Wednesday, December 26, 2012

God Finishes What He Starts

“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

God assures us that he will complete the work he begins in us.  Unlike us God always finishes what he starts.  We have the bad habit of beginning a project but not seeing it through to completion.  How many of us have a list of partially-read books, household chores, school projects, and work assignments?  And how many of us will never finish the work we once started?  God never does that.  He always finishes the work he begins.  He never grows weary or fainthearted like we do.  His inspiration and motivation never dissipate.  He is perpetually committed.  The real reason that this is good news for us is that it gives us assurance of the security of our salvation.  We can be sure that God will carry the work of salvation to completion in us.  Believer, has he begun a good work in you?  Then he shall finish it!  You can be sure of it!  God’s elect cannot fail to persevere in the faith and obtain final salvation any more than God can fail.  Salvation is his work from start to finish.  This is why Paul says that he can be sure of the security and preservation of the Philippians.  He can be sure because their salvation is not in their own power.  If it were in their power, there would be no assurance or security.  Man may begin well but rarely finishes what he begins.  Yet God is fully committed and completely able to complete what he begins.  Salvation begins in the experience of the Christian when God effectively calls him to himself and grants him new life.  This is his work.  Our effectual calling and regeneration (new birth) are not the result of our cooperation with God’s grace.  They are completely the result of God’s love and mercy.  He has made us alive together with Christ.  Effectual calling and regeneration are just the beginning of our salvation.  We also know about justification, adoption, and sanctification.  These, too, are the result of God’s saving grace.  They are God’s way of continuing the work he began in us.  Shall God declare our sins to be forgiven now and not at the last day?  Shall God adopt us as his children now and then reject us as illegitimate at the judgment seat of Christ?  Shall God cause holiness to flourish in our hearts and lives only to frown upon it in the life to come?  By no means!  If God has begun a work in you, believer, then you can rest assured that he will complete it.  He always finishes what he starts.  But when will God complete the work he began in us?  The text tells us that it will be complete “at the day of Jesus Christ.”  God’s saving work in us will not be complete until Jesus returns for us.  We call this “glorification.”  It is the day on which we shall be perfected into the likeness of Jesus.  We shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.  We shall be sinless and glorious.  Perfection is not attainable in this life.  We all sin in word, thought, and deed on a daily basis.  We will never achieve entire sanctification in our earthly pilgrimage, but our sanctification will reach completion at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a sure thing.  We can be assured that we shall be like Jesus.  It is written in the decree of our omnipotent God.  Yes, it is hard to believe that we shall ever be the glorious beings that God designed us to be, but we are told that we shall be like him.  Now this could never be if it depended on our will or work.  It depends entirely on God alone.  The only reason we can be sure that we will be kept for final salvation is because we are kept by God’s power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.  Do you ever struggle with assurance?  Do you ever feel like your faith will not last?  Do you ever worry that you will not make it to heaven after all?  Then look away from yourself to this divine promise:  God will finish the work he began in you.  The security of our salvation rests entirely in the hands of the God who finishes what he starts.  Blessed assurance!  Jesus is mine!    

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