“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death.”
This classic verse many Christians memorize or use as a life verse. It is interesting to look at this verse in its context. Paul was in the midst of giving his personal testimony. In this autobiography he was telling what he underwent as he brought all his religion to the cross and left it there. Paul was now a Christian for 25 years, sitting in a Roman prison.
Everything he once counted success he now viewed as loss. Now he had the righteousness of God. This righteousness was available, not attainable, to him by Jesus Christ. As we come to verse 10 we see why he made knowing Christ his life ambition. So in a few words we have the life ambition of a spiritual giant.
“That I may know him”
The word “that” introduces a purpose clause. This was Paul’s life purpose. The life ambition of Paul was to know Jesus Christ better. He had known Him for a quarter of a century. Yet he wanted to know Him better. He could aim no higher. In verse 8 Paul referred to knowing Christ as “the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” There is no end to knowing about the greatness of Christ.
It is interesting how many people feel that coming to Christ initially in salvation is all there is to know of Him. Initial salvation only introduces us to Him. It does not exhaust the wonder of His person. As we grow in grace, we understand Him better:
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Through the study of the Word of God, we will know Him better. The Bible is even called “the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:16). The Word of God is God’s thinking about Christ. We will become more intimate with Him as we grow in grace. Salvation is only the beginning, the commencement of knowing Him. His person is many splendored. It takes time to know Him.
The word “know” means to know by experience. It is not enough to know Jesus Christ academically. We must know Him personally by the experience of fellowship with Him. That experience comes primarily from the study of Scripture.
It is important to know more of Christ than simply in salvation.
We need to experience Christ daily. We need to know Him more intimately as our Lord. Since Christianity is essentially a relationship and not a religion, it is crucial to develop our relationship with the Lord. The more we center on the person of Christ, the more our spiritual life grows. If we lessen our relationship with Him, our spiritual life weakens. Are you daily studying the Word to know more of Christ? Is this your life ambition?