Sunday, 07 February 1999 00:00

A Great Confidence in God's Work in Me

Philippians 1:6 (KJV)

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

This verse contains one of the greatest doctrinal statements in all of the New Testament. A proper comprehension of what Paul is saying will help every Christian overcome two fears:

  1. The fear that the church of Jesus Christ is being defeated in this world.
  2. The fear that my Christian life is in danger of ending in utter failure.

"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ."

  1. The Nature of this Work in Me... "He who began a good work in you"
    What does Paul mean by good work? Further, what kind of work is done within a person?
    1. This good work is a change of heart...
      "The imagination of man's heart is only evil continually" (Gen. 8:21). "The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). "There is none that seeketh after God" (Rom. 3:11).
      1. The will follows the desires of the heart... you choose what you desire.
        The reason no one seeks after God is because there is no desire within the heart to really know God. Lydia, the sorcerer servant girl, and the Philippian jailer had God change their hearts (Acts 16:14).
      2. The will cannot change the wicked heart... it is God that changes the heart, the will follows the heart.
        "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil" (Jeremiah 13:23). Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him" (John 6:65). God is in the business of changing the hearts of people (Jeremiah 31:31).
    2. This good work is a change of life...
      Joseph Alleine said "Conversion is a deep work—a heart work. It goes throughout the whole man, throughout the mind, throughout the members, throughout the entire life." Lydia grasped riches for herself, but after conversion she gave her riches to others. The sorcerer divined, but after conversion she learned of God. The jailer beat Paul, but after conversion he doctored his wounds.
  2. The Author of this Work in Me... "He who began a good work in you... "
    The apostle is not referring to himself as the one who has begun this good work, and he is not referring to the church at Philippi as if they themselves had begun this good work. Paul is referring to God as the Author.
    1. God is the author and finisher of your faith... "He who began... will carry it on to completion."
      It is the Lord who both saves and sanctifies. He is the one who births and matures your walk of faith.
    2. God will wrestles with His children, and always win... "He will carry it on to completion."
      God's goal is to "conform you to the image of His son" (Romans 8:29). When you look at the life of Christ you are looking at the life God is creating within you—the life of God in the soul of man.
    3. God will finish the work on the day of Jesus Christ... "to completion until the day of Jesus Christ."
      There will be "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Peter 3:13).
  3. The Blessing of this Work in Me... "Being confident of this very thing... "
    1. There is confidence... that God will finish the work that He has begun in my life.
      No need to despair, no need to give up, no need to remain in discouragement. God is at work within me. We need to realize that our hope is grounded in the work of God, not our performance or efforts.
    2. There is caution... in that if you are God's child and you choose to disobey God's will for your life:
      1. God will break you of your hard heart... and this breaking will not be pleasant.
        "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receives" (Heb. 12:6). "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous" (Heb. 12:11).
      2. God has not begun a work if there is no discipline when you stray...
        "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons" (Hebrews 12:8). Every Christian apart from the will of God for his life must remember this.
    May God use this verse to give us confidence during times of struggle and caution during times of sin.

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