Congregational Remembrancer., Weekly Pulpit., J. Parker, D. D
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:
I. A GRACIOUS OPERATION.
1. It is good. Why? Because —
(1) God the best of beings is the author of it. He is the author of the wisdom that designed it; the influence which begins, continues, and completes it; the holiness which is its pattern; the love which it displays; the means whereby it is performed.
(2) Its effects are good.
(a) In respect of the soul that is the subject of it, which passes from death unto life, from sin to holiness, etc.
(b) In respect to families. When this good work is begun in the hearts of parents religion with all its pleasantness and peace dwells in the house, and God commands His blessing.
(c) Upon ministers, who thereby are made not ashamed of the gospel.
(d) Upon the Church, whose increase and prosperity is the edification and comfort of individual believers.
(e) To the world. Every convert exercises, like salt, a purifying and preserving influence.
(f) On heaven itself (Luke 15:10).
(3) Its end and completion are good. The soul is born for glory.
2. It is a work.
(1) It is primarily and chiefly the operation of the Holy Spirit. He removes all obstacles from the heart, and gives the truth free course over the inner man.
(2) It is begun and carried on by means of the Word, which is the power of God unto salvation.
(3) All the faculties of the soul which is the subject of it are brought into lively and diligent exercise: serious thought, anxious inquiry, restless desire, fervent prayer, repentance, faith, love.
II. ITS IMPORTANT SITUATION — "in you." Not only in the head but in the heart.
1. It is evident that it is an inward work from the many figures which denote it — temple; inner man; good seed.
2. How does it exist then?
(1) As light in the mind.
(2) As love shed abroad in the heart.
(3) As peace in the conscience.Conclusion:
1. This inward religion will be evidenced by corresponding fruits without.
2. You in whom this good work is be thankful, for "by the grace of God you are what you are." Be anxious, watchful, prayerful, too, that it may go on.
3. You in whom it is begun, but fear that it is not, compare what your feelings and desires are with what they were.
4. You who think it is within you, but whose life proves that it is not, fear and tremble.
5. You who show no desire for it — if there is not a good work in you, there is an evil work there, evil in its origin, effects, end. Contemplate your danger.
I. A WONDERFUL FACT. "He who began the work."
1. The work is Divine. No part of God's work bears so distinctly the signs of divinity (James 1:18). Human agency is the channel.
2. The work is gracious. Wisdom is here and power, but goodness is a special feature. God's compassion in the gospel is a power to make us good. To make men wise, rich, happy, healthy, is a great work — but to make them good is better (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
3. The work is progressive. The stages of spiritual life are like those of physical life advancing towards manhood.
II. A GLORIOUS CERTAINTY.
1. The resources of God are inexhaustible (Isaiah 46:9-10).
2. The faithfulness of God is unfailing (Hosea 2:20).
3. Perfection is God's end in everything.
(Weekly Pulpit.)Whether this good work relates entirely to the special act of beneficence which had called forth this Epistle may be fairly disputed. Taken upon this narrow ground the apostle's joy would be but the refinement of selfishness. Rather he lays down a great principle respecting the Divine method of working, viz., to begin is to finish, and that principle, wide enough to encompass the universe, will also comprehend every detail of Christian service.
I. GOD WORKS BY A PLAN — to prepare manhood for the final day — a period of time, or a perfection of development; the "day" of death, of judgment, or of the completeness of Christian manhood.
II. GOD IS NOT FICKLE IN THE PROSECUTION OF HIS PURPOSES. He begins not that He may conduct an experiment, but that He may perform a design.
III. GOD HAS SO REVEALED HIMSELF in the education of the individual and the training of society AS TO JUSTIFY "THE MOST EMPHATIC EXPRESSION OF "CONFIDENCE" ON THE PART OF HIS CHURCH. The past fortells the future. When the world was young it needed Elijahs, Ezekiels, and Daniels; but the richer the world becomes in history the louder and sweeter will be its tone of confidence. God cannot publish any amended edition of Himself. You may therefore make the past the source of the widest inferences.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
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: