Philippians 1:3-6 NIV
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Read Scripture in Context
Always read Scriptures in context and compare Scripture with Scripture. Compare this to Eph 2:8-10 and Phil 2:12-13. This is NOT “We do nothing.”
Many people today are teaching that, because “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast,” that it means we do nothing.
But Eph 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
And Phil 2:12-13 says this, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
So, you see, our salvation comes from God, start to finish, but we are saved from slavery to sin, and we are saved to do good works, but they are works of the Spirit which can only be done in the power of God’s Spirit and never in our flesh, and only as we submit to God and obey his commands.
But there are two qualifying statements here. The first is, “because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” And the second is like it, for it says, “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on.”
Partnership in the Gospel
A partnership is an alliance and a cooperation. It means “contributory help,” “participation,” and “involvement,” etc. It means we have a part. We are doing something. We are actively involved. We don’t do nothing while our partner does it all.
And the gospel is not just the story of Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension to heaven, and his coming back for us one day. It is that he died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; Eph 4:17-24).
Jesus didn’t die that horrible death on a cross just to save us from hell and to promise us heaven when we die. He shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God so that we would not be God’s possession, and so that we would now honor God with our lives (1 Co 6:19-20).
And he died on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we would now become slaves (bondservants) of his righteousness, so that we would now walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
So, if we are partnering in the gospel, continuously, from beginning to end, we are dying with Christ daily to sin, we are putting on that armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, and we are walking in obedience to our Lord, submitting to his Lordship over our lives.
He Who Began a Good Work
This is assuming that it is Him who began the Good Work in us. Today, especially, we can’t assume that at all. The only way we can know if it was God who began the good work in us is if the fruit that we bear aligns with his word and the gospel he and his New Testament apostles taught.
For, the Scriptures make it quite clear that our salvation from sin means that we die with Christ to sin and that we live to Christ and to his righteousness. We walk (conduct our lives) now according to (in agreement with) the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
We submit to Christ as Lord, we surrender our lives to him, and we walk in obedience to his commands. We are not perfect people, but we don’t use that as an excuse to continue living in sin. For, if we continue living (walking) in sin (darkness), we don’t have eternal life with God, but we will end up in the fires of hell, instead.
So, if you are clinging to “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” but your “faith” in Jesus was of the flesh, and not of the Spirit, because you didn’t die with Christ to sin and you are not living to his righteousness, then you are holding on to a false hope.
For, if Jesus was the one who began the good work in you, it will be according to what his word teaches is his work of salvation in you. And it is NOT that you don’t have to repent, obey, or submit to him as Lord. And it is not that repentance, submission and obedience are “works-based salvation.”
It is that you DO have to obey him, submit to him as Lord, surrender your life to him, and leave your sinful practices behind you, and then walk in holiness and righteousness in his power and strength. And then you continue in that walk until the day that he returns for his bride.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:44; Jn 8:31-32, 51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Acts 26:18; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 1 Co 15:2; 2 Co 5:10, 15, 21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Heb 3:6, 14-15; Heb 10:26-31; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 2:24-25; 1 Jn 5:3]
An Original Work / April 15, 2012
Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.
Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
By His Spirit, from above.
Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.