That I may know him
The Ethiopic version reads "by faith"; and to the same sense the Syriac. The apostle did know Christ, and that years ago; he knew whom he had believed; he knew him for himself; he knew his personal interest in him; nor did he know any but him in the business of salvation: but his knowledge of Christ, though it was very great, it was, imperfect; he knew but in part, and therefore desired to know more of Christ, of the mystery and glories of his person, of the unsearchable riches of his grace, of his great salvation, and the benefits of it, of his love, which passes perfect knowledge, and to have a renewed and enlarged experience of communion with him. The apostle here explains what he means by winning Christ, for the sake of which he suffered the loss of all things, and counted them but dung; it was, that he might attain to a greater knowledge of the person and grace of Christ:
and the power of his resurrection;
not that power which was put forth by his Father, and by himself, in raising him from the dead; but the virtue which arises from it, and the influence it has on many things; as on the resurrection of the saints: it is the procuring cause of it, they shall rise by virtue of union to a risen Jesus; it is the firstfruits, which is the earnest and pledge of their resurrection, as sure as Christ is risen, so sure shall they rise; it is the exemplar and pattern of theirs, their bodies will be raised and fashioned like to the glorious body of Christ; and this the apostle desired to know, experience, and attain unto. Christ's resurrection has an influence also on the justification of his people; when Christ died he had the sins of them all upon him, and he died for them, and discharged as their public head and representative, and they in him: hence it is said of him, that "he was raised again for our justification", ( Romans 4:25 ) . Now, though the apostle was acquainted with this virtue and influence of Christ's resurrection, he desired to know more of it, for the encouragement of his faith to live upon Christ, as the Lord his righteousness. Moreover, the regeneration of men is owing to the resurrection of Christ; as to the abundant mercy of God, as the moving cause, so to the resurrection of Christ, as the means or virtual cause; and therefore are said to be "begotten again by the resurrection of Christ from the dead", ( 1 Peter 1:3 ) . This power and virtue the apostle had had an experience of, yet he wanted to feel more of it, in exciting the graces of the spirit to a lively exercise, in raising his affections, and setting them on things above, and in engaging him to seek after them, and set light by things on earth, and in causing him to walk in newness of life, in likeness or imitation of Christ's resurrection, to all which that strongly animates and encourages; see ( Colossians 3:1 Colossians 3:2 ) ( Romans 6:4 Romans 6:5 ) .
And the fellowship of his sufferings;
either his personal sufferings, and so signifies a sharing in, and a participation of the benefits arising from them; such as reconciliation for sin, peace with God, pardon, righteousness, nearness to God or the sufferings of his members for him, and with him, and which Christ reckons his own: these the apostle was willing to take his part in, and lot of, knowing, that those that are partakers of his sufferings in this sense, shall reign with him, and be glorified together. What the Jews deprecated, the apostle was desirous of; namely, sharing in the sorrows and sufferings of the Messiah, and which they reckon the greatest happiness to be delivered from.
``The disciples of R. Eleazar F25 asked him, what a man should do that he may be delivered (xyvm lv wlbxm) , "from the sorrows of the Messiah?" he must study in the law, and in beneficence.''And elsewhere they say F26,
``he that keeps the three meals on the sabbath day shall be delivered from three punishments, (xyvm lv wlbxm) , "from the sorrows of the Messiah", and from the damnation of hell, and from the war of Gog and Magog.''But our apostle rejoiced in his sufferings for Christ, and was desirous of filling up the afflictions of Christ in his flesh, for his body's sake, the church:
being made conformable unto his death;
either in a spiritual sense dying daily unto sin, ( 1 Corinthians 15:31 ) , having the affections, with the lusts, crucified, ( Galatians 5:24 ) , and the deeds of the body mortified, ( Romans 8:13 ) , and so planted in the likeness of his death, ( Romans 6:5 ) ; or rather in a corporeal sense, bearing always in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, ( 2 Corinthians 4:10 ) , and being continually exposed to death for his sake, and ready to suffer it whenever called to it.
F25 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.
F26 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 118. 1. See Cetubot, fol. 111. 1.