‘’Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
People talk about having favorite Bible verses. I have to confess that Philippians 1:6 is one of my favorites. The truth that God has revealed here is something every Christian needs to understand. If you are a true Christian today it is because God began and is continuing a mighty work in your life. That work is absolutely guaranteed to turn out successfully, because it is God’s work not man’s. If you have been born again by the Spirit of God, then you don’t need to be afraid that you will ever be lost. God who called you will be faithful to complete the work he began in you.
In this verse Paul tells us four things about the good work that has begun in the life of a Christian:
First of all, Paul speaks of…
I. THE AUTHOR OF THE WORK
"Being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Who is the "he" of this verse? Of course it is God himself. Paul does not refer to the good work he had done in Philippe. Paul was the missionary who was sent by God to preach the Gospel in Philippe. Paul did a great work there. He established the church and built it up. But when he writes this letter he does not refer at all to the work he had done. It was God’s work -- through him. In Acts 14:27 when Paul and Barnabas returned from their first missionary journey they gathered the church together in Antioch, not to give an account of what they had done but what God had done: "On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles." It wasn’t Paul; it was God who began that good work in them! Salvation is a work of God.
It is not surprising that Paul should emphasize that salvation is all of God and not of man. Paul never forgot what he had been before God reached down and saved him. Turn to 1 Timothy 1:12-14: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." He says, I was a blasphemer! I was a persecutor! I was violent! He was a blasphemer because he adamantly spoke against Jesus and denied he was the Messiah. He was a persecutor…a ravenous enemy of the faith. He arrested and imprisoned men and women and tried to make them renounce their faith. Third, he was a violent man. The word Paul uses here (hubris) means "a man of insolent and brutal violence." He
delighted in inflicting pain on other people. But then as he was on his way to Damascus to persecute more Christians, the Lord suddenly appeared to him. Acts 9:3: "As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ’Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’" It wasn’t Paul’s plan to become a Christian. It was God who initiated the work in him. He says in 1 Timothy 1:15-16 "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life."
Not only did God initiate the work in Paul. Paul remembered how God also initiated the work in the Christians at Philippi. In Acts 16 verses 6 and 7 we are told that Paul did not intend to go to Philippi. He wanted to go somewhere else. He wanted to preach somewhere in Asia. That seemed to him the right thing to do. But it says "the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to." Then Paul had a vision during the night. God gave him this vision. A man of Macedonia appeared to him and said, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." As a result of that vision Paul crossed the sea and landed in Europe.
When Paul arrived at Philippi, the capital of Macedonia, he spoke to some women gathered by the side of the river for prayer. As Paul preached, it says the Lord opened the heart of Lydia to respond to Paul’s message. It doesn’t say Lydia was impressed with Christianity and decided to try it. No, the Lord who brought Paul to preach opened her heart and the hearts of her whole family and they all became believers.
Then the demon possessed girl was delivered by the power of God. Her life was transformed. This made some people so angry that Paul and Silas got thrown into jail. In the middle of the night there was an earthquake; and the jailer got saved and his whole family too! Paul didn’t produce any of this. It was a work of God in Philippi. As Paul says in Ephesians 2:10, "We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…" (Ephesians 2:4). "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Yes, I do love the Lord Jesus Christ with a fervent love. I have a hunger to know His Word. My heart longs to please him, and it grieves me to think of disobeying His commands. My delight is to live for Him. Whatever he brings into my life I know he is using it to conform me to the image of Christ
If this describes you then there is evidence that God has begun a good work in you! I pray that each one reading this, this morning can join the Evangelist Ivan in saying, "I am confident of this, that God who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."