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.”
What does it mean for us to be in partnership in the gospel? The word translated “partnership” is “koinonia” in Greek, and it is the same word as “fellowship.” And it means “contributory help, participation, sharing in.” So, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not something that we just verbalize as what we believe, but it is something we are engaged in fully as participants, not as bystanders and not as spectators, but as doers of the word.
And what is the gospel? Literally it means “God’s good news,” but not everyone agrees together on what all that “good news” entails. So, this is why it is critical that we read the New Testament (and the Old Testament, too) in context so that we know what it teaches with regard to the “good news” of God that he has for us. For many false doctrines and false gospels have stemmed from Scriptures taught outside their context and misused.
Now Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him, in practice. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Christ and his gospel we die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, then we have the hope of eternal life with God (see Luke 9:23-26).
And the Scriptures teach that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we might live for him and no longer for ourselves. For in his death he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we will now honor God with our lives. For by faith in Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him for the glory of God.
[1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24]
So, the gospel in a nutshell is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin, be delivered from our slavery to sin, and now walk by the Spirit in holiness and in righteousness in obedience to our Lord, steadfast in our faith until the end of our lives on this earth. This is what Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught consistently as the gospel which Paul referred to as “the whole counsel” of God. So the gospel is “the whole counsel of God.”
So, the gospel is not a “how to” on how to “get saved” so when you die you get to go to heaven and not to hell. The gospel entails the whole of what Jesus did for us on that cross and what our participation is to be in that process of sanctification we must go through during our time on this earth before he takes us home to be with him for eternity. And we should rejoice that we are able to partnership with our Lord in his gospel.
And when this says that he who began a good work in us will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ, this does not mean that Jesus does it all and that we do nothing. What it means, for one, is that our salvation is not of ourselves, of our own doing, but it is a gift to us by God. But this gift is not salvation just handed to us on a silver platter while we do nothing. The gift is deliverance from slavery to sin and empowerment to live for God.
Secondly, our salvation is progressive and it will not be complete until the day that Jesus returns for us, his bride, and he takes us home to be with him for eternity. It is a lot like a Jewish marriage which is a contract of marriage but the marriage is not consummated until the groom prepares a place for his bride and he comes to take her to now live with him. But we will not be with Christ for eternity if we do not have genuine salvation.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
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.”
God’s grace to us is not just a get-out-of-jail-free card. His grace, which is bringing us salvation, trains us to renounce (say “No!” to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon 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; Eph 2:10).
So if we are partakers of the grace of God it means that we are participating with him in his love, and God is love. And God is also righteous, holy, upright, honest, faithful, morally pure, kind, compassionate and tenderhearted towards us. So this means we are, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh and we are now walking according to the Spirit in walks of obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant).
For when we believe in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with him in death to sin so that we might no longer live as slaves to sin but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. So we should no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies to where we obey its lustful desires. Now we should live as though Jesus is our Lord and Master and as though our lives now belong to him and no longer to ourselves. Now we should obey his commands in practice.
For, if after we profess faith in Jesus Christ we continue living in sin and for self and not for our Lord and for his righteousness, in obedience to his commands, then we have no part in him. We are still dead in our sins without the hope of salvation from sin. And we will not inherit eternal life with God. And it doesn’t matter what we have professed with our lips or say we believed in our hearts. For no obedience = unbelief.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
All The Way My Savior Leads Me
Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875
All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.
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