KNOWING THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION
Verse 10 says, “To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” When Paul wrote the Epistle to the Philippians, he had the experiential knowledge of Christ and was experiencing the power of His resurrection. While in the Roman prison, he may have been bound in stocks under the threat of execution by being beheaded or thrown to wild beasts in the amphitheater. In that situation he needed to know the power of the resurrection of Christ. The power of Christ’s resurrection is His resurrection life which raised Him from among the dead (Eph. 1:19-20). It is the resurrected and resurrecting Christ. This power was in Paul as the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19). The reality of the power of Christ’s resurrection is the Spirit (Rom. 8:11), and the bountiful supply of the Spirit is the power of resurrection. The nature of Christ’s resurrection is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Without the Spirit of Jesus Christ, there is no resurrection.
Today the Spirit is in our human spirit. The way to experientially know the power of resurrection is to turn to our spirit and remain in our spirit. It may not be necessary to pray to remain in our spirit. We may simply praise, sing hallelujahs, and shout triumphantly. This is the way to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection.
In order to experience the power of resurrection, we are brought into suffering. Paul experienced the power of resurrection in a Roman prison. If we do not experience suffering, we cannot know this power. In this sense, the power of resurrection needs a “prison.” Marriage life is an example of this kind of imprisonment. In a good sense, our marriage does not usher us into a banquet but into a “prison.”
The cross of Christ may be compared to a cooking mold. When dough is pushed into shaped molds and cooked, the result is a bread or pastry in the shape of the mold. We are the “dough” that has been put into the “mold” of the cross by the power of resurrection. Our marriage life is a part of that mold. In one sense, marriage life is not an enjoying life; it is a suffering life. Paul said that those who marry will have affliction in the flesh (1 Cor. 7:28). However, marriage has been sovereignly ordained by the Lord. Unless one has received a special gift from the Lord (Matt. 19:10-12), he should not remain unmarried. Our children are also a part of the mold of the cross. I have seen many parents suffer because of their children.
To experientially know the power of Christ’s resurrection needs us to be put into the mold of suffering. In Philippians 3:10 Paul speaks of the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. The Lord Jesus calls us to follow Him in His sufferings, bearing the cross (Matt. 16:24). To bear the cross is to enjoy the fellowship of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus.
BEING CONFORMED TO HIS DEATH
Philippians 3:10 first speaks of knowing Christ as a wonderful person. We can never exhaust telling who He is. Second, it speaks of knowing the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. Then while we are experientially enjoying the fellowship of His sufferings, we are being conformed to His death. The death of Christ is a mold. We are living in this mold of death. Christ’s death should be the mold of our life. We will all eventually declare: “I am not only living; I am dying. I die to everything; I am a dying person. My living is in the mold of Christ’s death.”
We are not conformed to the death of Adam. The death of Adam is a terrible thing, but Christ’s death is sweet. While we are living, we die in the mold of His death. We are enjoying knowing Christ experientially; we are enjoying knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection; and we are enjoying knowing the fellowship of His sufferings. While we are in the enjoyment of this experiential knowledge, we are being conformed to the mold of His death.
(The Experience and Growth in Life, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)