Our Resurrection Life: "Learning to Know Christ"
"...the Apostle represents (his own resurrection) as in some sense dependent on his whole Christian striving and living as this revolved around the apprehension of Christ and the conformation to his death...From one point of view, of course, the resurrection belonged to the province of the Apostle's absolute certitudes, viz, as viewed from the standpoint of the divine purpose reflected in the believer's assurance of salvation. But, from another point of view, the resurrection could appear none the less as the ethically and religiously conditioned acme of his progress in grace and conformity to Christ. The best way to make this believable is to place side by side Paul's strong sense of accountability towards the judgment-day, and his absolute conviction about the all-comprehensiveness and certainty of the verdict of justification. The sanctification of the believer is to him in practical life the sine qua non of the divine approval in the last day. This may throw light upon the analogous representation of the resurrection as the goal of a process of ever-growing apprehension and reproduction of Christ. As no one can expect to stand in the last day who has not practiced holiness in the fear of God, so no one can hope to attain unto the resurrection of life who has not learned to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed unto his death. Such a mode of viewing the resurrection need not do away with the other mode of viewing it as a gift of free grace bestowed for the sake of the merit of Christ". -- Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology, pp. 256, 257