“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, . . .” (Phil. 3:10).
In making a comparison between the love and power of God in the salvation events, F. F. Bruce says, “If the love of God is supremely demonstrated in the death of Christ [‘but God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ [Rom. 5:8], his power is supremely demonstrated in the resurrection of Christ, and those who are united by faith with the risen Christ have this power imparted to them.” It is this power, says Bruce, that “enables the believer to ignore the dictates or enticements of sin and to lead a life of holiness which pleases God.”4
New Testament interpreter Marvin Vincent concurs with this interpretation: “The resurrection is viewed, not only as something which Paul hopes to experience after death, nor as a historical experience of Christ, which is a subject of grateful and inspiring remembrance, but as a present, continuously active force in his Christian development.”5
When Paul says he wants to know Christ in the “power of his resurrection,” he does not have in mind eternal life as it pertains to new life in Christ—the life every regenerated Christian experiences in the new birth (this quality of resurrection life Paul spoke of in Romans 6:4-11). He has in view that spiritual dynamic that strengthens the follower of Christ to accomplish God’s purposes in and through him. Paul desires to experience this power in a larger measure. It is the power to conquer, for the one who himself has been conquered by Calvary’s love.
Speaking pastorally on this subject, the late long-time pastor of Westminster Chapel, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, asks rhetorically, “But what about the man or woman who comes to me and says, ‘Here am I in my weakness, conscious of sin within me, temptation always around and about me, the whole world organised on the side of sin and Satan and evil. It is difficult enough to keep straight and moral at all in a world like this, and you are asking me to live the kind of life that Jesus of Nazareth lived on this earth—it is impossible.’” Lloyd-Jones says the answer to this question lies in the truth contained within this text: “The answer to such a person is, ‘the power of His resurrection.’ He is risen, he has given a manifestation of His power, and that power is being offered to us. That is the power that can become ours, however weak we are; it can lift us and raise us up in newness of life, and enable us to walk with him.”6
More than a text for my mind to cite,
More than a creed that is right,
More than a prayer to recite—
I long to know you, O Christ!
4. F. F. Bruce, Philippians, New International Biblical Commentary, Vol. 11 (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989), 115.
5. Marvin R. Vincent, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon, The International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh, Scotland: T. & T. Clark, 1955), 104
6. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Life of Joy and Peace: An Exposition of Philippians (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1990), 308.
Taken from . . .
A Passion for Christ
by Ralph I. Tilley
copyright © 2013 Ralph I. Tilley
(May be copied for noncommercial purposes,
not to exceed 500 copies.)