Sunday, March 29, 2015



that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death….  (Philippians 3:10)

It is possible to know about someone and not know them personally.  When a Jew spoke of “knowing” someone it suggested the deepest intimacy.  So as Paul spoke of his passion to know Christ, he wasn’t talking about knowing Him theologically—as important as that is—but, he meant knowing Him experientially.  This knowledge is in three tenses.

The past dimension is THE SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST (Phil.3:4-9).  Paul had experienced this indispensable and initial knowledge.  This is where a personal relationship with Jesus begins.  Before his conversion, Paul knew about Jesus—and rejected Him.  When he met Him on the Damascus Road, he came to know Him as Savior and Lord.  He spoke into the blinding light in replying to the voice, “Who are You, Lord?”  The answer, “I am Jesus.”  Paul would never be the same.  There was repentance (v.4-8) as Paul changed his mind about Jesus—and this brought a change of earthly direction and eternal destination.  Repentance brought righteousness (v.9)—not the self-righteousness of a Pharisee, but the saving righteousness that comes by faith.

The present dimension is THE SANCTIFYING KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST (Phil.3:10).  Beyond the initial knowledge there was an increasing knowledge that comes with spiritual growth.  The more we know of Him, the more we become like Christ.  This was Paul’s heartbeat.  We can know the power of His resurrection—the power that conquered death, hell, and the grave—flowing through us overcoming sin and energizing service.  We can know the partnership of His sufferings.  While we can’t share in the sufferings of the atonement, we can share in suffering for His cause—suffering for righteousness’ sake.  We can know the pattern of His death.  We take up His cross and follow Him.

The promised dimension is THE SUPREME KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST (Phil.3:11).  No matter how well we come to know Christ in this life, we will always be limited by the flesh.  Paul admitted in 1 Cor.13, “we know in part…but then face to face.”  John tells us, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!”  (1 John 3:2b).  A surface reading of Phil3:11 might lead you to think the Apostle is expressing some doubt about the resurrection, but rather it is an exclamation of desire—his way of saying that nothing was more important than the resurrection to life.  We will spend eternity somewhere—make sure you are heaven bound!  Blind Fanny Crosby put it best,

When my lifework is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.

I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in His hand.

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