Summary: We gain great assurance as believers knowing that God will finish His good work of grace which He initiated in us.
The Good Work God Started in You as a Believer
Many people start projects and never finish them. There are many reasons projects are not finished: poor planning, lack of money, lack of management and organization, not enough help or lack of interest. Some people may be like me. I can get too many projects going at one time. This makes it difficult to finish any project I start.
My wife finally got me to start a landscaping project this spring. She knows my habit of having too many projects going at once. She has been after me like an Egyptian taskmaster to get this project finished. She has not let up. I have built a retaining wall and laid edging. I have planted nest spruce, blue star junipers, azaleas, Japanese maples, hostas, holly, evergreens, and other plants with names I can’t even pronounce. Then I had to scatter mulch around all of these plants. Thank God I only have a few hours of work left and this project will be finished. Unfortunately, she has already mentioned at least two more projects for the outside and then she said we could start on the inside of the house.
It is easy for human beings to become discouraged and not finish a project or mission. I think of John Mark who did not finish his missionary assignment with Paul in the book of Acts. It took Paul a while before he would place his trust in John Mark again. I can remember the Phipps Bend Nuclear Plant project started in the 70’s by the T.V.A. After spending millions of dollars on this project it was decided to stop the project for various controversial reasons.
Let us be sure of this truth, God, unlike men, always finishes what He starts. He never has to give up on any project or plan of His. Paul teaches here in Philippians that what God starts He carries on to completion. Nothing can stop Him; He always finishes and He finishes right on time.
Think about the plan to send Christ into the world to save sinners. He accomplished that right on schedule. Paul writes to the Galatians and states that God sent His Son in the fullness of time, meaning Christ came at the precise time God had determined before the foundation of the world. We can be sure as believers that the good work of grace and salvation God started in us He will finish.
Notice with me first of all that:
I. God is the initiator of the good work of grace in us.
A. He (God) hath begun a good work in us (v. 6).
• Why must God initiate the work of grace in us? The answer is found in the fact that after the fall of Adam the entire human race lost spiritual life. We not only experience total depravity, but we all experience spiritual death. Paul writes to the church at Ephesus and explains that God had to quicken us in Christ because we, naturally, were dead in sin (Eph 2: 1).
• Christ teaches us that it is God who must draw us to Christ by His Spirit. The reason is that men are powerless to save themselves. By nature men are selfish and contrary to God.
• Jesus said in John 6: 44 that “No man can come to me except my Father draw him.” The root of the word “draw” means “to take for oneself”. This is related also to the term ecclesia from which we get our word church and it refers to “the called out ones”.
• I remember what Jesus taught Peter when he made his confession and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said that flesh and blood did not reveal this truth to Peter, but our father in heaven did. A part of the drawing of God is the revealing of who His Son is and what He came to do in redeeming sinners. Hen God is in the arrangements, people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and place their faith in Him.
• God is truly the initiator of salvation in the lives of all who come to faith in His Son.
II. It is God who carries on or performs the good work of grace in the hearts of believers to completion.
A. God does not save us and then leave us on our own. He is not as the Deist believes. He is involved in our lives daily. He is always there working in our lives as the master sculptor. He is continually chipping away, with His hammer and chisel of love and grace, removing the pieces of our lives that do not resemble His Son, and exposing only those parts that have been shaped to the character of His dear Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.