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:
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: even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. These words bring under our notice personal Christianity.
I. In this the greatest apostle HAD THE STRONGEST CONFIDENCE. "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it." The apostle seems to have had confidence:
1. In its character. It is "a good work." Genuine religion is in every sense a good thing.
(1) Good in its essence - supreme love to the supremely good.
(2) Good in its influence. In its influence on self, elevating the soul to the image and the friendship of God. Good in its influence on society, ameliorating the woes of the race by enlightening the ignorant, healing the afflicted, enfranchising the enthralled. Whatever of goodness is found in Christendom unknown in heathen lands to-day must be ascribed to this "good work."
2. In its internality. "In you." Some would read, "amongst you," supposing the reference to be to the influence of Christianity on Philippi and its neighborhood; but there is no authority for this. It is "in you." Christianity is a good thing outside of us, yet unless it enters into our natures, permeates, inspires, dominates, etc., he it is of no service - no more service than the noontide sun is to the man whose eyes are scaled in darkness.
3. In its divinity. "He which hath begun a good work." He, undoubtedly the all-loving Father. Every good in the universe begins with the good One. The first good thoughts, sympathy, volitions, aims, principles of action in the human soul, originate with him, from whence comes every "good and perfect gift." Personal Christianity in a man is a Divine thing; it is the eternal Logos made flesh.
4. In its perpetuity. "Will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." "The day of Jesus Christ." "So also in Philippians 1:10; Philippians 2:16; and in 1 Corinthians 1:18, 'the day of our Lord Jesus Christ;' in all other Epistles, 'the day of our Lord' (as in 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2), or still more commonly both in Gospel and Epistles, 'that day.' As is usual in the Epistles, the day of the Lord is spoken of as if it were near at hand. St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 declines to pronounce that it is near, yet does not say that it is far away, and only teaches that there is much to be done even in the development of and-Christian power before it does come. It is, of course, clear that, in respect of the confidence here expressed, it makes no difference whether it be near or far away. The reality of the judgment as final and complete is the one point important, the times and seasons matter not to us" (Dr. Barry). Whatever period is here pointed to, it must not be supposed as conveying the idea that this "good work" terminates at that period, "until the day." It does not say that then it will become extinct. The idea it suggests rather to me is that, having existed up to that period under most inauspicious circumstances, struggling with awful difficulties, after that, when all that is unfavourable is removed, it will go on for ever. The doctrine of final perseverance, as it has been called, has engaged immense discussion, often foolish, sometimes acrimonious, seldom useful. It should not be looked upon as a doctrine, but rather regarded as a duty, and as a law of spiritual life.
II. With this the greatest apostle FELT THE INTENSEST SYMPATHY. "Even as it is meet [right] for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace;" or rather as in the margin, "partakers with me of grace." His sympathy with them is shown by the fact that:
1. They occupied his thoughts. "Even as it is meet;" diakion, that is just, or right, to have this prayerful confidence. According to a law of mind, we must always think of those with whom we have the deepest sympathy. The chief object of love is ever the chief subject of thought.
2. They filled his heart. "I have you in my heart." And the reason he assigns is because of their hearty identification with him in his ministry. "Inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace." What a blessed thing it is for a man to have himself in the heart of a true-hearted, truly generous one!
3. They inspired his Christliness. "For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ." The word "bowels" should be translated ."heart" - "I long after you all in the heart of Christ Jesus" (Dr. Samuel Davidson). In another place the apostle says, "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Perhaps what the apostle means here is - All that I have in me of the ideas, spirit, and aim of Christ are excited to a yearning for your good when! think of you. It is a characteristic of a genuine disciple that he is under the inspiration and control of the same great moral passion as his Master; viz. disinterested, self-sacrificing, all-conquering love. "All real spiritual love is but a portion of Christ's love which yearns for all to be united to him" (Dean Alford). - D.T.
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: