And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 1:6 ESV)
Paul had confidence that his fellow-believers in Philippi would continue to grow in their faith and character. But notice that Paul’s confidence was not in their ability to bring about these transformations themselves. Paul’s confidence was in God who is the author of change in our lives.
God not only sees what we are now but what we can become. He is willing to work ceaselessly in our lives to improve us if we will just let Him. We can be sure of that. God finishes what He starts.
However, this takes time. We must have patience. Growth doesn’t happen over night even under the most ideal conditions. We can often hinder our own growth by not walking as closely with God at times. Sometimes we stray. This will only delay our growth or perhaps even move us backward.
At the moment a person believes in Jesus and is saved he/she is immediately free from the penalty of sin. That person is guaranteed to not be eternally separated from God after they die (we call that hell). But we still live in the presence of sin and always will while here on this earth. But from the moment of salvation until the day we die or Christ returns (“the day of Jesus Christ”), whichever comes first, God continues to work in us to free us from the power of sin that exists in our lives.
This verse is very powerful. It praises God for His devotion to us as well as His power to change us. But Paul also meant it to be a great encouragement to the Philippians. How great is it to know that God is on our side? How great is it to know that once we belong to Him He will never leave us and will do only those things which build our character and make us more like Jesus?
One important thing to remember is that this promise is only available to those who belong to Jesus. Paul wrote this letter to people who already believed. He did not write it to atheists or those who believe in false gods. In order for God to work in someone’s life that person must be one of His adopted children. And that only happens through faith in Jesus Christ.
In Jeremiah 29:11 God declares “For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” God only has our good in mind. We can be confident of that.
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