That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;
I. FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST GENERALLY.
1. In the enjoyment of the Divine favour — "This is My beloved Son," "We are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." "Behold what manner of love," etc. What a word for
(1) Aliens and outcasts.
(2) Timorous disciples.
(3) Happy believers.
(4) Dying saints.
2. In the possession of the Spirit. To Him the Spirit was given without measure for the perfect fulfilment of all His offices; and because we are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.
(1) For conversion.
(4) As an earnest of heaven.
3. In His merits.
(1) The righteousness of Christ was perfect in its universality, motive, duration, spirituality.
(2) We may have fellowship in these merits, for Christ is "the Lord our righteousness."
4. In His resurrection.
5. In His glory.
II. FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST IN HIS SUFFERINGS. This is explained by the following clause.
1. What is there in the saints which should die? Sin. How does this principle of sin manifest itself? In —
(2) Hardness of heart.
(4) Alienation from God.
2. How does this principle die, so that we may be conformed to the death of Christ?
(1) Not by a natural death, but a violent one inflicted by an outside hand. It will never die of its own accord, or of disease. It must be mortified, crucified.
(2) Crucifixion was an ignominious death reserved for slaves and rebels, and does not sin merit such a death?
(3) A lingering death. And so sin does not die all at once. This should teach us patience, watchfulness, continued looking unto Jesus.
3. How may we know that we have His fellowship? By
(1) our hatred of sin;
(2) our fervent prayer against it;
(3) our desire for sanctification;
(4) our joyful anticipation of a sinless world.
Parallel VersesKJV: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;