Finishing the Work (23-05-22)
Bible Reading: Philippians 1:3-6
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.
Anyone who has watched Mastermind will be familiar with the phrase ‘I’ve started, so I’ll finish’. As time runs out while the questioner is part way through a question he unhurriedly completes it and allows the contestant to answer.
Something similar happens when children are told that it’s bedtime: ‘Oh Dad, can I just…’ More often than not there is an element of grace, or maybe forethought, which allows to task to be completed.
I think St Paul had something like this on his mind when he wrote from his prison cell to the Christians in the church he established in Philippi who were so close to his heart. He says to them, ‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion’.
When we put our faith in Jesus, God forgives our sin, promises us eternal life and comes into our heart through his Holy Spirit. That is called Salvation. We now have new life in Christ, though we still carry around with us many of the attitudes and characteristics of our former life. Part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to smooth away our rough edges and wrong attitudes and to help us become more like Jesus. That is called Sanctification. It takes a lifetime, but the Good news is that what God has started he will finish.
As I read through Paul’s words to the Philippians I notice the tenderness with which he addresses them, the love and the care that he has for them and his gratitude for the way they partner with him in sharing the gospel.
I think Paul’s heart for the Philippians mirrors God's heart for them, and also therefore God's heart for all of his children, including you and me.
There are times when we might feel we are getting nowhere in our lives and in our Christian journey, but the truth is that, if we are followers of Jesus, partnering with him in the gospel, God's Holy Spirit is at work in us to make us more like Jesus and, ‘He who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’.
As Charles Wesley wrote in hi great hymn ‘Love divine’, ‘Finish then thy new creation, pure and spotless let us be, let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee!
What God has started he will finish.
Father God, thank you that I have salvation through faith in Jesus.
Give me the grace and the patience to partner with you
as your Holy Spirit is at work to make me more like him. Amen
Love divine all loves excelling