10 To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death
11 If perhaps I may attain to the out-resurrection from the dead
Revelation And Experience
Paul lived in a condition of not having his own righteousness but having the righteousness of God, in order to know (to experience) Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. To have the excellency of the knowledge of Christ in verse 8 is by revelation. But to know Him in verse 10 is by experience—to have the experiential knowledge of Him, to experience Him in the full knowledge of Him. Paul first received the revelation of Christ and then sought for the experience of Christ—to know and enjoy Him in an experiential way.
After we receive the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, we shall be willing to suffer the loss of all things and count them refuse in order to gain Christ and be found in Him. As a result, we shall know Christ experientially. Therefore, verse 9 comes out of verse 8, and verse 10 comes out of verse 9. If we do not have the excellency of the knowledge of Christ (v. 8), we shall not be found in Christ, for it is having the excellency of the knowledge of Christ which makes us willing to suffer the loss of all things and count them as refuse in order to gain Christ and be found in Him. Then, once we have gained Christ and are found in Him, we shall know Him; that is, we shall enjoy Him and experience Him.
To gain Christ is one thing, and to experience Him is another. We may illustrate this difference by the difference between buying groceries and eating food which has been purchased and prepared. Gaining Christ may be compared to buying groceries, and the experience of Christ may be compared to the eating of the food we have first purchased and cooked. However, before we buy any groceries, we must first have the excellency of the knowledge of groceries. Before we purchase anything, we are first attracted by the excellency of the knowledge of that thing. Thus, first we have the excellency of the knowledge of the groceries, then we gain them by buying them, and finally we enjoy the food by eating it. In like manner, Paul first received the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, then he paid the price to gain Christ and be found in Him, and finally he experienced Christ and enjoyed Him. Paul realized that to gain Christ and be found in Him always results in knowing Him, in enjoying and experiencing Him.
The Power Of Christ’s Resurrection
In 3:10 Paul speaks of the power of Christ’s resurrection. The power of Christ’s resurrection is His resurrection life that raised Him from among the dead (Eph. 1:19-20). Christ’s divine life includes the element of resurrection. Even before He was resurrected, He could say to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). The reality of Christ’s resurrection life is the Spirit. Resurrection is abstract and mysterious; no one can define it. But we can know the Spirit as the reality of resurrection. The Spirit of Christ is the reality of the resurrection of Christ. Thus, where the Spirit of Christ is, there is resurrection. Because this Spirit is now within us, the power of Christ’s resurrection is within us also.
We should not be affected or influenced by the Pentecostal concept that if we fast and pray for a period of time, we shall suddenly be endued with spiritual power. According to this concept, divine power suddenly falls upon those who seek it by prayer and fasting. This is not according to the true spiritual way revealed in the New Testament. According to this spiritual way, when we believe in the Lord Jesus, we are regenerated, and the Spirit is imparted to us and becomes in us the power of resurrection.
We may use a carnation seed to illustrate the way resurrection life is released. Although a carnation seed is very small, it contains the life power capable of producing a carnation plant. Since this life element is already in the seed, there is no need for power to be added to the seed from without. The only thing necessary is that the seed fall into the earth and die. Should the seed pass through death, its shell will be broken, and life will be released, not from on high, but from within the seed.
Living The Divine Life By The Human Life
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He lived a crucified life. Christ had two lives—the divine life and the human life. It was God’s desire that the man Jesus live the divine life by means of His human life. God did not want Him simply to live out the human life. Rather, it was God’s intention that the Lord Jesus live the divine life through the channel of the human life.
This kind of living can be illustrated by what happens when a branch from one tree is grafted into another tree. The branch that has been grafted into the tree does not live out its own life; instead, it lives the life of the tree into which it has been grafted. This means that the life of the tree flows out through the branch which has been grafted into it.
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He always put His human life to death so that the divine life within Him could be lived out. This is the pattern of Christ’s death. In the eyes of man, the Lord Jesus was crucified at the end of His ministry. But in the eyes of God, He was crucified throughout His life on earth. This is proved by the fact that He was baptized when He came forth to minister, as an indication that He had put Himself into death. The Lord’s baptism by John indicated that He was living His human life under the killing power of the cross. His was a life in which the human life was crucified, so that the divine life could be lived out. What a wonderful living the Lord Jesus had!
This wonderful living implies the pattern of Christ’s death. According to this pattern, Christ continually put to death His human life so that His divine life could flow out. This is the mold of the life of Christ and the death of Christ.
There can be no doubt that the human life of the Lord Jesus was excellent. But even such an excellent human life was put to death for the sake of the release of the divine life. Please pay attention to the fact that the Lord’s human life was not put to death because it was wrong in some way; it was put to death so that the divine life could be lived out. This was the reason the Lord’s human life had to be rejected, broken, and put to death. The principle should be the same with us today. As those who believe in Christ and who have been regenerated by the Spirit, we have both the human life and the divine life. No matter how good our human life may be, it must be put to death if the divine life is to be lived out.
However, most Christians think that only the negative elements of the human life need to be put to death. According to their understanding, a person would not need to put his human life to death if every aspect of it were good. This understanding is wrong. Every aspect of the human life, the good as well as the bad, must be put to death so that the divine life can be released. This means that even such elements of the human life as Chinese ethics and British diplomacy must be put to death. As long as something belongs to the human life, it must be put to death in order for the divine life to be lived out. Daily we need to live such a crucified life, a life in which the human life is always put to death so that there may be an opportunity for the divine life within us to be lived out. This is what it means to be conformed to Christ’s death.
Do not think that a believer is conformed to the death of Christ only at the time of martyrdom. No, being conformed to Christ’s death should be our experience day by day. As we speak with our husband or wife, with our parents, with our children, or with those around us at work or school, we must put our natural life to death and not live according to it. If we put to death our natural life, we shall have the consciousness that we have another life, the divine life, within us. Once our outward natural life is put to death, the inner divine life will be released. Then in our experience we shall be conformed to Christ’s death.
The Life Study of Philippians, Chapters 21 & 22, W. Lee