There is a good work that is going on in you and God is the One who is doing it.
Today’s Text: “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.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV)
God is the One who began the good work in you and God is the One who will complete it.
Of all the unbiblical clichés, here’s the worst: God helps those who help themselves. Not only does this famous saying appear nowhere in the Bible, it fuels a message quite contrary to the Gospel.
Personal piety, spiritual discipline and hard work are responses to the Gospel of grace not invitations to it.
Your capacity to work hard as a co-laborer with Christ arises from your identity as a co-heir with Christ. My grown children both have had strong work ethic as students. They study diligently and both have excelled academically. But we never pushed them. We never emphasized grades. Honestly, I don’t ever remember a moment when I had to exhort my kids to hit the books. In fact, sometimes it was the opposite, “Hey Bennett, why don’t you put the books down and let’s play some golf?!”
Both Bennett and Abby developed a work ethic as students because they had developed an identity as intelligent human beings entrusted with good minds with which to learn and bless the world. We didn’t spend time telling our kids that if they made good grades then we would know they were smart; we spent time telling our kids they were smart and, based on that identity, they made good grades.
When Paul says that God is going to finish the good work He began in you, the Apostle isn’t saying, “therefore, you should become lazy.” Instead, Paul is teaching the Philippians and us that what He is doing in us is so wonderful that we should become energized in every arena of life.
If God were to wait to help us until He saw us helping ourselves, we’d be forever lost and without hope. We don’t know how to help ourselves. But, when we call out to Him in our helplessness and are filled with His grace, God begins a good work in us that He will one day complete. Knowing yourself to be God’s work in progress causes your soul delight and motivates you to live boldly for Him. And that’s the Gospel!