Begun and Completed
Phil.1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” The context of this verse is Paul’s thanksgiving. Paul thanked God for the Philippians. Paul thanked God for their fellowship with him in the work of the gospel. Paul’s third point of thanksgiving is found in vs.6. Let us examine this verse.
Paul opened with the verb, “I am confident (convinced; persuaded).” This verb is also found in Rom.8:38 & 2Tim.1:12. The verb speaks of a confidence begun in the past and actively, continuously and permanently present. If you are struggling with doubt, your doubt does not negate the truths you ought to be confident about as taught in this verse.
“He” refers to God. When God is the subject of “began”, the verb speaks of a solemn, decisive, deliberate act. Both the impulsive and imperfect are ruled out. In other words, what God began to do in you was done with Divine deliberateness. The verse says God began a “good work” in the Philippians and in you. What is this “good work”? This good work is, first and foremost, the new creation work of salvation in Christ. (cf. 2Cor.5:17). Note carefully that salvation in Christ is called a “good” work. It is a good work because it is God’s work in Christ. It is a good work because of the spiritual and moral good it accomplishes in you in the present. It is a good work because of the future hope of eternal glory it gives you.
God’s promise is that this good work He began in you He “will perfect it.”
The verb “perfect” tells us that God will carry on this good work unto completion and finally and perfectly complete it. You have the firm assurance here that God will never leave in an incomplete state this good work of salvation He began in you. The completion of this good work God began in you will take place in “the day of Christ Jesus”, that is, in the day of Christ’s return. On that day you will be glorified with Christ.
We must note here the sovereignty of God in this good work of salvation He began in you. You did not begin this good work in yourself. God began this good work in you in eternity when He chose you in Christ and predestined you to adoption as sons. (Eph.1:4-5). In time, you were dead (spiritually) in your trespasses and sins. (Eph.2:1). You were dead to the things of God. But you were alive to and actively involved in sin. (vss.2-3). But then God intervened and made you alive (spiritually) (vss.4-5) so that you can respond to the things of God. God gave to you the gift of repentance so you could repent of your sins. (Acts 11:18). God gave you the gift of faith to believe in Jesus for salvation. (Eph.2:8; Phil.1:29). The promise in Phil.1:6 is that what God began, He will perfectly complete.
Phil.1:6 comes to the believer as a grand word of encouragement. The beginning, continuance and completion of your salvation are not left in your hands. They are in God’s hands. Job 42:2 says, “no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” Isa.46:10 says, “My purpose will be established; And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” Psa.138:8 says, “The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.” What a God of grace and love we serve! He has not left us to ourselves. If He did, we would ruin everything in our lives including our salvation. No wonder Paul gave thanks to God.