements and so equates with the self-righteousness of external morality, religious ritual and ceremony, and good works, all produced by the flesh ("my own"). As a Pharisee Paul was one of an elite corps of 6,000 Pharisees who believed that they could attain salvation by keeping the Law, basically a list of "do's and don'ts". Now in Christ Paul had been set free from this onerous burden. Are are you still trying to prove to God that you are "good enough" for Him to love you or good enough to save you? "Give it up" Paul would say! If you are "found in Him", you are free in Christ!
Derived from - This phrase is the single Greek preposition ek meaning out of the Law as the source. Paul dealt with this same problem in Romans 10 writing of the Jews
not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own… did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God." (Ro 10:3-note)
To the Galatians he wrote "if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. (Galatians 2:21)
Paul is not denouncing the Law nor the righteousness demanded by it but he is denouncing his former self-righteous confidence in his own merits. No amount of law-keeping, self-improvement, discipline, or religious effort can make anyone right with God. While those things may give a false sense of righteousness, they will not withstand the scrutiny of a perfectly righteous God.
Spurgeon writes that "When William Carey was about to die, he ordered this verse to be put on his tombstone:
A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
On Christ’s kind arms I fall,
He is my strength, my righteousness,
My Jesus, and my all.
The psalmist declares that in the Lord's
sight no man living is righteous." (Ps 143:2)
Spurgeon commenting on this phrase writes that…
None can stand before God upon the footing of the law. God's sight is piercing and discriminating; the slightest flaw is seen and judged; and therefore pretence and profession cannot avail where that glance reads all the secrets of the soul. In this verse David told out the doctrine of universal condemnation by the law long before Paul had taken his pen to write the same truth. To this day it stands true even to the same extent as in David's day: no man living even at this moment may dare to present himself for trial before the throne of the Great King on the footing of the law. This foolish age has produced specimens of pride so rank that men have dared to claim perfection in the flesh; but these vainglorious boasters are no exception to the rule here laid down: they are but men, and poor specimens of men. When their lives are examined they are frequently found to be more faulty than the humble penitents before whom they vaunt their superiority.
indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
Comment: This verse is the OT parallel of Ro 3:23 [note] and is a good verse to share with the Jewish friends God has providentially, sovereignly placed into your life. Don't miss the opportunity God has given you to share His Messiah with your Jewish friend. The gospel has always been to the Jew first and also to the Greek - Ro 1:16-note)
These truths help understand Jesus' statement
I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mt 9:13)
F B Meyer adds that it was their zealous pursuit of self righteousness
that prompted Luther to fastings and scourgings, beneath which his body was reduced to an extremity, and that encouraged Bunyan to hope that an outward reformation would satisfy the outcry of his conscience. But such men have always found their efforts unavailing. However zealous they may be in going about to establish their own righteousness, men discover that what has seemed a white and flawless robe is only as filthy rags, in the searching light of the great white throne." If one could keep the law in its entirety, he would be acceptable to God, but the law must be taken in whole or not at all. Breaking any part of it comes short of God's standard (Ro 3:23-note; Jas 2:10). Only Christ fulfilled the Law (Mt 5:17-note). When we resolve to drop the the pursuit of self righteousness, then we may seek His righteousness and in making the choice, we find ourselves in Him, arrayed in the spotless dress of Christ, for God
made Him Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2Cor 5:21)
BUT THAT WHICH IS THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST: alla ten dia pisteos Christou:
- Dt 27:26; Lk 10:25, 26, 27, 28, 29; Ro 3:19,20; 4:13, 14, 15; 7:5-13; 8:3; 10:4,5; Gal 3:10, 11, 12, 13,21,22; Jas 2:9, 10, 11; 1Jn 3:4
- Philippians 3 Resources - multiple sermons and commentaries
but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One) (Amp)
But - see term of contrast.
This righteousness through faith is a description of the act of justification (being declared righteous - Ro 5:1-note). Righteousness is the idea of being in right standing with God, accepted by Him.
Through faith in Christ - Through is the preposition dia which means that through which the effect proceeds and thus by means of faith.
Wuest explains that “faith of Christ” refers to the faith which Christ kindles, of which He is the Author, which also He nourishes and maintains. It is therefore the faith which is furnished the believer by God and with which he appropriates the blessings of grace. (Philippians Commentary Online- Recommended)
F aith (4102) (pistis) is a firm conviction (not just a mental assent to truth) producing full acknowledgment of God's revelation of Truth, a personal surrender to the Truth apprehended and a conduct commensurate with one's surrender. The point is worth reemphasizing in our day in which the definition of faith is very fuzzy -- faith is essentially not a matter of intellectual assent (we of course do need to apprehend it first with our intellect but that is not all), but of personal trust, manifest by an attitude of constant and total dependence on God, which reflects one's response to the trustworthiness of God.
Faith, like grace, is not static. It is critical to understand that genuine saving faith is more than just and intellectual knowledge of the facts. True faith in fact is inseparable from repentance, surrender, and a supernatural longing to obey. James makes it clear that faith without works is dead (non-saving) faith. Do not be deceived.
Nothing before, nothing behind,
The steps of faith
Fall on the seeming void, and find
The rock beneath. -- Whittier
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH COMES FROM GOD ON THE BASIS OF FAITH: ten ek theou dikaiosunen epi te pistei:
- Ps 71:15, 71:16; Isa 45:24, 45:25; 46:13; 53:11; Jer 23:6; 33:16; Da 9:24; Jn 16:8, 9, 10, 11; Ro 1:17; 3:21, 3:22; 4:5, 4:6, 4:13; 5:21; 9:30; 10:3, 10:6, 10:10; 1Cor 1:30; 2Cor 5:21; Gal 2:16; 3:11; 2Pe 1:1
- Philippians 3 Resources - multiple sermons and commentaries
which comes from God by [saving] faith (Amp)
the righteousness that is of God by the faith (YLT)
Righteousness… comes from (ek - out of) God for. God is the Giver of this every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift for…
'Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.' (Isaiah 45:24)
Jeremiah prophesying concerning the Messiah writes that
this is His (Messiah's) name by which He will be called, 'The LORD our righteousness (Jer 23:6) (His Name is Jehovah Tsidkenu)
Paul adds that believers
by His doing… are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption (1Cor 1:30)
The righteousness of God is "an aspect of God’s nature which expresses His unique moral perfection and His readiness to save sinners. It is made known especially through the Gospel of Jesus Christ." (Dictionary of Bible Themes)
By (epi) means upon and here signifies "on the ground of" emphasizing that faith is never the basis or the reason for justification (being declared righteous), but the channel through which God works His redeeming grace. Faith is the confident, continuous confession of total dependence on and trust in Jesus Christ for His righteousness, which God imputes (places on the account of) of the believer. (Ro 3:24-note)
Paul writes "to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies (declares righteous) the ungodly, his faith is credited (reckoned, put to his account) as righteousness just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works" (Ro 4:5, 6-see notes)
ILLUSTRATIONS OF BIBLE TRUTH by Harry A. Ironside -THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Phil. 3:9)
I was talking to a large group at a college one day and an illustration came to my mind which I think all the co-eds understood. I said, "Just imagine one of you girls working your way through college. You have very little with which to do; your parents are not able to provide for you; possibly you have no parents. There is going to be some great affair and all are supposed to be nicely dressed for this occasion; you do not like to be shabby, but you have so little to go on. Then you see that at the five and ten cent store there is a splendid sale on dress material for ten cents a yard. You have only a few dimes, but you go down and get a few yards and try to make a nice little gown so that you can go to that function. But you have never had much training as a seamstress and you have a lot of trouble. However, you work away on it, trying to make it look respectable. Then one day Lady Bountiful visits you; you have always dreamed about her, but never expected to see her. She takes a kindly interest in you and says, "Look, I want you to go down town with me." You go, wondering why she should be interested in you, and then she takes you into one of the most beautiful outfitting establishments of the city. You are stirred as you walk up and down those aisles; as she stops at the dress section, she says, "Now, my dear, pick out any dress you please -- a gown for yourself, any one that you like."
"Well, really," you say, "that seems too good to be true. I am afraid my taste would lead me to pick out something too expensive."
But she says, "Go right on -- anything you want."
And so your fancy for color leads you to select a certain one and you say, "Well, I think that would be very becoming."
"All right," she says, and to the saleslady, "How much is it?" The answer is, "Seventy-five dollars."
"Oh," you say, "that price is altogether beyond a poor girl like me."
"But that is all right," she says, "you like it and you are going to have it."
Imagine the girl coming back to her little room, seeing the poor old figured goods at which she had been working so long. She gets the new one out and tries it on and parades up and down before the glass. Finally, she calls in the other girls and says, "Oh, now I shall be found not having my own dress, this poor inexpensive thing, but this beautiful gown that has been given to me so freely!"
Paul looked at it that way. He had been trying to work out his righteousness himself, trying to make a beautiful garment in which to stand before GOD; but when he got sight of the risen CHRIST, and learned that every believer is made the righteousness of GOD in CHRIST, he said, "Away with that thing of my own providing, now that I can be dressed up in the righteousness which is of GOD in CHRIST."
Captives in Churches - Unbelievable, yet true; bizarre, yet it happened. A 16-year-old girl was kidnapped and held prisoner for 4 months. Where? In the attic of a church in Memphis, Tennessee. Week after week that congregation gathered to worship, to sing, to pray, to enjoy Christian fellowship--and for 4 months in that very same building there was a terrified human being needing to be rescued. Until she was discovered and released by two men on the church's maintenance staff, that girl was a helpless captive. Imagine! A prisoner in church! But perhaps there are more people hidden away in church than we realize--people who have been taken captive by God's diabolical enemy (2Ti 2:26-note). Like the apostle Paul before his conversion, they may even think they are living for God while they are dead in sin. There may be people in our churches who have not experienced spiritual freedom through faith in Jesus Christ. Evangelist Billy Sunday quipped that taking a horse into a garage doesn't turn it into an auto, nor does merely taking a sin-bound person into a church change him or her into a child of God. Only personal faith in Jesus does that. Are you a captive, or have you been set free? --V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Salvation is a gift of God,
Not something earned or won;
He freely gives eternal life
To all who trust His Son. --Sper
True freedom is found in captivity to Christ.
Philippians 3:10 that I mayknow (AAN) Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to (PPPMSN) His death (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [bwhich it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Lightfoot: That I may know him. And when I speak of knowing him, I mean, that I may feel the power of his resurrection; but to feel this, it is first necessary that I should share his sufferings…
Phillips: Now I long to know Christ and the power shown by his resurrection: now I long to share his sufferings, even to die as he died, (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: in order that I might come to know Him in an experiential way, and to come to know experientially the power of His resurrection and a joint-participation in His sufferings,
Young's Literal: to know him, and the power of his rising again, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death,
THAT I MAY KNOW HIM: tou gnonai (AAN) auton:
- Php 3:8 1Jn 2:3,5
- Philippians 3 Resources - multiple sermons and commentaries
The Amplified Bible forcefully catches the intensity of Paul’s desire in this passage:
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [bwhich it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
Jerry Bridges comments that "This is the heartbeat of the godly person. As he contemplates God in the awesomeness of His infinite majesty, power, and holiness, and then as he dwells upon the riches of His mercy and grace poured out at Calvary, his heart is captivated by this One who could love him so. He is satisfied with God alone, but he is never satisfied with his present experience of God. He always yearns for more. (Holiness Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts for Your Spiritual Journey)
How did Paul say he knew Christ? He counted all things loss.
Phil 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,
How does the Apostle John say we know Christ? Obedience.
1John 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
Spurgeon writes that…
Paul means, “That I may know Him more than I now do;” for he knew Him, and delighted in Him; but he felt as if he had not begun really to know Christ. He was like a child at school, who has learnt to read and to write, and knows so much that he begins to want to know more.
See also Spurgeon's sermon Do You Know Him? (Philippians 3:10)
As we read this verse, we come to the supreme emotion of the apostle’s life.
That I may know (1097) (ginosko) (aorist tense) usually speaks of the attaining of personal or "experiential" knowledge. In other words, ginosko is not just an intellectual knowledge of the facts but is a personal experience of something or someone, in this case a knowledge of the Person of Christ.
Examination of some of the uses of ginosko in the Greek translation (Septuagint-Lxx) of the Hebrew OT gives us a sense of the depth of meaning of ginosko. For example, in Genesis 4:1 Moses records that "Adam knew (Hebrew - yada`) Eve his wife; and she conceived and bore Cain". The Hebrew word yada` (to know) is translated by ginosko in this verse and clearly alludes to the intimate knowing of sexual intercourse. Matthew (Mt 1:25KJV), describing the events leading up to the birth of Jesus, says Joseph "knew (ginosko) her (Mary) not," which the NAS translates (interpretatively paraphrases) as "kept her a virgin" We can see from these examples that ginosko indicates the most intimate knowledge of another person. Paul’s aim is not to know about Christ, but to know Him personally, intimately, experientially. And don't miss the context! The context speaks of the believer sharing in the experience of Christ's resurrection power (cp Paul's prayer for the saints in Eph 1:18-19-note) and in the His sufferings (cf Php 1:29-note, Acts 13:22)! And yet this should be the heartbeat of ever true believer (cp Peter's charge in 1Pe 2:21-note [cf Ro 8:17-note] and his command in 2Pe 3:18-note). May the Father grant it be so in the body of Christ in these last days for His glory through His Son Christ Jesus. Amen.
THE object of the apostle’s life-that for which he sacrificed everything: country, kindred, honor, comfort, liberty, and life itself, was, that he might know Christ. Observe that this is not Paul’s prayer as an unconverted man, that he may know Christ, and so be saved; for it follows upon the previous supplication that he might win Christ and be found in Him. This is the desire of one who has been saved, who enjoys the full conviction that his sins are pardoned, and that he is in Christ. It is only the regenerated and saved man who can feel the desire, “That I may know Him.” Are you astonished that a saved man should have such a desire as this? A moment’s reflection will remove your astonishment. Imagine for a moment that you are living in the age of the Roman emperors. You have been captured by Roman soldiers and dragged from your native country; you have been sold for a slave, stripped, whipped, branded, imprisoned, and treated with shameful cruelty. At last you are appointed to die in the amphitheatre, to make holiday for a tyrant. The populace assemble with delight. There they are, tens of thousands of them, gazing down from the living sides of the capacious Colosseum. You stand alone, and naked, armed only with a single dagger-a poor defense against gigantic beasts. A ponderous door is drawn up by machinery, and forth there rushes the monarch of the forest-a huge lion; you must slay him or be torn to pieces. You are absolutely certain that the conflict is too stern for you, and that the sure result must and will be that those terrible teeth will grind your bones and drip with your blood. You tremble; your joints are loosed; you are paralyzed with fear, like the timid deer when the lion has dashed it to the ground. But what is this ? O wonder of mercy !-a deliverer appears. A great unknown leaps from among the gazing multitude, and confronts the savage monster. He quails not at the roaring of the devourer, but dashes upon him with terrible fury, till, like a whipped cur, the lion slinks towards his den, dragging himself along in pain and fear. The hero lifts you up, smiles into your bloodless face, whispers comfort in your ear, and bids you be of good courage, for you are free. Do you not think that there would arise at once in your heart a desire to know your deliverer? As the guards conducted you into the open street, and you breathed the cool, fresh air, would not the first question be, “Who was my deliverer, that I may fall at his feet and bless him ?” You are not, however, informed, but instead of it you are gently led away to a noble mansion house, where your many wounds are washed and healed with salve of rarest power. You are clothed in sumptuous apparel; you are made to sit down at a feast; you eat and are satisfied; you rest upon the softest down. The next morning you are attended by servants who guard you from evil and minister to your good. Day after day, week after week, your wants are supplied. You live like a courtier. There is nothing that you can ask which you do not receive. I am sure that your curiosity would grow more and more intense till it would ripen into an insatiable craving. You would scarcely neglect an opportunity of asking the servants, “Tell me, who does all this, who is my noble benefactor, for I must know him?” “Well, but” they would say, “is it not enough for you that you are delivered from the lion?” “Nay,” say you, “it is for that very reason that I pant to know him.” “Your wants are richly supplied-why are yon vexed by curiosity as to the hand which reaches you the boon? If your garment is worn out, there is another. Long before hunger oppresses you, the table is well loaded. What more do you want?” But your reply is, “It is because I have no wants, that, therefore, my soul longs and yearns even to hungering and to thirsting, that I may know my generous loving friend.” Suppose that as you wake up one morning, you find lying up on your pillow a precious love-token from your unknown friend, a ring sparkling with jewels and engraved with a tender inscription, a bouquet of flowers bound about with a love-motto! Your curiosity now knows no bounds. But you are informed that this wondrous being has not only done for you what you have seen, but a thousand deeds of love which you did not see, which were higher and greater still as proofs of his affection. You are told that he was wounded, and imprisoned, and scourged for your sake, for he had a love to yon so great, that death itself could not overcome it: you are informed that he is every moment occupied in your interests, because he has sworn by himself that where he is there you shall be; his honors you shall share, and of his happiness you shall he the crown. Why, methinks you would say, “Tell me, men and women, any of you who know him, tell me who he is and what he is ;” and if they said, “But it is enough for you to know that he loves you, and to have daily proofs of his goodness,” you would say, “No, these love-tokens increase my thirst. If ye see him, tell him I am sick of love. The flagons which he scuds me, and the love-tokens which he gives me, they stay me for awhile with the assurance of his affection but they only impel me onward with the more unconquerable desire that I may know him. I must know him; I cannot live without knowing him. His goodness makes me thirst, and pant, and faint, and even die, that I may know him.”
John MacArthur comments that Paul's passion to know Christ drove his prayer life…
Such passion is the driving force behind powerful prayer. Those who know God best pray most often and most fervently. Their love for Him compels them to know and serve Him better. How about you? Is your knowledge of God intimate? Does the character of your prayers reveal that you’re in the process of knowing God? (Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith)
A W Tozer
I almost shrink from hearing the expression, “the deeper life,” because so many people want to talk about it as a topic—but no one seems to want to know and love God for Himself! God is the deeper life! Jesus Christ Himself is the deeper life, and as I plunge on into the knowledge of the triune God, my heart moves on into the blessedness of His fellowship. This means that there is less of me and more of God—thus my spiritual life deepens, and I am strengthened in the knowledge of His will. I think this is what Paul meant when he penned that great desire, “That I may know him!” He was expressing more than the desire for acquaintance—he was yearning to be drawn into the full knowledge of fellowship with God which has been provided in the plan of redemption.
Eadie comments that…
From this statement, and from the following clauses, it is plain that this knowledge is that of a deep and deepening experience. It is not historical insight, nor general and theoretic information. The apostle aimed to know Him as being in Him. Such knowledge is inspired by the consciousness —not elaborated by the intellect. It rises up from within —is not gathered from without. It does not accumulate evidence to test the truth—it “has the witness” in itself. It needs not to repair to the cistern and draw—it has in itself “a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.” It knows, because it feels; it ascertains, not because it studies, but because it enjoys union, and possesses the righteousness of God through faith.
She that touched the tassel of His robe had a knowledge of Christ deeper and truer by far than the crowds that thronged about Him; for “virtue” had come out of Him, and she felt it in herself. Only this kind of knowledge possesses “the excellency,” for it is connected with justification, as was intimated by Isaiah; and it is “eternal life,” as declared by Jesus (Isa. 53:11; John 17:3).
The apostle could not set so high a value on a mere external knowledge, or a mere acquaintanceship with the facts and dates of Christ's career. For it is quite possible for a man to want the element of living experience, and yet to be able to argue himself into a belief of the Messiahship of the Son of Mary; quite possible for him, without a saving interest in the themes of his study, to stand at the manger and prove the babe's true humanity; to gaze on His miracles, and deduce from them a divine commission, without bowing to its authority; ay, and to linger by the cross, and see in it. (Philippians 3 Commentary - Online)
F. B. Meyer calls it “The Soul’s Quest for the Personal Christ.” Meyer wrote
We may know Him personally intimately face to face, Christ does not live back in the centuries nor amid the clouds of heaven, He is near us, with us, compassing our path in our lying down and acquainted with all our ways. But we cannot know Him in this mortal life except through the illumination and teaching of the Holy Spirit. And we can surely know Christ not as a stranger who turns in to visit for the night or as the exalted king of men, there must be an inner knowledge as of those whom He counts His own familiar friends, whom He trusts with His secrets who eat with Him of His own bread. To know Christ in the storm of battle, to know Him in the valley of shadow, to know Him when the solar light radiates our faces or when they are darkened with disappointment and sorrow, to know the sweetness of His dealing with bruised reeds and smoking flax, to know the tenderness of His sympathy and the strength of His right hand, all this involves many varieties of experience on our part. But each of them like the facets of a diamond will reflect the prismatic beauty of His glory from a new angle
Paul’s emphasis here is on gaining a deeper knowledge and intimacy with Christ. Possessing Christ's righteousness by faith was not an end but in fact for Paul was the starting point… indeed how could anyone ever get satiated with our infinite Redeemer? Never.
John Piper comments that…
Education about God precedes and serves exultation in God. Learning truth precedes loving truth. Right reflection on God precedes right affection for God. Seeing the glory of Christ precedes savoring the glory of Christ. Good theology is the foundation of great doxology. Knowledge is utterly crucial. But it is not an end in itself. It serves faith and love. And if it doesn't, it only puffs up, as Paul says in 1Co8:1.Where education does not produce heartfelt exultation in God, it degenerates into proud intellectualism. And where exultation is not sustained and shaped by solid Biblical education, it degenerates into proud emotionalism. God means to be known and loved. Seen and savored. Pondered and praised. (See full sermon Fulfilling the Law of Love :: Desiring God)
Spurgeon writes that…
Paul made a list of his advantages as to confidence in the flesh, and they were very great; but he turned his back upon them all for Christ’s sake; but accepting Christ to be everything to him, did he, therefore, sit down in self-content, and imagine that personal character was nothing? By no manner of means. A noble ambition fired his soul: he longed to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means he might attain unto the resurrection from the dead.
He became a holy walker, and a heavenly runner, because of what he saw in Christ Jesus. Be you sure of this, that the less you value your own righteousness, the more will you seek after true holiness; the less you think of your own beauty, the more ardently will you long to become like the Lord Jesus.
Those who dream of being saved by their own good works are usually those who have no good works worth mentioning; while those who sincerely lay aside all hope of salvation by their own merits, are fruitful in every virtue to the praise of God.
Nor is this a strange thing; for the less a man thinks of himself, the more he will think of Christ, and the more will he aim at being like him. The less esteem he has of his own past good works, the more earnest will he be to show his gratitude for being saved by grace through the righteousness of Christ.
Faith works by love, and purifies the soul, and sets the heart a running after the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus; hence it is a purifying and active principle, and by no means the inert thing which some suppose it to be.
What, then, was the great object of the apostle’s ardor? It was “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” Paul already knew the Lord Jesus by faith; he knew so much of Him as to be able to teach others. He had looked to Jesus, and known the power of His death; but he now desired that the vision of his faith might become still better known by experience.
You may know a man, and have an idea that he is powerful; but to know him and his power over you, is a stage further. You may have read of a man so as to be familiar with his history and his character, and yet you may have no knowledge of him and of his personal influence over yourself.
Paul desired intimate acquaintance with the Lord Jesus, personal intercourse with the Lord to such a degree that he should feel His power at every point, and know the effect of all that He had wrought out in His life, death, and resurrection.
He knew that Jesus died, and he aspired to rehearse the history in his own soul’s story: he would be dead with Him to the world.
He knew that Jesus was buried, and he would fain be “buried with Him in baptism unto death.”
He knew that Jesus rose, and his longing was to rise with Him in newness of life.
Yes, he even remembered that his Lord had ascended up on high, and he rejoiced to say, “He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
His great desire was to have reproduced in himself the life of Jesus, so as to know all about Him by being made like Him. The best "Life of Christ" is not by Canon Farrar, or Dr. Geikie: it is written in the experience of the saint by the Holy Ghost.
I want you to observe, at the very outset, that all Paul desired to know was always in connection with our Lord himself. He says, “That I may know HIM, and the power of his resurrection.” Jesus first, and then the power of his resurrection.
Beware of studying doctrine, precept, or experiences apart from the Lord Jesus, Who is the soul of all. Doctrine without Christ will be nothing better than his empty tomb; doctrine with Christ is a glorious high throne, with the King sitting thereon. Precepts without Christ are impossible commands; but precepts from the lips of Jesus have a quickening effect upon the heart. Without Christ you can do nothing; but, abiding in him, you bring forth much fruit.
Always let your preaching and your hearing look towards the personal Savior. This makes all the difference in preaching. Ministers may preach sound doctrine by itself, and be utterly without unction; but those who preach it in connection with the Person of the blessed Lord have an anointing which nothing else can give. Christ himself, by the Holy Ghost, is the savor of a true ministry…
(Spurgeon then goes on to expound on 4 aspects of our Lord's resurrection which are briefly summarized - see link for full exposition)
I. First, the power of our Lord’s resurrection is An Evidencing Power. Here I shall liken it to a seal which is set to a document to make it sure. Our Lord’s resurrection from the dead was a proof that he was the Messiah, that he had come upon the Father’s business, that he was the Son of God, and that the covenant which Jehovah had made with him was henceforth ratified and established, He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”…
II. We will dwell next Upon The Justifying Power Of His Resurrection, Under the first head I compared the resurrection to a seal; under this second head I must liken it to a note of acquittance, or a receipt. Our Lord’s rising from the dead was a discharge in full, from the High Court of Justice, from all those liabilities which he had undertaken on our behalf…
III. Thirdly, let us now notice The Life-Giving Power of The Resurrection Of Christ. This will be seen if we perceive that our Lord has life in himself…
IV. The last point is The Consoling Power Of The Resurrection Of Christ. This consoling power should be felt as to all departed saints. We are often summoned to the house of mourning in this church; for we seldom pass a week without one or two deaths of beloved ones. Here is our comfort-Jesus says, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.”…
(Read the entire sermon The Power of His Resurrection where Spurgeon expounds on the following 4 aspects of our Lord's resurrection… )
A W Tozer
Can it be that we do not believe that Jesus Christ is capable of a growing and increasing intimacy of fellowship with those who are His own? To become acquainted with God is one thing, but to go on in commitment and to experience God in intensity and richness of acquaintance is something more. The Apostle Paul knew this in his yearning as he said, “I want to know Him in that depth and rich intensity of experience (paraphrase of Philippians 3:10)!” Of the many compelling reasons why we ought to know our Savior better than we do, certainly the first is that He is a person, that He is the Eternal Son, but have we gone on to adore Him because He is the source and fountain of everything that you and I are created to enjoy?
He is the fountain of all truth, but He is more—He is truth itself. He is the source and strength of all beauty, but He is more—He is beauty itself. He is the fountain of all wisdom, but He is more—He is wisdom itself. In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden away!…There is excitement in true love, and I think that we Christians who love our Savior ought to be more excited about who He is and what He is! (I Talk Back to the Devil)
The initiative of the saint is not towards self-realization, but towards knowing Jesus Christ. The spiritual saint never believes circumstances to be haphazard, or thinks of his life as secular and sacred; he sees everything he is dumped down in as the means of securing the knowledge of Jesus Christ. There is a reckless abandonment about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we shall realize Jesus Christ in every domain of life, and He will bring us back to the same point again and again until we do. Self-realization leads to the enthronement of work; whereas the saint enthrones Jesus Christ in his work. Whether it be eating or drinking or washing disciples’ feet, whatever it is, we have to take the initiative of realizing Jesus Christ in it. Every phase of our actual life has its counterpart in the life of Jesus. Our Lord realized His relationship to the Father even in the most menial work. “Jesus knowing … that He was come from God, and went to God; … took a towel, … and began to wash the disciples feet.”
The aim of the spiritual saint is “that I may know Him.” Do I know Him where I am to-day? If not, I am failing Him. I am here not to realize myself, but to know Jesus. In Christian work the initiative is too often the realization that something has to be done and I must do it. That is never the attitude of the spiritual saint, his aim is to secure the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances he is in. (My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year)
Rodney (Gipsy) Smith knew Christ…
Audiences never tired of hearing Rodney Smith tell his story: I was born on the 31st of March, 1860, in a gipsy tent, the son of Cornelius Smith. When I got old enough to ask questions about my birth my mother was dead, but my father told me the place, though not the date. It was only recently that I knew the date. I discovered I was a year younger than I took myself to be. It was while imprisoned for debts that Cornelius heard the gospel. Later he took his children to Latimer Road Mission where, as worshipers sang There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood, he suddenly fell unconscious to the floor. Soon he jumped up, shouting, “I am converted! Children, God has made a new man of me!” Rodney ran from the church terrified.
But at age 16 Rodney attended a Methodist meeting, went forward, and prayed for Christ to come into his own heart. Someone nearby whispered, “Oh, it’s only a gipsy boy.” But Rodney, undeterred, acquired a Bible, taught himself to read, and began preaching. His efforts came to the attention of General William Booth, and on June 25, 1877, Rodney attended a Salvation Army meeting. The general recognized him and said, “The next speaker will be the gipsy boy.”Trembling, I took my way to the platform, which, luckily, was only five or six steps off. When I reached it I shook in every limb. Mr. Booth saw I was in a predicament and said, “Will you sing us a solo?” I said, “I will try, sir”; and that night I sang my first solo at a big public meeting.
After his solo, Rodney coughed nervously and said, I am only a gipsy boy. I do not know what you know about many things, but I know Jesus. I know that He has saved me. I cannot read as you do; I do not live in a house as you do; I live in a tent. But I have got a great house up yonder, and some day I am going to live in it. My great desire is to live for Christ. Thus began 70 years of remarkable, world-renowned evangelistic work. (Morgan, Robert J. - On this day: 365 amazing and inspiring stories about saints, martyrs & heroes)
AND THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION: kai ten dunamin tes anastaseos autou:
- Jn 5:21-29; 10:18; Jn 11:25,26; Acts 2:31-38; Ro 6:4-11; 8:10,11; 1Cor 15:21-23; 2Cor 1:10; 4:10-13; 13:4; Ep 1:19-21; Col 2:13; Col 3:1; 1Th 4:14,15; 1Pe 1:3; 4:1,2; Rev 1:18
- Philippians 3 Resources - multiple sermons and commentaries
The (definite article) power - Not just any power, but resurrection power (cf 2Cor 13:4, Col 1:29-note)! Because of the transforming power of the Gospel we can sing
Jesus be Jesus in me, no longer me but Thee.
Resurrection power fill me this hour.
Jesus be Jesus in me.
Jesus Be Jesus In Me - YouTube
Power (1411)(dunamis from dunamai = to be able, to have power) power especially achieving power. It refers to intrinsic power or inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way (power, might, strength, ability, capability), the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.
Dunamis is the implied ability or capacity to perform. It conveys the idea of effective, productive energy, rather than that which is raw and unbridled.
Note that words derived from the stem duna— all have the basic meaning of “being able,” of “capacity” in virtue of an ability. Duna- is the root for English words like dynamic, dynamo, dynamite, etc.
Dunamis is the word generally used by Paul of divine energy. This power is this same power that is now available to all believers to enable us to live a life of holiness (1Th 4:3, Heb 12:14KJV) which brings forth the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:11b).
Barclay writes that dunamis "can be used of any kind of extraordinary power. It can be used of the power of growth, of the powers of nature, of the power of a drug, of the power of a man’s genius. It always has the meaning of an effective power which does things and which any man can recognize. (Philippians 3 Commentary)
Resurrection (386)(anastasis from ana = up, again + histemi = to cause to stand) literally means “to stand again" or "to cause to stand again" and most NT uses refer to a physical body rising from the dead or coming back to life after having once died.
The resurrection is distinguished from belief in reincarnation, which usually involves a series of rebirths from which the soul may seek release. Resurrection has primary reference to the body. The resurrection is the central, defining doctrine and claim of the gospel for as Paul wrote "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain." (1Cor 15:14)
See more on resurrection in Torrey's Topical Listing; or click on the articles in the following Bible dictionaries, all of which discuss resurrection (Easton; Easton (2); Holman; Holman (2) ;ISBE; ISBE (2)
Speaking to Martha on the occasion of the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus in His fifth great "I Am" statement declared "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies. (Jn 11:25)
Martha had just declared her belief in the resurrection (implying that she believed the OT Scriptures) stating "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” (Jn 11:24)
What Jesus did was move Mary from an abstract belief in the resurrection that will take place "at the last day" (cf. Jn 5:28, 29) to a personal faith in Him Who Alone can raise the dead. Beloved, remember that wherever Jesus is, God’s resurrection power is available now (Ro 6:4-note; Gal 2:20-note; Php 3:10-note).
Given these clear references to the resurrection it is interesting that "the Sadducees… say that there is no resurrection" (Mt 22:23), the very subject on which they attempted to entrap Jesus. Jesus rebuked them declaring that
regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." (Mt 22:31, 32)
Christ’s resurrection most graphically demonstrated the extent of His power. By raising Himself from the dead, Christ displayed His power over both the physical and spiritual worlds. Believers have available the dynamic spiritual energy that comes from Christ (cf Ep 1:19-note).
There's no power in the law. There's no power to overcome sin in my flesh. There's no real power for spiritual service in my flesh. There's no power for victory in my flesh. There's no power for witnessing in my flesh. He says I've been operating without power and now I see all the power in Christ. "How do you see it?" In His resurrection wherein God most graphically demonstrated the extent of His power in raising Christ out of the dead. This event demonstrates that power not just over the physical world but also over the spiritual world. The greatest display of power Jesus ever accomplished was His resurrection from the dead and Paul says that was the kind of power he wanted to experience. All believers have experienced "resurrection power" when they were raised with Christ spiritually. Paul as one co-resurrected with Christ knew that power, but more than that, he wanted that same resurrection power to continue to be his resource. He wanted resurrection power to conquer sin and temptation, to serve Christ, to overcome trials that make one strong when weak, and to enable bold witnessing. In Christ there is resurrection power in our otherwise impotent lives. Don't you want the power of the resurrected life of Christ flowing through you to give you victory in this life?
Many Christians want the first half of 3:10 , “to really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead,” but show little interest in the second half: to “learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death.” But these go hand in hand, as saints throughout the ages can attest" (Ro 8:17-note). (Wilmington's Bible handbook. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers)
Spurgeon (Morning and Evening) has the following devotional thoughts on the "power of His resurrection"
The doctrine of a risen Saviour is exceedingly precious. The resurrection is the corner-stone of the entire building of Christianity. It is the key-stone of the arch of our salvation. It would take a volume to set forth all the streams of living water which flow from this one sacred source, the resurrection of our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; but to know that he has risen, and to have fellowship with him as such—communing with the risen Saviour by possessing a risen life—seeing him leave the tomb by leaving the tomb of worldliness ourselves, this is even still more precious. The doctrine is the basis of the experience, but as the flower is more lovely than the root, so is the experience of fellowship with the risen Saviour more lovely than the doctrine itself. I would have you believe that Christ rose from the dead so as to sing of it, and derive all the consolation which it is possible for you to extract from this well-ascertained and well-witnessed fact; but I beseech you, rest not contented even there. Though you cannot, like the disciples, see him visibly, yet I bid you aspire to see Christ Jesus by the eye of faith; and though, like Mary Magdalene, you may not “touch” him, yet may you be privileged to converse with him, and to know that he is risen, you yourselves being risen in him to newness of life. To know a crucified Saviour as having crucified all my sins, is a high degree of knowledge; but to know a risen Saviour as having justified me, and to realize that he has bestowed upon me new life, having given me to be a new creature through his own newness of life, this is a noble style of experience: short of it, none ought to rest satisfied. May you both “know him, and the power of his resurrection.” Why should souls who are quickened with Jesus, wear the grave-clothes of worldliness and unbelief? Rise, for the Lord is risen.
F B Meyer has the following devotional entitled The Power of Christ's Resurrection
Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."-- Rom6:4.
THE KEYNOTE of this inspiring paragraph is life in union with the Risen Christ. Behind us lies the Death of our Lord, which severed for His people their fellowship with the world. As the voice of praise or blame cannot reach the dead, but are arrested at the fast-closed ears, so it is intended that the murmur of the world should not affect us, but that we should be set only on the Will of God.
It is not wise, however, to dwell always on the negations of the Christian life. It is true that they are always present, but to dwell on them is to miss the power by which self-sacrifice and self-denial become easy. Do not live on the dying but the risen side of the Saviour's work. Behold Him as He goes forth upon His upward way to the Throne of Glory. Seek to experience union with Him in the likeness of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10).
There ought to be a finality in our experience. It is good for us to recognize the break with our past life. It must be clearly defined; we must have done with it for ever. It is possible that we may be tempted, and come temporarily beneath the dominion of old sins; but in principle, like the Israelites, we have passed from Egypt, never to return to it, and the Red Sea of Christ's redemption severs us from our former condition. We do not reckon ourselves to be dead to sin in the sense that our nature is henceforth incapable of sinning. If we think thus, we shall soon be disillusioned, and find that tendencies and strivings are within us which prove the contrary. But we must reckon that we have died to sin, and whenever temptation comes, that it has no claim upon us. Nelson turned his blind eye to the signal to retreat from action, and we are to turn blind eyes and deaf ears to the tempter.
The Apostle says that we are to present our members as instruments of righteousness to God. Do not look at the tempter, but at Christ; yield the eyes, ears, heart, and mind to Him, that He may make the best possible use of them; and that which becomes the habitual practice of the outward life will inevitably affect the soul and spirit.
PRAYER -Constrained by Thy love, O Lord, we would here present ourselves, spirit, soul, and body, not to live unto ourselves, but unto Thee who didst die, and rise again. AMEN.
D Martyn Lloyd Jones comments on "That I may know him… " (Phil. 3:10)
Do you know God? I am not asking whether you believe things about Him; but have you met Him? Have you known yourself for certain in His presence? Does He speak to you, and do you know that you speak to Him? 'The Practice of the Presence of God' by Brother Lawrence tells us that this is possible in the kitchen while you are washing the dishes, and performing the most menial tasks. It matters not where you are as long as you know that this is possible, that Christ died to make it possible. He died 'to bring us to God', and to this knowledge. Is your fellowship 'with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ'? O that we might know God! Begin to cry with Job, 'Oh, that I knew where I might find him', and you will soon find yourself desiring, hungering to know Him. The most vital question to ask about all who claim to be Christian is this: Have they a soul thirst for God? Do they long for this? Is there something about them that tells you that they are always waiting for His next manifestation of Himself? Is their life centered on Him? Can they say with Paul that they forget everything in the past? Do they press forward more and more that they might know Him and that the knowledge might increase, until eventually beyond death and the grave they may bask eternally in 'the sunshine of His face?' That I might know him!'
AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS: kai (ten) koinonian ton pathematon autou:
- Mt 20:23; Ro 6:3, 4, 5; 8:17,29; 2Cor 1:5; Gal 2:20; Col 1:24; 2Ti 2:11,12; 1Pe 4:13,14
- Philippians 3 Resources - multiple sermons and commentaries
Fellowship (2842) (koinonia from koinos = that which is in common, belonging to several or of which several are partakers) describes the experience (in contrast to koinonia as an act) means having in common or sharing with and describes an association involving close mutual interests and sharing. Koinonia is joint participation and cooperation in a common interest and activity.
Koinonia refers to a partnership — a deep communion of suffering that every believer shares with Christ, Who is able to comfort suffering Christians because He has already experienced the same suffering, and infinitely more (He 2:18-noyr; He 4:15-note; He 12:2, 3, 4-notes Heb 12:2; 3; 4 cf. 2Cor 5:21; 1Pe 2:21-note; 1Pe 2:24-note).
Koinonia - 19x in 17v - Acts 2:42; Rom 15:26; 1 Cor 1:9; 10:16; 2 Cor 6:14; 8:4; 9:13; 13:13; Gal 2:9; Phil 1:5; 2:1; 3:10; Philemon 1:6; Heb 13:16; 1 John 1:3, 6f. NAS = contribution(2), fellowship(12), participation(2), sharing(3).
In Colossians Paul writes "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions. (See note Colossians 1:24)
Our suffering has no atoning value but is a reflection of being identified with Christ, in covenant, as part of His body… when we suffer He suffers.
“Adversity is the touchstone of character.”
Bill Bright reminds us "All men suffer; however, the disobedient Christians and the unbelievers suffer far more than the obedient, Spirit-filled Christians, because most of the problems of life are self-imposed and when they suffer, they suffer alone, for they are on their own. But the Spirit-filled, obedient, faithful servant of God always knows the reality of God’s faithfulness. (Promises: A daily guide to supernatural living)
In Acts 9 we see this principle in Luke's record of Saul's Damascus Road encounter
And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?"
And He said," I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do." (Acts 9:3-6)
Where was Jesus and what did He asked Saul? Jesus was in heaven and yet accused Saul of persecuting Him. How? Through Saul's persecution of His covenant partners. So because of the exchange of identities inherent in our entering covenant with Christ, when Saul persecuted Christians, He was persecuting Christ. What does this teach about those who have entered the New Covenant with Jesus? Two become one in covenant. If you touch the covenant partner, you are touching the other partner also. Jesus is bound (obligated) to come to the defense of His partners. Do you believe this? Jesus is our Covenant Defender (See more discussion on Covenant: Exchange of Armor)
Just so you don't go over this truth too fast. Our Lord suffers with us when we suffer for the Name of Christ and the cause of the Gospel. We have Someone Who has suffered far beyond any suffering we will ever know, feel or experience. The writer of Hebrews says it this way…
For since He Himself was tempted (tested) in that which He has suffered, He is able (see notes on this great phrase in 2Ti 1:12-note; He 7:25-note) to come to the aid (literally means to run on hearing a cry, to give assistance) of those who are tempted (tested is in the present tense = you may not be in a test as you read but Scripture teaches we are continually being tested). (He 2:18-note)
Every believer knows that the deepest moments of spiritual fellowship with the living Christ are the direct result of intense suffering. Suffering drives us to Christ, because in Christ we find the sympathetic merciful High Priest Who cares, Who comforts, Who feels our pain and Who was tempted in every way just as we are. This is God's divine formula for fellowship to succor every suffering saint…
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (He 4:15-note)
Regarding our sharing in the sufferings of Christ Peter writing
to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. (1Pe 4:13-note)
Koinonia is one of the great words of the gospel and the highest expression of a personal relationship and sharing the things of Christ, for as Marvin Vincent writes
The true life in man, which comes through the acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God, consists in fellowship with God and with man. (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament)
The fellowship with Christ and with all other believers means more than just enjoying each one another's company but includes a mutual sharing of all aspects of our live, a sharing which is permanent, because our shared eternal life is forever. Believers belong to each other in a mutual partnership, produced by their faith in Christ.
John emphasizes that fellowship with God exhibits and proves itself by fellowship with Christians for
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1Jn 1:6, 7)
Sufferings (passion) ( 3804)(pathema) describes what happens to a person and must be endured. Pathema is talking about the actual suffering itself (not suffering in general) - it refers to the very pain that we are experiencing right now - those very things that we can "see, touch & feel" - those things that are causing us anguish and emotional trauma. The sufferings of this life are the lot of all believers but keep in mind that for believers suffering takes on a different meaning and purpose then suffering in general - as believers we suffer for our faith in Christ (and Christ in us Who the world hates) and we suffer that we might be conformed to His image. Furthermore, any suffering and shame we experience in this life for the sake of the Christ "are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us
Eadie has the following note regarding the fellowship of His sufferings…
The general idea is much the same as that which occurs in Col. 1:24 (Col 1:24-note). A share in Christ's actual sufferings was impossible to him. But the sufferings of Christ were not ended —they are prolonged in His body, and of those the apostle desired to know the fellowship. He longed so to suffer, for such fellowship gave him assimilation to his Lord, as he drank of His cup, and was baptized with His baptism. It brought him into communion with Christ, purer, closer, and tenderer than simple service for Him could have achieved. It gave Him such solace as Christ Himself enjoyed.
To suffer together creates a dearer fellow-feeling than to labour together. Companionship in sorrow forms the most enduring of ties,—afflicted hearts cling to each other, grow into each other.
The apostle yearned for this likeness to his Lord, assured that to suffer with Him was to be glorified with Him, and that the depth of His sympathies could be fully known only to such as "through much tribulation" must enter the kingdom (see Acts 9:16, 14:22). Christ indeed cannot be known (in the deepest sense), unless there be this fellowship in His sufferings (Philippians 3 Commentary - Online)
Beloved are you suffering for Him because of your stand for righteousness, for bold proclamation of the Gospel or for your love for Jesus which is obvious to all you encounter? If you are then count yourself blessed by a deeper fellowship with Christ in this life and glorious rewards from Him in the life to come
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me "Rejoice and be glad (both verbs are present imperative = commands to carry out these attitudes and actions as your habitual practice), for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (see notes Matthew 5:11 ; 12)
The Fellowship of Christ's Sufferings - by G. Campbell Morgan
Do not miss the blessedness of the fact that the fellowship of His sufferings means that He has fellowship with us. When I enter into the fellowship of His sufferings I am not alone, for He is forever with me. I can endure no pain for Him that He does not share with me. When I stand in the presence of sin and suffer--if I have climbed high enough, in that moment He is with me, He is feeling the same pain, He is suffering with me. When my heart is moved with hot anger because God is misunderstood, He is suffering with me. My fellowship with Him means His fellowship with me. When through pity born of His love my heart breaks over the awful punishment that is falling on the head of the sinner, never let Satan suggest I have reached a higher level than the Lord, for He is having fellowship with me, my pity is born of His pity, and His love is suffering with my love. Paradox of Christianity which no man can explain--there is no joy like the fellowship of His suffering! What is the sense of sin that causes you pain, dear child of God? It is the outcome of purity. The measure of purity is the measure of suffering in the presence of sin. In the infinite mystery of pain there is the deeper heart and core of holy joy. What is that suffering of your heart in the presence of misunderstanding of God? It is born of your perfect satisfaction in God. Why are you angry when that man libels God? Because you know Him. Your hot pain and great sorrow come out of the quiet rest of intimate knowledge. What is that pity for the sinner that throbs through your soul, fills your eyes, breaks your heart? It is the outcome of the love of God shed abroad in your heart.
BEING CONFORMED TO HIS DEATH: summorphizomenos (PPPMSN) to thanato autou:
Conformed (4833) (summorphoo - see word study on related word summorphos) means to cause something to be similar in form or style to something else, specifically in this case denoting an inward similarity of attitudes and character to those of our Lord.
Webster defines conform as to give the same shape, outline, or contour to, bring into harmony or accord, or to bring one thing into correspondence with another, especially bringing into accordance with a pattern or example.
The present tense pictures this as a process with the passive voice indicating the action from an outside source - in this case the result of sharing His sufferings, which more and more molds us into the likeness of His death. This process is part of our sanctification (progressively being set apart from the profane things of the world and unto God). Paul alluded to this process in a parallel passage writing that…
we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. (2Cor 4:11,12)
Wuest notes that being conformed means "literally, “to bring to the same form with some other person.” It is the same Greek word the apostle used in the great Kenosis passage (Php 2:5, 6, 7, 8), meaning in its verb form “to give outward expression of one’s inner intrinsic nature.” Paul’s desire was that he might so come to know his Lord, the power of His resurrection operative in his life, and a joint-participation in His sufferings, that he would be brought to the place where he would become, both as to his inner heart life and also as to the outward expression of the same, like his Lord with respect to His death, not merely His physical death which was for others, but His death to self, as illustrated so vividly to the Philippians in the self-emptying of the Lord Jesus in Php 2:7, a self-emptying that was true of our Lord not only in His act of becoming incarnate and of stooping to the death of the Cross, but also one that conditioned His entire earthly life and made it the beautiful life it was, a death to self, a denying of self for the blessing of others. This was what Paul was striving for. The most radical conformity is here indicated. It was not only the undergoing of a physical death like that of Christ’s, but a conformity to the spirit and temper of His life, the meekness, lowliness, and submission of Christ. (Philippians Commentary Online- Recommended)
As Christ died for the purpose of redeeming sinners, so Paul had that same purpose in a lesser sense; he lived and would willingly die to reach sinners with the gospel. His life and death, though not redemptive, were for the same purpose as his Lord’s.
Hudson Taylor - There is a needs-be for us to give ourselves for the life of the world… Fruit-bearing involves cross-bearing. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.” We know how the Lord Jesus became fruitful—not by bearing His cross only, but by dying on it. Do we know much of fellowship with Him in this? There are not two Christs—an easy-going Christ for easy-going Christians, and a suffering, toiling Christ for exceptional believers. There is only one Christ. Are we willing to abide in Him and so to bear fruit?
John Calvin on The Fellowship of Suffering: Having spoken of the freely conferred righteousness procured for us through the resurrection of Christ and obtained by us through faith, Paul proceeds to discuss the fellowship of his sufferings, or the exercises of the pious, so that it might not seem as though he introduces an inactive faith that produces no effects in this life.
Indirectly, he also implies that these are the exercises that the Lord would have his people use rather than the useless elements of ceremonies that the false apostles press upon believers. So, let every one who has by faith become a partaker of all Christ’s benefits acknowledge that the condition of these benefits is that his whole life be conformed to Christ’s death.
There is both participation and fellowship in the death of Christ. One exercise is inward; it is what the Scripture tends to call the mortification of the flesh or the crucifixion of the old man. It is what Paul describes in Romans 6. The other is outward; Scripture terms this the mortification of the outward man. This endurance of the cross is what Paul describes in Romans 8 and also in Philippians 3:10, if I am not mistaken. For after introducing the power of his resurrection, Christ crucified is set before us, that we may follow him through tribulations and distresses. The resurrection of the dead is expressly mentioned so we know that we must die before we live. Believers must make this a continued subject of meditation as long as they sojourn in this world.
This is a choice consolation: if we are his members, we are partakers of Christ’s cross, and that, through afflictions, the way to everlasting blessedness is open to us.
FOR MEDITATION: Believers in principle are sanctified and delivered from the bondage of sin. But as long as they remain in this life, they must continue to struggle with remaining sin and the old inclinations that governed them before they knew grace. Thus this prayer of Paul’s is very appropriate for every believer: that they might know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings in conforming to his death. (365 Days with Calvin)
A W Tozer: Do we really believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is something more than making us the “happiest fellows in the Easter parade”? Are we just to listen to the bright cantata and join in singing, “Up from the Grave He Arose,” smell the flowers and go home and forget it? No, certainly not!
It is truth and a promise with a specific moral application. The resurrection certainly commands us with all the authority of sovereign obligation—the missionary obligation!
I cannot give in to the devil’s principal, deceitful tactic which makes so many Christians satisfied with an “Easter celebration” instead of experiencing the power of Christ’s resurrection. It is the devil’s business to keep Christians mourning and weeping with pity beside the cross instead of demonstrating that Jesus Christ is risen, indeed. When will the Christian church rise up, depending on His promise and power, and get on the offensive for the risen and ascended Savior?
John MacArthur: The more you know God, the more you’ll under–stand who He wants you to be, so the primary pursuit of any believer is to know God (Phil. 3:10). That can be achieved only when we study God’s character as it is revealed in Scripture…
Jesus Christ’s resurrection most graphically demonstrated the extent of His power. That’s the kind of power the apostle Paul wanted to experience because He realized he was helpless to overcome sin on his own.
The resurrection power of Christ deals with sin at our salvation. We experience His resurrection might at salvation. We were buried with Christ in His death, and we rose with Him to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
But to defeat sin daily, we need His resurrection power to be our resource. We need His strength to serve Him faithfully, to conquer temptation, to overcome trials, and to witness boldly. Only as we build our relationship with Christ and tap into His might will we have victory over sin in this life. (Truth for today : a daily touch of God's grace)
Joni Eareckson Tada: Paul writes, “All I care for is to know Christ.” Yes, we agree with the apostle. We’d like to know Jesus better, to be on good terms with him. “All I care for is…to experience the power of his resurrection.” Absolutely! Who wouldn’t want the Lord’s power in his or her life? “All I care for is…to share in his sufferings.” Uh, sure. I guess tough times in moderate doses isn’t all that bad; we all need a good soul-scrubbing now and then. “All I care for is…growing conformity with his death.” Wait a minute; not so fast. Like, martyrdom? Chronic pain? Rejection and abuse? I really don’t care to know Christ that badly, we silently admit to ourselves.
Most of us would love to experience the sort of closeness the apostle Paul enjoyed with Jesus. We would love to have his faith and strength of character. We yearn to live that nobly, speak that boldly, fight our vices that manfully. And who wouldn’t want to have prayers answered as Paul did? But to know Christ is always a personal invitation to suffer with Christ. No one enters the Lord’s intimate fellowship without first entering his fellowship of suffering. Paul knew this, but it did not deter him. The sweetness of communion with Christ far, far outweighs the sufferings.
Don’t be deterred from your desire to know Christ. In your quest, the Lord promises he will never give you trials that, without his enabling, you cannot handle. He wants you to have a deep knowledge of himself, and he knows just how much—and no more—it takes to press you to his side.
I want to know you, Christ. I realize that will mean hardships and headaches, but knowing you—really knowing you—is worth it. (More precious than silver: 366 daily devotional readings)
John Butler: THE Apostle Paul desired to know four important things about Christ. They are the person of Christ, the power of Christ, the pain of Christ, and the purpose of Christ. This desire of Paul is a most noble desire we all need to have.
Person of Christ. “That I may know him.” People know a lot of things, but much of what they know is often of little importance in regards to eternity. If there is one thing we need to know, it is Jesus Christ. Learn all you can about Him. Nothing will help you more in eternity. To learn of Him you must study the Scriptures. Christ said, “Search the scriptures … they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).
Power of Christ. “The power of his resurrection.” The word “power” is translated from a Greek word that gives us the English word “dynamite.” This is great power. To “know” the power of “his resurrection” involves experiencing it in your life. This is the power that overcomes evil and enables us to serve with excellence. We need great power to live victoriously for Christ. And resurrection power is that great power.
Pain of Christ. “The fellowship of his sufferings.” Paul wanted to be acquainted with the sufferings of Christ, with the pain He experienced. This is not sadistic thinking. It is simply a desire to live so faithfully for Christ that he will willingly suffer for Christ as Christ willingly suffered that others might be saved. This desire of Paul separates the men from the boys in service. Few want to suffer for the cause of Christ; and so when things get tough, they will recant or compromise. Not Paul. He wanted to be so faithful that he would suffer willingly as did Christ.
Purpose of Christ. “Being made conformable unto his death.” This speaks of submission (Philippians 2:8). Paul wanted to be completely yielded to the will of God just as Christ was so submissive to God that He willingly went to the cross and died. Christ’s purpose in life was to do the will of God (John 4:34). May that be our purpose, too. (Daily Bible Reading, Volume 2: Sermonettes)
Spurgeon in Morning and Evening: The doctrine of a risen Saviour is exceedingly precious. The resurrection is the corner-stone of the entire building of Christianity. It is the key-stone of the arch of our salvation. It would take a volume to set forth all the streams of living water which flow from this one sacred source, the resurrection of our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; but to know that he has risen, and to have fellowship with him as such—communing with the risen Saviour by possessing a risen life—seeing him leave the tomb by leaving the tomb of worldliness ourselves, this is even still more precious. The doctrine is the basis of the experience, but as the flower is more lovely than the root, so is the experience of fellowship with the risen Saviour more lovely than the doctrine itself. I would have you believe that Christ rose from the dead so as to sing of it, and derive all the consolation which it is possible for you to extract from this well-ascertained and well-witnessed fact; but I beseech you, rest not contented even there. Though you cannot, like the disciples, see him visibly, yet I bid you aspire to see Christ Jesus by the eye of faith; and though, like Mary Magdalene, you may not “touch” him, yet may you be privileged to converse with him, and to know that he is risen, you yourselves being risen in him to newness of life. To know a crucified Saviour as having crucified all my sins, is a high degree of knowledge; but to know a risen Saviour as having justified me, and to realize that he has bestowed upon me new life, having given me to be a new creature through his own newness of life, this is a noble style of experience: short of it, none ought to rest satisfied. May you both “know him, and the power of his resurrection.” Why should souls who are quickened with Jesus, wear the grave-clothes of worldliness and unbelief? Rise, for the Lord is risen.
Deeper Longing: As we concentrate on growing in our reverence and awe for God and in our understanding of His love for us, we will find that our desire for Him will grow. As we gaze upon His beauty, we’ll desire to seek Him even more. And as we become progressively more aware of His redeeming love, we’ll want to know Him in a progressively deeper way. But we can also pray that God will deepen our desire for Him. I recall reading Philippians 3:10 a number of years ago and realizing a little bit of the depth of Paul’s desire to know Christ more intimately. As I read I prayed, “O God, I cannot identify with Paul’s longing, but I would like to.” Over the years God has begun to answer that prayer. By His grace I know experientially to some degree Isaiah’s words, “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you” (Isaiah 26:9NIV). I’m grateful for what God has done, but I pray I will continue to grow in this desire for Him.
In his book Desiring God, John Piper wrote, “[God] loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising Him, the most magnificent of all Beings.” One of the wonderful things about God is that He’s infinite in all His glorious attributes, so never in our desire for Him will we exhaust the revelation of His person to us. The more we come to know Him, the more we’ll desire Him. And the more we desire Him, the more we’ll want to fellowship with Him and experience His presence. And the more we desire Him and His fellowship, the more we’ll desire to be like Him. (Holiness Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts for Your Spiritual Journey: Jerry Bridges)
The Highest Goal -Our Daily Bread - What are you living for in your few fleeting years here on this earth? Anything other than fame, wealth, or influence? When Thomas Naylor was teaching business management at Duke University, he asked his students to draft a personal strategic plan. He reports that "with few exceptions, what they wanted fell into three categories: money, power, and things--very big things, including vacation homes, expensive foreign automobiles, yachts, and even airplanes." This was their request of the faculty: "Teach me how to be a money-making machine." That's not exactly an exalted ambition! No thought of humanitarian service, and no thought of spiritual values! Yet, what those students wanted was what many people want--maybe what most people want. The apostle Paul's overriding ambition was totally different. His consuming desire was to know Jesus and become increasingly conformed to His holy example (Phil. 3:10). He wanted to serve Him by proclaiming the life-changing good news of God's grace. What is our highest goal? Do we want to be a money-making machine, which can never buy lasting happiness? Or do we want to become more like Jesus? --V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
His Spirit fill my hungering soul,
His power all my life control;
My deepest prayer, my highest goal,
That I may be like Jesus. --Chisholm
A wise person sets his earthly goals on heavenly gains.
Philippians 3:11 in order that I may attain (1SFAI) to the resurrection from the dead (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: That if possible I may attain to the [cspiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ESV: that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
NLT: so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!
Phillips: so that I may perhaps attain as he did, the resurrection from the dead (Phillips: Touchstone)
TEV: in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life.
Weymouth: in the hope that I may attain to the resurrection from among the dead.
Wuest: being brought to the place where my life will radiate a likeness to His death, if by any means I might arrive at the goal, namely, the out-resurrection from among those who are dead.
Young's Literal: if anyhow I may attain to the rising again of the dead.
IN ORDER THAT I MAY ATTAIN: ei pos katanteso (1SFAI):
- Luke 14:14; 20:35,36; John 11:24; Acts 23:6; 26:7; Hebrews 11:35
- Philippians 3 Resources - multiple sermons and commentaries
If you need encouragement through a period of suffering, write Philippians 3:10–11 on a card to review throughout the day. Our participation in suffering also assures us that we will share in the power of His resurrection!
In order that - This phrase usually indicates a purpose clause in the Greek text but that is not present in this verse. See value of observing terms of purpose or result .
The KJV and Young's are more literal here than the NAS…
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
If - Most commentators feel that this IF is not expressing a doubt but conveys more a sense that this is his expectation.
A T Robertson agrees writing that this is "Not an expression of doubt, but of humility (Vincent), a modest hope (Lightfoot).
The UBS Handbook agrees adding that…
The expression “if in some way” appears to suggest some doubt or uncertainty in the apostle’s mind, but in reality what he expresses here is his sense of expectation and hope with humility. (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series) (Ed note: As an example see the translations above - TEV, Weymouth)
S Lewis Johnson (Bib Sac 110, Page 141, 1953) however writes
There are several things which point definitely to doubt in the passage
Attain (2658) (katantao from katá intensifier + antáo = meet) means to come to or to arrive at and literally referred to finishing a journey or arrive at one's destination (Acts 13:51, 16:1, 18:19, 24, 21:7, 25:13, 27:12; 28:13). This means easily gives way to the figurative sense of reaching a goal (attain to, arrive at) as in Php 3:11.
Related Resource: 2658 katantaó - to come down to, reach
The English dictionary says attain means to reach an end (achieve, accomplish), to come into possession of or to come to as the end of a progression
The other figurative sense of katantao is to happen to with the implication of something definitive and final come upon as in (1Co 10:11) Paul writing that…
Now these things (the divine retributions Israel suffered in the OT for sin against God - 1Co 10:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (1Cor 10:11)
NIDNTT adds that katantao…
is found in secular Gk. from Polybius (2nd cent. B.C.). It meant originally to come to, and denotes movement towards a goal, primarily a place such as a town. In a metaphorical sense it denotes the attainment of an objective, or conversely something which comes to us.
Use of the word in the LXX is restricted to 4 passages in 2 Macc. and 2 Sam. 3:29. But these reflect important shades of meaning. It is used lit. in the sense of coming to Jerusalem or Tyre (2 Macc. 4:21, 44). It is used metaphorically of attaining to the status of high priest and of men reaching the full measure of sin (2 Macc. 4:24; 6:14). In 2 Sam. 3:29 it translates the Heb. hûl (lit. “turn upon”), and is used of Yahweh requiting blood guilt on the head of Joab. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Katantao - 13x in 13v - Acts 16:1; 18:19, 24; 20:15; 21:7; 25:13; 26:7; 27:12; 28:13; 1Cor 10:11; 14:36; Eph 4:13; Phil 3:11. NAS = arrived(4), attain(3), came(3), come(2), reach(1).
Writing to the saints at Ephesus Paul speaks of the goal of teaching, equipping and building up of the body was that…
we all attain (katantao) to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13-note)
TO THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD: eis ten exanastasin ten ek nekron:
At the outset of this section, although Philippians is generally one of Pa's simpler letters to interpret (with exception of the kenosis passage), it should be noted that the present verse is an exception and is very difficult to interpret dogmatically.
Resurrection (1815) (exanastasis from ek = out of or from + anistemi = to rise up) (used only here in NT) refers to the state or condition of coming up from among the dead. Literally it is the "out resurrection" a graphic word used only here in the NT.
Hall adds " rising up to experience the full-impact of resurrection, i.e. thoroughly removed from the realm of death (the grave)." (Helps Bible)
Related Resource: ξανάστασις (exanastasis) -- a rising again
- Resurrection - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
- Resurrection - Holman Bible Dictionary
- Resurrection - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
And then Paul adds ek nekron literally "out from the dead"! So literally Paul is saying
"I want to attain the out resurrection from among the dead."
LITERAL OR SPIRITUAL
THAT IS THE QUESTION?
So now we know what the Greek text literally states. The question now is how should this text be interpreted? As a literal physical resurrection? Or as a "spiritual" resurrection?
Steven Cole (his sermons are highly recommended) offers a synopsis of the "interpretative dilemma" in this passage writing…
There are two possible interpretations, and it is difficult to decide between them.
(1) Paul may be expressing his hope that he will fully realize what it means in this life to experience what he has just stated, namely, the resurrection life of Christ being lived out fully through him. In favor of this view is the preceding and following context, where Paul says that he has not yet attained it, but presses on. The uncertainty (“if somehow”) points to Paul’s humility and recognition of the weakness of his flesh. The problem with this view is, if Paul had not attained to this experience after 25 years as a Christian, who can? And, it’s an unusual use of the word resurrection.
(2) The other view is that Paul is referring to the future resurrection of the righteous at the return of Christ, when our mortal bodies will be transformed into the likeness of Christ’s resurrection body, free from all sin. We will then share in His glory throughout eternity. “If somehow” would then not reflect uncertainty, since Paul is absolutely certain about the future resurrection (1Cor. 15:4ff), but rather the manner in which he would attain it, whether he may still be alive when Christ returned. The problems with this view are that it doesn’t seem to fit the context quite as well as the other view and the uncertainty doesn’t fit with Paul’s certainty about the future resurrection. The strengths of the view are that the word “out resurrection” most likely refers to the future resurrection, and is intensified to distinguish it from the normal word in Php 3:10; and, if it refers to the future resurrection, then Php 3:9-11 refer to the believer’s justification (Php 3:9), sanctification (Php 3:10), and glorification (Php 3:11). So, it’s hard to pick!
But whatever this verse means, other verses make it clear that the process of sanctification will be completed. We will be like Him, totally apart from sin, sharing in His glory throughout eternity (Ro 8:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 30; 9:23)! John applies this wonderful truth, “Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1Jn 3:2, 3- see notes 3:2 3:3). (See Pastor Cole's complete message Philippians 3:10-11 Knowing Christ & Being Like Him)
The out-resurrection from among the dead (is) Likely a reference to the rapture of the church. (Charles Ryrie: The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)
Paul is probably not thinking of a “general resurrection” of all the dead, but of the resurrection of the faithful believers which will take place at the Parousia, that is at Christ’s second coming (1 Thes 4.16). Here the focus shifts from the participation in the life of the risen Christ here and now to the final and ultimate rising of the dead, when the believers will enter the promised state of eternal blessedness. (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series)
Thomas Constable (See his explanation) favors a physical resurrection
The resurrection from (ek, “out of”) the dead is the resurrection of believers, not a general resurrection. (Pfeiffer, C F: Wycliffe Bible Commentary. 1981. Moody)
When Paul uses the word if he is not expressing a doubt about his participation in the Rapture. Rather, he is affirming that he will have part in it with great joy. Paul did not expect to attain perfection in this life; therefore, he wanted to have full participation in the coming Rapture. (McGee, J Vernon: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Regarding the spiritual resurrection S Lewis Johnson writes that "It is a blessed fact that believers are identified with Christ in His resurrection; they do not gain this by good works. It comes by grace, being made the believer’s possession at the time of regeneration… There are several factors that seem to demand that Paul is referring to the rapture of the church, that aspect of the first resurrection which has to do with the living at the time of Christ’s return… It is not only a blessed hope; it is also a purifying hope, for John, speaking of His manifestation, writes, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1John 3:3-note). F. E. Marsh used to tell the story of John Brown, the faithful attendamt of Queen Victoria of England. When her Majesty was about to visit any of the cottagers at Balmoral, in Scotland, as she was in the habit of doing, John Brown used to go on ahead and say to the person to be visited, “Feckle yersel’, the Queen’s a’ comin’.” “Feckle” meant to hustle, to get ready, to have everything in place. The believer, longing for the coming of his Lord and the rapture of the church, would do well to “feckle” himself in order that His face might be beheld with joy and confidence. (S Lewis Johnson. Bib Sac 110, Page 141, 1953)
The phrase the resurrection from the dead is unique in Scripture. It literally reads “the out resurrection from among the corpses.” Believers will attain to that resurrection at the Rapture… (MacArthur, John. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press)
The apostle states not a positive assurance but a modest hope. The resurrection from the dead. This is the final resurrection of the righteous to a new and glorified life. This meaning, which the context requires, is implied by the form of expression. The general resurrection of the dead, whether good or bad, is “the resurrection of the dead” (e.g. 1Corinthians 15:42); on the other hand, the resurrection of Christ and of those who rise with Christ is generally “the resurrection from the dead” (Luke 20:35; Acts 4:2; 1Peter 1:3). The former includes both the resurrection to life and the resurrection to judgment (John 5:29); the latter is confined to the resurrection to life. (Lightfoot, J. B., Philippians. Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians. 1913)
Paul was not doubting his participation in the resurrection but was instead viewing it in expectation (1Cor. 15:1-34). Paul desired to be with those Christians who, through their victory in Christ, would receive special reward in the resurrection (see Heb. 11:35). (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. The Nelson Study Bible: NKJV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Sharing in Christ’s suffering prepares for sharing in His glory at the resurrection from the dead (Php 3:20, 21; Ro. 8:17). (Whitlock, L. G., Sproul, R. C., Waltke, B. K., & Silva, M. Reformation Study Bible, Nashville: T. Nelson)
Why did Paul say that he wanted to “attain” the out-resurrection from among the dead? Again, did he doubt he would be at this out-resurrection? Perhaps he was using the word “attain” for the rapture that has no predicted time frame for Christ’s return. In any case, the words “attain” means to cross the goal line. The idea is to arrive. Paul did not know if he would die before the rapture or whether the rapture would occur before his death. Paul knows that he is going to arrive in heaven. He does not know by what means. Either his body will be raptured up from among other dead bodies or his soul will go to heaven at the point of his physical death. (Richison, Grant. Verse by Verse Through the Book of Philippians) (Online Source)
Paul lived for Christ because he died to self (Rom. 6 explains this); he took up his cross daily and followed Him. The result of this death was a spiritual resurrection (Phil. 3:11) that caused Paul to walk “in newness of life” (Ro 6:4-note). Paul summarizes this whole experience in Gal 2:20 (note), so take time to read it. (Wiersbe, Warren: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Paul is not speaking here of the future resurrection of the physical body of the saint. That is assured him in 1Corinthians 15. He has in mind the spiritual resurrection of the believing sinner spoken of in Ephesians 2:4-8, a resurrection out from a state in which he is dead in trespasses and sins to one in which he is alive with the divine life of God motivating his being. Paul desires the full operation of this life to surge through his Christian experience in such a manner that the fragrance of the life of his Lord may permeate his life. This is the goal to which he is striving and the goal to which he has not yet attained. Then will be realized in his experience what he longed for in his desire that he might he found by men to be in Christ, to have Him as his righteousness, to come to know Him in an experiential way, to feel the power that raised Christ from the dead surging through his being, to have a participation in His sufferings for righteousness’ sake, and to be made conformable to His death to self as spoken of in Php 2:1–8. (Philippians Commentary Online- Recommended)
Here is the culmination of all Php 3:10. He desires to arrive, by whatever it takes, to the resurrection from the dead. It seems probable that this is in reference to spiritual resurrection (Ro 6:3-note) and not physical. The primary support for this is Php 3:12 where Paul speaks of this as being in reference to perfection or maturity. He says He has not yet attained this and it would seem very strange for him to say this in regards to physical resurrection. This also would perfectly culminate Paul's great desire--to become a carbon copy of Christ. The process is described in Php 3:10 and the results are given at the end of Php 3:10 and here in Php 3:11. To live as though we were resurrected saints requires the personal, experiential knowledge of the things discussed in Php 3:10. Are we willing to pay the price for this goal and result? What we are willing to sacrifice is an unerring indicator of our life's passion. (Dwight Edwards - Philippians: Earthly Conduct of Heavenly Citizens)
Here Paul uses it of attaining, not to the physical resurrection (that is “of” the dead; this is ek, “from among” the dead), for that is assured to all believers hereafter (1Cor. 15:52, 53; 1Th 4:16-note), but to the present life of identification with Christ in His resurrection and its effects. This is confirmed by Php 3:12. That is to say, he desires so to live that his whole life may manifest the power of Christ as the Living One, raised from among the dead. This would be the perfect fulfillment of what he has already said, “to me to live is Christ,” and the expression of his hope “that Christ shall be magnified in his body,” even now. A life like that is an earnest of the physical resurrection to come, but that is not a matter of attainment but of grace. The apostle’s aspiration gives no support to the errors either of annihilation or of a special company who are to be raised first in a partial resurrection. Scripture elsewhere testifies against each of these erroneous theories. (Vine, W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. 1996. Nelson)
The Apostle in these wonderful verses twice uses the word Resurrection; and surely we must interpret it by his well-known teaching, in which he speaks of Christ's Resurrection as primarily affecting spiritual experience. In Romans 6. and Colossians 2, 3., he is not dealing with the resurrection of the body, but with that entrance into a higher state of thought and experience which centres around the risen Lord.
Paul and the Resurrection of the Body. It is impossible to suppose that the Apostle had any doubt as to the resurrection of his body, whether at the coming of the Lord or afterwards. Surely it could never have entered into his mind that any excellence in Christian attainment could affect his sharing with the saints in the first resurrection, when suddenly, "in the twinkling of an eye," the great transformation will come to those who are alive and remain, whilst resurrection will come to those who have fallen asleep. The fact that he belonged to Christ, was a member of his mystical Body, and had given evidence of the depth and sincerity of his conversion, was enough to secure his enjoyment in the privileges of the first resurrection, altogether apart from the renunciations which he had described in the foregoing paragraph. Clearly then, the resurrection of the verses before us has to do with the life hidden with Christ in God, in whom we died indeed unto the world and sin, and are alive unto God through Jesus Christ.
We have already seen that Paul was willing to "count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Here he strikes that note again, and says that he counts all things but loss if only he may win Christ. In one of his quaint poems, Quarles tells us how he loves the earth, the air, the sea, and the heavens. He calls them "the spangled suburbs of the celestial city"; but they cannot give him a satisfaction in which he can rest, and he has to strike through all these outward facts and forms to arrive at God and see them in Him.
In having all things, and not Thee, what have I?
Not having Thee, what have my labours got?
Let me enjoy but Thee, what further crave I?
And having Thee alone what have I not?
I wish nor sea, nor land, nor would I be
Possessed of heaven, if heaven unpossessed Thee.
Such thoughts must have been in the Apostle's mind, enabling him to make nothing of his losses, and everything of his gains, when he turned from the world, its joys and hopes, its religion and righteousness, to Jesus Christ--"his exceeding Joy."
Let us consider the soul's quest for the personal Christ; for the power of His Resurrection; for the fellowship of His sufferings; for the likeness of His risen glory.
The Soul's Quest for the Personal Christ. "That I may know Him." We cannot be put off by a doctrine about Christ, or by the Book which from end to end speaks of Christ, or with a hearsay or second-rate knowledge of Christ, we need to press through all these anterooms, passing from one to another, to stand in the personal presence of the Living Saviour. This is the prerogative of all holy souls; they are permitted not simply to know about Him, but to know Him, not only to read of His excellency and beauty in the Book that is fragrant with the myrrh, aloes, and cassia of His presence, but to have fellowship with the Apostles, who saw, heard, beheld, and handled the Word of Life.
This is the heart and essence of Christianity. Other religions are content with ornate rites, an elaborate priesthood, an intricate system of doctrine and regulations, but the Christian, taught by the Holy Spirit, refuses to rest in any of these, and in comparison with the Master counts them as so much refuse.
We may know Him personally, intimately, face to face. Christ does not live back in the centuries, nor amid the clouds of heaven: He is near us, with us, compassing our path and our lying down, and acquainted with all our ways. But we cannot know Him in this mortal life except through the illumination and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Let us ask Him to shed His clear beams on the face of Jesus, so that it shall haunt our day-dreams and our nights.
We must not Rest until we "Know Him." We should never rest until we know Him as we know our friend, and are able to read without speech the movements of His soul. We should know by a quick intuition what will please and what will hurt His pure and holy nature. We should know where to find Him; should be familiar with His modes of thought and methods of action; should understand and identify ourselves with His goings forth, as, day by day, He goes through the world healing and saving. What a difference there is between the knowledge which the man in the street has of some public character and that which is vouchsafed to the inner circle of his home; and we must surely know Christ, not as a stranger who turns in to visit for the night, or as the exalted King of men,--there must be the inner knowledge as of those whom He counts His own familiar friends, whom He trusts with His secrets, who eat with Him of His bread (Psalm 41:9).
To know Christ in the storm of battle; to know Him in the valley of shadow; to know Him when the solar light irradiates our faces, or when they are darkened with disappointment and sorrow; to know the sweetness of his dealing with bruised reeds and smoking flax; to know the tenderness of His sympathy and the strength of His right hand--all this involves many varieties of experience on our part, but each of them, like the facets of a diamond, will reflect the prismatic beauty of His glory from a new angle.
The Soul's Quest for the Power of His Resurrection. The Risen Christ is full of all authority and power. We remember the two mountains of His life--the one at the beginning, the other at the end. On the first, Satan offered Him the authority and glory of the world, if only He would perform one act of homage, and so evade the experiences of the Cross and grave. It was as though he said, "Son of God, if Thou wilt do homage to me. Thou needest not sweat the bloody sweat of Gethsemane, or undergo the scourging of Gabbatha, or the shame of Calvary." But the Lord would not heed the suggestion, but descended the rugged valley path, passed by way of the Cross to the glory; and was therefore able on the other mountain--that of the Ascension--to say "All power (authority) is given to Me in heaven and upon earth."
Addressing the beloved apostle, some years after, Jesus said, "I am the First and the Last, and the Living One," there was His Life in its perennial and Divine fountain,--"I became dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore," there was His Life in its victory over death,--"and have the keys of death and the unseen world," there is Life regnant over all the unseen spaces and powers. As the waters of a river, passing through various soils, take up into themselves the quality of each, so the life of Christ in its human aspect, passing through the successive scenes of His earthly ministry, acquired qualities with which it stands possessed for ever. Listen to His glorious words--"Be of good cheer, I have overcome … " "To him that overcometh will I give to sit with Me in My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father in His throne."
Power from the Risen Lord. What power emanates from the Risen Christ! He is the Divine storage of eternal and solar forces. "In Him all fulness dwells." An electric battery just charged, is not fuller of dynamic energy than Christ is of aeonial and resurrection power; and directly the soul is united to Him by a living faith, it is as when we touch a battery with our hand, and its stored forces begin to thrill our body. This is what the Apostle meant when he spoke about the "power of His Resurrection." He meant that to the believing soul, the power of the life which resides in Christ pours into the receptive spirit, forthwith it rises from the grave of passion in which it had been imprisoned, escapes from the bondage of corruption by which it was held, and goes forth into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Just as the Christ could not be holden by the bands of death, so the soul which trusts Him is emancipated, enthused, raised into an altogether new atmosphere, breathes the ozone of eternity, is thrilled by the powers of the unseen, and meets all appeals from the lower world with an abundance of life, which is impervious to disease, infirmity, and temptation. Just as a really healthy life may pass through the microbes of disease, which would effect the overthrow of less vigorous and buoyant health, so the soul which is infilled with the Resurrection power of Christ, is more than a conqueror in the midst of the most virulent temptation, whether arising from its own heredity or the combined power of the pit.
The Quest of the Soul for the Fellowship of Christ's Sufferings. Notice the Apostle's order. He does not put the fellowship of Christ's sufferings as the first thing which the soul must seek; he does not expect that we should go about the world making death and the grave our main goal and object. His doctrine is healthier far. He says, Seek to know the Risen Lord, open your hearts to Him that the power of His resurrection life may enter and infill, and in the fulness of your joy you will not stay to count the cost of having fellowship with His sufferings. The experience of suffering will, so to speak, be forgotten in the radiancy of your exultation. As the pain of the woman in travail is forgotten amid the joy of bearing a child into the world, so will the keenest suffering seem but a pin-prick compared with the eternal weight of glory.
Often Christian people go through the world with a lugubrious expression on the face, much as some ancient ascetic would have done, as though looking for their graves. It is far better to tread the pathways of life, seeking to know the power of the Risen Life, for when that is within, it counts all things but loss, and even death a gain.
Conditions of the Risen Life. It is inevitable that if we are to know much of Christ's Resurrection, and in proportion as we know it, we shall drink of the cup of His sufferings. Every step further into the Risen Life will involve some deeper and more poignant pang of pain. Men will misunderstand us, as they misunderstood Him, men will drop away from us and leave us alone, as they left Him, we shall be compelled to stand in the pillory of hatred and rejection. To be received by Christ into His secret, will necessarily secure our exclusion from the familiar intercourse of the world; to stand with Him in the height, will have its counterpart in our being thrust down into the depth; to have fellowship under the open heaven of God, with the voice of the Father, and the descending Dove, will certainly involve the being driven into the wilderness to meet the full brunt of temptation. But the soul that really loves Christ will not shrink from the ordeal, it will, be glad to enter into His sufferings, because it realises that to know these is to know Him, and that the very distance into which the meteor is driven in the darkness, is in proportion to the close proximity and length of its fellowship with the sun that attracts it into its inner circle.
Baxter said in this connection:
"A cheap religion is not usually accompanied with any notable degree of comfort. Although the person be a sincere-hearted Christian, he cannot have much peace or joy. A confirmed Christian is one that taketh self-denial for one half of his religion."
How true this is! and it is absolutely certain that you may judge your heights by your depths, and gauge the amount of Resurrection Power which is within you by the depths of your sympathy with, and understanding of, the Cross of Christ. You may doubt indeed if you have been admitted into the fulness of the one, unless you have gone down into the depths of the other.
The Soul's Quest after the Attainment of the Resurrection Life. The Risen Life involves the recognition of all human interests, the loving reciprocity of friendship and comradeship, the fulfilment of all the duties that devolve upon us, though performing them all from another standpoint. The Risen Lord called Mary by the familiar name, sat in the social circle with the beloved band of His apostles, went forth to minister to their physical needs,--as on the morning when He prepared fish and bread for them,--stood up from His throne in vivid sympathy with the martyr who was being stoned to his death, and came to encourage the disciple who wrought in the mines of Patmos. But there was a difference in it all. He came from another sphere to succour them. So it will be with us; the Resurrection life does not mean that we are indifferent to any human tie or call, but that we have laid hold of a new source of power by which it may be fulfilled. Or life is no longer fitful, with the spasmodic energy of our own impulse, but fed from the perennial fountains of Christ's life. Because He lives we live also; His life constrains us; His Spirit fills us; we are already in the heavenlies even as He was (John 3:13).
We utilise the forces of a higher plane of being than that which other men can utilise. Discoverers, from Archimedes to Edison, may use the physical forces of the unseen. Christian science may employ its psychical forces, but we touch those spiritual forces which are resident in the Holy Spirit, and with which the nature of the Risen Lord is replete. Just as there is a distinction between the civilised man and the savage, because the former is able to use those mighty energies of which the untutored child of nature knows nothing, so there is a great difference between the man who has entered into the power of Christ's Resurrection and other men. As electricity is a higher form of power than that of water or gas, so the Christian who lives in union with the Risen Christ is able to exert a higher form of power than others. He knows the secrets of God, and obeys the laws of a life which is far removed from that which he used to live. Through death to his self-life, he has commenced to use the power of the Eternal Word, "Who was, and is, and is to come." (F. B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians - A Devotional Commentary)