READ PHILIPPIANS ONE
We’ve laid a foundation of what it means that Paul and the Philippian believers are “partners in the Gospel,” and today we’re moving on to verse six where Paul outlines what he believes to be a “sure thing.”
What is Paul confident will happen?
Paul offers his friends a great assurance: the One who started the good work of salvation in them will bring it to completion in the day of Christ. Paul is indicating to the Philippian believers that the Gospel work that has started in their hearts will be finalized in the day of Christ.
Let’s break down this phrase so that we understand what it means more fully. Using your understanding of biblical theology, what do you think each of these phrases mean individually?
He who began:
A good work (see above):
Day of Jesus Christ:
The One who began a good work in the Philippian believers is God. Paul is confident that God is at work in the believers hearts and lives. And, he believes that God started “a good work” in them; the work Paul is referencing is the saving work of Christ. Paul is confident that God has called them to Himself, brought them to saving faith, and is blossoming faith in their lives in an ongoing way. And this saving work isn’t something God is going to leave undone, but something He will bring to completion. There will be a day, Paul indicates to the Philippian Christians, when their salvation won’t be “in process” but will be fulfilled. They will experience the union with God in heaven that they experience mysteriously now. When will this happen? When Christ returns. When Christ comes again, the believers can have confidence that God will see this work through.
This is a great comfort for the Philippian Christians – and for you and me! Paul is reminding the believers that they did not bring themselves to salvation and that they will not bring themselves finally Home in heaven – God called them to Himself, and it is God who will one day restore them to Himself finally and fully. For you and I, this is a tremendous relief! As we move through our days with doubts, fears, sins, and struggles, we can often loose heart when we think about how far we have to go in this process of “working out our salvation” – but we did not make ourselves right with God in the first place! Since God undertook the massive task of making us right with Himself, He will also, Paul teaches us, undertake the task of bringing us Home.
PRAY & REFLECT
Spend time thanking God for His gift of salvation. Thank Him for calling you to Himself. Ask Him to refresh your joy in His salvation.