Completed Work (Philippians 1:6)
Context: Paul wrote this letter in 62 AD near the end of his first Roman imprisonment.
- So, he is writing this letter from prison.
- Paul may have known the people in the Philippian church were feeling discouraged with their spiritual growth.
- We often think of that word “work” as being our work. God will finish what we started.
- But the word “work” here refers to the work of God, not the work of man.
- This is why Paul can have the confidence that God will complete it, it is God’s work not the work of man.
- His confidence is in the work of God in our lives, not the work of our hands.
- Notice, the Phrase also says “In you.” The implication here is that this is an internal work.
- This was a word to individual believers in the church, not a corporate word to the whole church in Philippi.
- The NLT picks up on this being an internal work.
- Therefore, this work is undoubtedly the work of sanctification.
- This is an internal work of God.
- The work is the work of sanctification that Jesus began in us when we decided to follow him.
- To “sanctify” something is to set it apart for special use; to “sanctify” a person is to make them holy.
- Sanctification is the process of us becoming more and more like Jesus in Holiness.
- And being set part for the purposes of God.
- We can see the fruit of this process is alluded to later in verse 10.
- The Greek word translated here as Good, means intrinsically good, or good in nature.
- The implication here is that God is transforming us into the same kind of Goodness that describes God.
- He is forming His nature of Goodness into us. Further emphasizing that this is the work of God.
Continuing… will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
- Jesus continues to do this work of sanctification until the day of His return, so this is a process.
- We don’t become sanctified in a moment or even a few days.
- This internal work will go on in us until the day Jesus returns.
- The point of this verse is to encourage us, if it feels like it is taking a long time for us to take on the nature of Christ.
- Why does it take so long?
- God won’t run rough-shod over our personhood.
- He does the work of sanctification gently.
- Completed work “will carry it on to completion”
- The Greek word used here means that to carry it forward to completion; or perfect it.
- It is an intensive form of the word, meaning that it would be carried through to the end, without resistance.
- The Greek grammar has a real emphasis on the completed nature of this work.
- God WILL finish this sanctifying work he began in us.
- I think this is the most important lesson in this verse. The certainty that God will finish it!
- We can as Paul did, confidently declare, That God will finish the work of sanctification in us.
For our Day So how do we apply this verse to our day and our lives?
- I think this verse can be huge in spiritual warfare.
- We can turn this verse into a prayer, and add the word sanctification.
- “Lord I am confident that you will continue the work of sanctification you started in me.”