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
Many personal salvation testimonies go something like this: “I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ; I decided to open my life to Him; I came to Jesus; I gave Him my heart; I received Him; I repented of my sins; I decided to follow Jesus.” Note the continual use of the perpendicular pronoun “I” as if it all depended upon me. When we get to heaven, we will find out how little we actually had to do with our salvation and how true our verse today is–“He who has begun a good work in you.” Salvation is, from start to finish, from first to last, the work of God Himself in us. He sought us. He found us. He began the good work in us. He keeps us. And one day He will present us faultless before His Father’s throne. After all, it was the shepherd himself who went after the one lost sheep until he found it, and then he carried it on his shoulders safely back to the fold, rejoicing all the while (Luke 15:1– 7).
The Origin Of Our Salvation
“He who has begun a good work in you”
Who began the good work in you? The Lord. You reply, “I thought I did. I thought I repented. I thought I came to Christ. I thought I took the initiative.” No, God did. Just as in the early chapters of Genesis, He took the skins of an innocent, sacrificial animal to cover the sin of Adam and Eve. God is still the initiator in covering our sins today. Fig leaves will not do. Solomon was on target when he said, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
In our natural condition we are unresponsive to the gospel: the Bible refers to us as “dead” in our sins (Romans 6:11). We are also unperceptive; the gospel is “veiled” to us, and the god of this world has “blinded” the minds of those who do not believe (2 Corinthians 4:3–4). Without Christ, we are also unteachable: not only can we not receive the things of God, but we also consider them foolish and cannot know them because they are only spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). Finally, we are unrighteous: we were actually shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5). Yes, we all, like sheep, have gone away of our own accord (Isaiah 53:6).
Since being unresponsive, unperceptive, unteachable, and unrighteous is the condition in our natural state, something outside of us must intervene to enable us to become responsive to the gospel, perceptive of the things of God, teachable, and righteous before Him. Now, since we are indeed raised out of spiritual death (that is, born again) and since we are unable to perform this work on ourselves, then we must conclude it is God Himself who initiates our salvation. This is exactly what our text–“He who has begun a good work in you”–implies. God is sovereign. This simply means that He does what He pleases and He is always pleased with what He does.
The origin of our salvation lies not within us but with God Himself. He takes the initiative. He convicts us of sin. He convinces us of our righteousness in Him. He calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light. He redeems us for His own. Yes, He begins the good work in us.
The Outcome of Salvation
“[He] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”
What is the outcome of this marvelous salvation provided us in Christ? It means we are secure. We are secure in the now life and in the next life as well.
We are secure in the now life. Christ, who began the good work, will finish it. He will not let us go. Since we are not saved by performing good works, we are not kept by performing good works. Paul said, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6). If faith is good enough to save us, it is good enough to live by, to walk in. If Christ can give us new life, He can keep us in that new life. If man takes the initiative in salvation, he must retain the responsibility for the final outcome. If God takes the initiative in salvation, then it is God who retains the responsibility for the final outcome. And, as Paul said, “He will complete it.”
I remember when our first child began to learn to walk. She would reach up her chubby little fingers, grab my index finger, and hang on with all her might. She would take a step or two, let go, and fall to the ground. It didn’t take me long to learn an important lesson about my role: I began to reach down and grab hold of her hand myself. Then, when she stumbled, I would be there to hold her up and keep her from falling. In the same way, our salvation is not a matter of our holding on until the bitter end. God reaches down and grabs hold of us with His strong hand. When we stumble, He is there to hold on to us and to keep us from falling. We are secure in the now life.
We are also secure in the next life. The Lord will keep and complete us “until the day of Jesus Christ.” The day of Christ suggests that grand and glorious day when He will come again to receive us as His own. On that day the church–the body of Christ–becomes the bride of Christ. Jesus said, “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day” (John 6:39). Yes, we can be confident of this fact: He will keep us “until the day of Jesus Christ.” We are living now in the great “until.” Until . . . the day of Jesus Christ. Until then, we can trust Him and know we are secure in the now life and in the next life that is to come. As you memorize this verse, meditate on the fact that your salvation is, from first to last, all the doing of Him who loves you and gave Himself for you. Since He is the origin of it all, you can trust Him with the outcome of it all. As songwriter Fanny Crosby once said, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”
Today’s devotional is drawn from The Joshua Code by O.S. Hawkins. The complete book contains 42 additional Bible verse reflections not found in this email devotional.
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