The Basis for Confident Living

The Basis for Confident Living
Phil 1:3-6
“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.”

As customary with Paul, he begins his letter of instructions to the church by expressing his thanksgiving for the people.  No matter how difficult the church or the people were, he always started by expressing his prayer and gratitude for them.  Even when writing to the church at Corinth, a troubled congregation that questioned Paul’s authority and struggled with spiritual consistency, he still was thankful for them.  Paul could be thankful not because of their inherent quality but because they recognized God was at work in their midst.  This was true also of the church at Philippi.  It was a church that  Paul had established on his 2nd missionary journey.  Unlike the church at Corinth, the church at Philippi had remained healthy and grew in their newfound faith. Yet the reason Paul could express his gratitude for both the church at Corinth and the church at Philippi was not because of their works but because of Paul’s confidence that God was working in their midst.  
The gospel message is not static.  The Bible is not just a piece of literature.  It is a vibrant and powerful message that brings change to the reader.  The writer of Hebrews underlines the intrinsic power of scripture, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-ed sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  It does more than impart information; it brings a complete soul transformation.  This is why Paul had confidence in the spiritual growth of the people he served.
When we accept the gospel message, God begins to work in our lives and transform us so that we might be conformed to him.  As Paul prayed for the church, he was confident that God was working in them to bring transformation. When we accept the gospel, we embark on a lifelong journey of change grounded in the church's fellowship as we work together to advance the gospel.  In verse five, Paul expresses his joy that they partnered with him in the gospel.  The gospel is both the basis of their fellowship but also the goal of their fellowship.
It is because of the power of the gospel at work that Paul is confident of their spiritual growth.  Verse 6 is the foundation, reminding us that the Christian life is not something we perform to gain God’s approval; instead, it is a work God accomplishes in us.  The Christian life is a journey as well as a destination.  When we accept the gospel, God supernaturally begins to work in us to change us to conform us to his image.  But this is not work we do; it is work he accomplishes.  Often, we struggle in our Christian life and become discouraged because we still struggle with our sins.  Sometimes, the Christian life seems to have more setbacks than gains.  Paul captured the struggle when he described his fight with sin (Romans 7:19-25).  However, we have hope, for we are not in this battle alone, for God is supernaturally working within us to empower us to change our lives.  No matter how entrenched sin may seem or how defeated we may feel regarding our struggle, we have the confidence that God is working in us, and he will continue to work until we are made whole and complete in Christ. The Christian life is a journey and a struggle, but the victory is already assured.  No matter how defeated you may feel, you can have confidence because God will not give up on you; he will not abandon you.  He will continue to work in your lives to transform you through the power of his word to give you the final victory over sin. That is the reason we can give thanks.

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