“…That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…”
This verse has two aspects to it. In the first half you see this incredible victory that was given to Christ when He resurrected. He defeated death once and for all, not just for Himself but for humanity. No longer is death and end but merely a beginning. Death in the law meant separation for eternity, but through Christ it is the beginning of perfect communion with God. God is just. This is so evident even in that Christ’s death is the only substitute for our sin. His perfection is just that: perfect. If perfection is the standard then the only thing that can be offered in our stead must be perfect. I feel like this makes no sense, so to sum it up… Perfection is the requirement. We can’t offer that, so Christ came to offer the only thing good enough: His perfection. I know I’ve said this a million times, but the power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us. We belong to that same God! Okay, second half of the verse doesn’t really have the same mood. But its still so important! When we suffer for the Lord, we are not left on our own to wallow in a self-righteous misery. He meets us in the wilderness with words of promise and comfort. Yes, suffering is inevitable. If we are passionately pursuing the Lord, we will experience it. But that doesn’t mean that we are being punished for that time we messed up. Suffering is how we are “conformed to His death.” When we know what it is to die with Him, we can know what it is to live with Him. Through death comes true life.