Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
This phrase describes the first essential condition of the Christian life.
I. CHRISTIANS HAVE A GOOD WORK GOING ON WITHIN THEM.
1. Christianity is first of all internal. What is in us is the matter of chief importance.
2. A work is going on in the heart of the Christian, creating, developing, training, pruning, purging, building up.
3. This work is good. It is good for the soul to be brought from death to life, and for others that sympathy may be shown them and active good done as was the case with the Philippians in their relations to St. Paul.
II. THE WORK IS AS YET ONLY IN THE BEGINNING. A perfect Christian is the result of years of training. The new birth produces a babe in Christ. Much spiritual nourishment and education are required to develop the full-grown man.
III. THE WORK IS BEGUN BY GOD.
1. It begins in a new creation. God only can create. So great a change as is required in turning from a life of selfish sin to a life self-sacrificing holiness can only be effected by a Divine influence. That influence is put forth so that the greatest sinner may become the greatest saint.
2. Though the work is conditioned by our faith, still that is "not of ourselves, it is the gift of God."
IV. THE FACT THAT GOD HAS BEGUN THE GOOD WORK IS A GROUND FOR THINKING THAT HE WILL COMPLETE IT.
1. The character of God implies this. He is not fickle that he should change, nor weak that he should fail.
2. The nature of the work implies this. The first step is the hardest. Every stage in the Christian progress is a prophecy of future stages. The force of habit which was before set against the good work becomes increasingly engaged in supporting it.
V. THE OBJECT OF COMPLETING THE GOOD WORK IS THAT IT MAY BE READY FOR the DAY OF CHRIST.
1. That day is a day of trial. In the first age it came with the destruction of Jerusalem and consequent troubles. We need to be strengthened in the time of calm that we may stand firm in the storm.
2. Glorious victory follows the trouble of the day of Christ. Christians should be ready to share in that triumph.
VI. THE GOOD WORK WILL ONLY BE BEGUN, CONTINUED, AND ENDED IN GOD WHEN WE CO-OPERATE. That is not stated here. But it is stated elsewhere (e.g. Philippians 2:12). St. Paul is "persuaded" of success with the work in the Philippians partly on account of what he knows of their disposition and behavior. We must exercise faith and obedience in the strength of God and for the reception of God's work in us. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: