That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;
I. TO HEAL CONSCIENCE. No system of thought that does not admit the fact of sin, or attempt to explain its meaning, or assist us in becoming delivered from its dominion, can hope to satisfy the needs of mankind. In all ages and countries the human heart has had two questions to ask about it, which nothing but the resurrection can completely answer. One is about pardon, and the other about righteousness. The one seeks peace with God, the other His image. And the resurrection is the power for both. It looks back and it points forward. It implies the Cross, and it presumes the Ascension. Why did He die? Not only as a Martyr, but as a Sin-bearer (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24). But if He had only died, while we should have admired the unparalleled sacrifice, we should have mourned its uselessness. But in the resurrection we see the sacrifice accepted, peace ensured, and eternal life given. Sin on the conscience is one stone rolled away, and sin in the will another. His grace helps us to die to sin, and live to God through union with Him who, as He bore our sins, and identified Himself with our misery, is also made righteousness unto us, whereby we through our regeneration grafted into Him, are before God righteous in His righteousness.
II. TO ENNOBLE DUTY. What is life? Is it but as the dipping of an insect's wing into the brimming flood of some tropical river — the quick submerging into a devouring sea of one after another of the myriad barks that are ever being launched on it, each with its solitary voyager — a journey between two nights. Then assuredly the saddest mystery about it is that it should ever have been given us at all. But in the light of the resurrection life is seen to be worth living, for the stone of a purposeless existence is rolled away (1 Corinthians 15:22); and with its new aims and responsibilities and functions and motives this life has a new meaning and force. There is —
1. Its stupendous responsibility, for some day we shall rise to receive the things done in our body — that is, their results, whether they be good or bad.
2. Its potential grace (Colossians 3:1).
3. Its majestic consecration (Romans 12:1).
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;