Knowing Christ: Suffering With Him

I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead.
-Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)

Knowing Jesus Christ means knowing his resurrection power.  It means knowing him in the power of his resurrection.

What is it like to live in his resurrection power?  That is what Paul wanted and was striving for.    Knowing him in his resurrection power is the normal Christian life.

I want to know the Messiah —what his resurrection power is like and what it means to share in his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, though I hope to experience the resurrection from the dead.
-Philippians 3:10-11 (ISV)

We are invited or given permission to know him.  Not to just know about him.

Life in Christ is earthy suffering: pain, heartache, rejection, misunderstanding, and conflict around you.  All that is infused with his resurrection power.

How is suffering worked out?  Through death and resurrection.  You die and his life in you lives, and you get to share that life with him, walking it out - living it.  It is not a theory or a thesis, but an experience in life.  We are saved by and live with and in a living person.

My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
-Philippians 3:10-11 (NET)

Paul seems not completely certain when he says, "somehow to attain" (NET), or "I hope to experience" (ISV), or "so, somehow to attain" (NIV).

The literal translation of this part of 3:11 is, according to Hawthorne, "if somehow I might attain", which is close to the NIV.  Hawthorne (1) wrote that: 
...it would appear that Paul uses such an unexpected hypothetical construction simply because of humility on his part, a humility that recognizes salvation is a gift of God from start to finish and that as a consequence he dare not presume on this divine mercy (Caird).  A translation such as Goodspeed's translation, "in the hope of attaining" adequetly and accurately expresses Paul's feeling of awe and wonder as he wrote the phrase εἴ πως καταντήσω (cf. Acts 27:12; Rom. 1:10, 11:14 for similar expressions of expectation: Blass, Debrunner, and Funk, A Greek Grammar of the NT; p. 375).
The, "somehow" and "I hope", express humble expectation in God's grace and goodness.  It does not express doubt, but expresses faith.  Our faith feels certain, but we do not attain certainty in ourselves, but it comes through a person who we humbly relate to.

The person, the man or woman in Christ is in touch with and experiencing Christ in his resurrection power.  He or she also shares his sufferings.  Jesus Christ fellowships with you in his sufferings in your life.  The power is awesome and heady, while the suffering is humiliating at times; but woven into it is sweet fellowship with our savior.

If you live in the power, but avoid the suffering, you miss the fellowship and you are in danger of not cultivating humility in your life and you are heading down the road to the place where Jesus says to you, I never knew you".  That is a place none of us want to get to.

The pain you feel, as you die to self, is matched by Jesus.  He is there with you.  Your dying is transformed into his living through his power and you are made to be like him.

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1. Gerald F. Hawthorne, "Philippians" (Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 43), 1983; p. 146


 

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