Partakers in the Grace of God

Philippians 1:3-6 ESV

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Paul wrote this to a specific group of people. He described their relationship with Jesus Christ and their enthusiasm for the Lord and their participation in the gospel of Jesus Christ from the day that they first believed in Jesus up until the time that Paul wrote this. So, this assurance does not apply to everyone who makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, for this is not everyone’s experience who makes claims to believing in Jesus Christ.

So, Paul was thankful for their partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And a partnership involves a joint venture (endeavor), an alliance, and a cooperation. This means that we have a part that we must do, not in trying to earn our own salvation, but as those who are cooperating with God’s work of salvation in our lives in doing what he commands us to do. We must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, by his grace.

The New Testament books are filled with instructions for us who believe in Jesus Christ regarding what we are to not do and regarding what we are to do, i.e. what we are to put off from our lives and what we are to put on in practice in our lives. For, although it is true that we are not saved by our own fleshly works, it is also true that we are saved to do the works that God prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Eph 2:8-10; Tit 2:11-14).

Also, if we do not do what the Scriptures teach us that we must do as followers of Jesus Christ and we end up doing what they tell us we must not do, then the Scriptures make it quite clear that we don’t really know God, and that we don’t have salvation from sin and eternal life with God unless we repent (turn away from our sins) and follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his will for our lives and persevere in that until the very end (Col 1:21-23).

So, when Paul said to these specific people, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ,” it was because of their walks of faith that he had such confidence in their continuance in Christ by God’s grace at work in their hearts and lives. This is not a promise that everyone who professes faith in Jesus can claim, for not everyone who professes faith in Jesus continues in him to the end.

But yes, it is Jesus Christ who does the work of salvation in our hearts and lives and who brings it to completion, but we have to partner with him. We have to cooperate with his work of grace in our lives via leaving our sins behind and via following Jesus Christ in obedience, in his power and strength. For, if we continue to walk in sin, and not in obedience, then we will not inherit eternal life with God no matter what we profess with our lips.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

Philippians 1:7-8 ESV

“It is right for me to feel this way about you all because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.”

What is the grace of God? It is God’s favor to us. It is not something that we deserve, and it is not something that we can earn. It is his gift to us, but it is one that we must put into practice in our daily lives, by his grace. For his grace doesn’t just deliver us from the punishment of sin or just promise us heaven when we die, but his grace delivers us from our slavery to sin so we will now be slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).

Also, God’s grace which brings salvation trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14).

So, if we are partakers in the grace of God, we are not those who merely make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and then assume that it is a done deal and so now we can keep living in sin, only now guilt free. What an insult to God and to his grace!! To partake in God’s grace it means we cooperate with God in that work of grace in freeing us from our slavery to sin so that we can now be bondservants of Christ and of his righteousness.

Now, being partakers of God’s grace should also include the defense and the confirmation of the gospel, in how we live our lives for the glory of God, and in how we encourage those who are taking the gospel to the ends of the earth – especially those who are being persecuted for their faith and for the preaching of the gospel – and in our own participation in sharing the gospel of Christ with the world around us, which we are all supposed to do.

[1 Pet 2:9; Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18]

Philippians 1:9-11 ESV

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

This “love” is agape love which centers in moral preference, which prefers what God prefers, which chooses his choices, and which obeys them in his power and strength. And what God prefers is what is holy, righteous, morally pure, upright, godly, honest, faithful, repentant, obedient, and submissive to him and to his will for our lives.

So, if we abound in this love, we overflow with this love. We are rich in this agape love which prefers what God prefers and which obeys the Lord. So, we are walking in close fellowship with our Lord, we are walking in obedience to his commands, we are following him wherever he leads us, and we are living godly, holy, and righteous lives by his grace and in his power. And we should do so more and more in the strength of the Lord.

If we are doing this, by God’s grace, and in his power and strength, via our cooperation with God and his work of grace in our hearts and lives, and if we continue in this with knowledge and all discernment, by God’s grace, then we will be regarded in God’s sight as pure and blameless for the day of Christ when Jesus comes back to take his own to be with him for eternity.

And in this way we will also be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. And the fruit (outgrowth, product) of righteousness (what is right in the eyes of God) will be shown in our walks of obedience, in our love for God and for our fellow humans, in our faithfulness in service to our Lord, and in our walks of purity.

For this is what God requires that we walk humbly before him in obedience to his commands and that we love God and that we love our fellow humans. And this love is not human love, which is based in our feelings, but this love comes from God so it prefers what God prefers. So this love is going to move us not only to obey our Lord but to share his truths with other humans so that they can come to know him in his fulness, too, to the glory of God.

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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