All For the Glory 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.”

Partnership in the Gospel

What does it mean to be in partnership with the gospel? Well, the Greek word is koinonia, which also means fellowship, contributory help, participation, and sharing in. So, when we believe the gospel message, we are not making a mere acknowledgment of its truth as applied to our lives, but we have a part in it that we are to do. We have a contributory part that we are to be involved in. We must participate in it in doing our part.

We must cooperate with God in his work of grace in our lives, in other words. We must align ourselves with his purpose and will in his death on that cross to deliver us from our slavery to sin. We must not continue living in sin, for Jesus died to deliver us from our slavery to sin so we might now be slaves of God and of his righteousness and so that we might walk (in conduct, in practice) in newness of life in him, created to be like him.

So, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. We are not to let sin reign anymore in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. We are not to continue in sin now that we are under grace, for we are obedient slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness and to sanctification and to eternal life with God (see Romans 6:1-23; cf. Romans 8:1-14).

We are not to live like the ungodly who are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. For they have become callous, and they have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way that we should have learned Christ, assuming that we were actually taught the truth that is in Christ Jesus.

For the truth that is in Christ Jesus is that we are to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires. And we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and we are to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. So we put off lying and we tell the truth, and we put off stealing and we give to others, and we put off filthy language and we speak what is beneficial for all who will listen, etc. (see Ephesians 4:17-32).

And we walk in obedience to our Lord and to his commandments and we no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin. For if we are abiding in Christ we will not continue in deliberate and habitual sin. But we are to be those who make righteousness our practice, but not in our own strength and wisdom, but in the power, strength, and wisdom of God who saved us from our slavery to sin. For if sin and disobedience are what we practice we are not born of God (see 1 John 1:5-9; 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:4-10).

Also, Jesus said that if we want to come after him we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. And he said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. And Paul taught that if we walk in sin and not in righteousness and not in obedience to our Lord that we will not inherit eternal life with God.

[Luke 9:23-26; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:16-24; Galatians 6:7-8; Ephesians 5:3-6; Colossians 3:5-17; Romans 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-14; 1 Corinthians 10:1-22]

He Who Began a Good Work

So, when we read this sentence about Jesus who began a good work in us being the one to bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ, this is not teaching that God/Jesus does it all and we do nothing, which is what many people are teaching today. Our faith in Jesus Christ, because it comes from God, and because it is not of our own doing, will align with God’s will and purpose for our lives, and it will cooperate with that will and purpose.

But the thing of it is, not one of us can do this in our own strength and willpower. Only by the grace of God are any of us even drawn to faith in Jesus Christ, and we can only come to faith in Jesus Christ if God the Father first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness and of our need to be delivered from our lives of slavery to sin so that we can now walk in his holiness and righteousness in his power and strength.

So, when we forsake our lives of sin and we walk in obedience to his commands, we are doing so in cooperation (in partnership) with our Lord in what he has done for us and provided for us, and in that which he equips and strengthens and empowers us to do. And we can only continue in him in his power and strength. So, yes, he is the one who brings our salvation to completion at the day of Jesus Christ, but only as we continue in him until the very end in steadfast walks of obedience to him and to his commands.

[Jn 8:31-32; Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; 2 Pet 1:1-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 2:24-25; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

So, yes, we can only be saved from our sins through Jesus Christ. He is the only one to turn us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so we might receive forgiveness of sins, i.e. he is the only one to deliver us from our slavery to sin and to make us into new creations in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

But all these changes that he works in our lives involve our cooperation, our partnership with him in what he wants to do in and through our lives. Like these devotions do not write themselves. I still have to engage my mind and my will and my fingers and my time and energies to sit at a computer and to write. But it is God who leads me in what to say and I have to listen to him.

So, yes! Give God all the glory and praise for everything he has done and that he is doing and that he will yet do in and through our lives for his glory and praise. Understand that this all comes from him and that we are totally dependent on him to live the Christian life. But then live the life you have been given for his glory and honor by doing what he says to do, not in your own strength, but in the strength and power of God through whom and for whom all these things come that are of him and that glorify him.

Thou Art Worthy
Revelation 4:11

Thou art worthy, Thou art worthy,
Thou art worthy, O Lord.
To receive glory, glory and honor,
Glory and honor and power.
For Thou hast created, hast all things created,
Thou hast created all things.
And for Thy pleasure they are created;
Thou art worthy, O Lord.

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