Saturday, 3 December 2016
…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1:6
Paul continues with his long thought which began in verse 3. Taken together, the verses read –
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”
The words of verse 6 begin with “being confident.” This is connected to “for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.” That sentiment was speaking of the endurance of the Philippians – “from the first day until now.” He now builds upon that with words of marvelous reassurance. They are words which he is fully confident to proclaim, and they are words which should give us the greatest sense of calm, especially when we blow it and do something really stupid.
They should also be taken to heart by unsound teachers who state that we can, in fact, lose our salvation. Such a notion 1) flies in the face of Paul’s words now; 2) call into question the integrity of God which Paul will relay in his words ahead; and 3) is not supported by any other sentiment in Scripture which is taken in proper context.
He says that he is “confident of this very thing…” In other words, what he is about to proclaim is something that he is completely assured of. There are no doubts as to the truth of the statement, and as they are now recorded as a part of Scripture, God is also fully confident in what Paul wrote. He accepted the words as written because He inspired the words to be written. The word he uses means to be completely and firmly convinced. It is a perfect participle active – I am fully persuaded, I am perfectly persuaded, and I will remain so persuaded.
And the object of this persuasion is “the He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” It is God who began a good work in each of us. He offered grace and we received it (Ephesians 2:8, 9). In the reception of His grace, we were saved (Romans 10:9, 10). In the salvation which came upon belief in the work of Christ, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise which is our guarantee of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13, 14).
It is this process, this “good work,” which began by God’s gracious offer that He “will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” The Greek verb for “will complete it” is in the future indicative active. It is coming; it is a simple statement of fact, not conjecture; and it is a continuous hope that we possess.
As Charles Ellicott notes of these words, “He would complete what He had begun. In his view, God’s grace is the beginning and the end; man’s co-operation lies in the intermediate process linking both together.” We cooperate only so far as the interim process is concerned, but from the beginning it was God’s grace, and this grace is spoken of into the future, even unto “the day of Jesus Christ.” This means the final day when we shall stand before Him fully healed, fully known, and fully perfected. Nothing can change this, and it is completely sure.
God began the process, He has a purpose and a final intent for the process, He will not abandon the process, He has promised the completion of the process, and He has sealed this promise in us by the giving of His Spirit. If we are not eternally saved, then we might as well toss out the Bible and go live it up. If it is up to us, we will fall and we will be condemned. But it is not up to us. Thank God that it is not up to us.
Life application: Have you received Jesus as your Savior? You are saved.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the grace found in Jesus Christ; having saved us from our sins through His shed blood. And thank you for the eternal guarantee which comes from that salvation. We are saved, once and for all. Thank You that it is not up to us to complete this journey. What could we do to add to what Christ has done? If it were up to us, we would fail and we would stand condemned. But the words “It is finished” tell that it is not up to us. Thank You, O God, for the finished work of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.