That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;
I. IN RELATION TO PAIN.
1. The pains of life are as various as bodies and souls. Our sensibilities are very various; one thing hurts one person and another another; what is agony to me my neighbour scarcely feels. This is true of the roughnesses of life, its calumnies, its disappointments; of those trials which come through the affections, and those which come through the ambitions of our nature. And those to whom sorrow does not come go in quest of it; they have self-made troubles as hard to endure as those God sends. Nay, there is this compensation, that real suffering drives out imaginary, and where the lot is that of want or anguish the distresses of mere sentiment are excluded. But no Christian escapes distress of some kind.
2. But in all this there is lacking as yet the essential feature of a fellowship in Christ's sufferings. For this faith is needful, and devotion, submission, the support of a heavenly arm, and the expectation of a heavenly home. St. Paul's life was Christ. All his desires, interests, objects, were swallowed up in the living to Christ's glory. It was in this sort of life that trouble met Him (2 Corinthians 6:5). What becomes of us when we drag ourselves into this comparison. But if we suffer no great things on Christ's behalf, let us see at least that common life is lived in remembrance of Him, life's pleasures subordinated to His will, life's anxieties, sorrows, sicknesses, endured patiently in His strength.
II. IN RELATION TO SIN. In the highest sense we cannot share Christ's sufferings, and, thank God, need not. He has done all. We can add nothing. But that conflict with sin, with its assaults, wiles, contradictions, and perversenesses, temptations which He waged, every one of His servants must have his share, and that conflict means suffering, as every man who has had to do battle with a besetting sin will bear witness. He carries its scars yet, and will carry them to his grave. As Christ, the Captain of our salvation, resisted unto blood, striving against sin, so must we, and in the midst of the conflict remember that He is with you (1 John 4:4; 2 Kings 6:15-17).
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;