I am certain of this

There are not many sure things in this world.  

Invest your money and you could gain or lose. Your favourite sports team may win or not. Local weather says it is going to be sunny this weekend? Better bring an umbrella just in case. Most of life is defined by uncertainty.

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Therefore, it may come as a surprise that Paul says he knows a few facts that are unchanging: “I am certain of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). 

Note the word “He” at the start of the verse. Paul is certain that God is at work within that church and those Christians. Occasionally, I hear someone say, “God will not do anything for us. It is up to us to study, learn and be obedient.”  

While I agree that God will not force anything on us, I completely disagree with the notion that he is doing nothing. Never, in the recorded history of God and his people, are we told that God ever left his people on their own, so why would he start now?  

Even more strange, the same people who say God does nothing, are quite eager to urge against the influence of Satan in the lives of God’s people. If we believe Satan is at work in and around us, we better be certain that God is too (Hebrews 13:20-21).

I also like the words “began” and “completion,” because they remind us that spiritual growth is a process. Faith is less like a one-time inoculation and more like on-going dialysis. 

Lastly, I like that God’s work is defined by the work “good.” Ultimately, that good work is a reference to our eternal salvation. However, do not discount the idea that God is working goodness into our lives right now. Even our trials can be to our benefit (see Romans 5:1-5).

In a world of uncertainty, Paul is certain that God is at work, constantly shaping his people into something good. I am not sure what you are up against right now, but I hope that you find that certainty too.

After all, being sure of what we hope for and confident about what we do not yet see is the very definition of faith (Hebrews 11:1).

 

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