He Who Began a Good Work in You
He Who Began a Good Work in You
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
1.Paul had been confident (that is, he had full assurance) from the first, and he was still confident to that very day, of God’s continued work to transform the lives of the Philippian believers.
2.He refers to God; the good work refers to God’s salvation and continued perfecting of the believers. God’s goal for believers is that they be “conformed to the likeness of his Son, that [Jesus] might be the firstborn among many brothers”
3.Being confident of this. This assurance, built on the experience of the past, enables Paul and us to anticipate a reason for thankfulness.
4.God who began a good work of redemption in us will carry it on to completion throughout our lifetime and then finish it when we meet him face-to-face.
5.God’s work for us began when Christ died on the cross in our place. His work in us began when we first believed. Now the Holy Spirit lives in us, enabling us to be more like Christ every day.
6.God not only initiates our salvation, he guarantees its fulfillment. Ephesians 1:13–14 says “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
7.Paul was describing the process of Christian growth and maturity that began when we accepted Jesus and continues until the day of Christ Jesus (see also 1:10), that is, when Christ returns.
8.Nothing in this life or after death can stop God’s good work in us (Romans 8:28–39).
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:28-39)
9.Despite any persecution the church in Philippi or we might face, Paul was confident that God would continue his good work in them and us. Paul didn’t know when the “day of Christ Jesus” would arrive, but he lived as though it could come at any moment.
10.Variations of the phrase “day of Jesus Christ” occur only five times in the New Testament; three of those times are in Philippians (see 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:16). The phrase emphasizes the future day when Christ will return for his church, complete believers’ salvation, and give believers their rewards. The phrase “day of the Lord” (Amos 5:18–20; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:2) has more of an emphasis on judgment.
“who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Co 1:8). “just as you did partially acknowledge us, that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you. (2 Co 1:14). “so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, (Phil 1:10). “holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Phil 2:16).
Do you sometimes feel as though you aren’t making progress in your spiritual life? When God starts a project, he completes it! As with the Philippians, God will help you grow in grace until he has completed his work in your life. When you are discouraged, remember that God won’t give up on you. He promises to finish the work he has begun. When you feel incomplete, unfinished, or distressed by your shortcomings, remember and be confident in God’s promise and provision. Don’t let your present condition rob you of the joy of knowing Christ or keep you from growing closer to him.
WHO’S IN CHARGE?
If your God is second fiddle to some higher power, then your God is too small. The God of the Bible is “sovereign,” an old word used to describe a king—and nobody has more power than a king. God’s sovereign action is the Christian’s belief that all of life, the good and the ugly, happens under the eyes and loving will of the universal ruler. Nothing happens that God does not know about. And while God does not approve of the evil people do, God controls even that and will judge it one day, as befits a righteous king. Be confident today that your life is fully in the hands of the sovereign God, who doesn’t miss anything and who loves you with the same boundlessness with which he rules all of creation.