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God Is Working ~ Philippians 1 v. 6

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. ~ Philippians 1:6, MSG

May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it! ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, MSG

I remember how some of my neighborhood’s wannabe tough guys and tough girls, back in the day, often used many braggadocious warnings. One of their sundry well known wolf tickets is: Don’t start something you can’t finish! Of course, these fighting words usually were countered with another equally boastful warning: Don’t start nothing; won’t be nothing (or a variation thereof; for example, don’t start no stuff, won’t be no stuff).

The point here is that most, if not all, of us in my neighborhood knew that these loud and superficially nervy threats were articulated by arrogant people who spoke forcefully, yet had no intention of backing up what they were saying with violence. Furthermore, we knew that even if an altercation had ensued, there always were plenty of adults who would have stopped that fight before anyone could have been considered the victor. In other words, it wouldn’t have mattered who started the fight, as no one would have been allowed to finish it!

Now while Almighty God is not in any way a braggadocio, the contrast between my neighborhood’s bumptious boasters and Father God is more than noteworthy. Why? Well, because unlike my neighborhood braggarts’ empty words, neither Father God’s spoken Words nor His written Words are hollow. In fact, by way of the prophet Isaiah, Almighty God says that “…the words that come out of my mouth [won’t] come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them” (Isaiah 55:11, MSG).

More important, not only will the Almighty Creator God’s Words complete every assignment He gives to them but also He never just blows His own Horn—He never behaves like an arrogant loudmouthed boaster. For sure, unlike the countless global braggadocious wannabe tough guys and tough girls who for whatever reasons can’t finish what their empty words have started, Father God never starts anything with His Words that He couldn’t finish. That’s why it should be so comforting to know that, where believers’ salvation is concerned, the only One who is able to finish the great work of salvation in Christ Jesus’ followers is the One who began that salvation work. In this case, the One who began the work of salvation in believers is Father God.

No doubt this above Divine Truth about Father God finishing what He starts is why, in Philippians 1:6, the apostle Paul says that God definitely is completing the work He started in all believers. Spiritually speaking, Paul specifically is speaking about the work Father God’s Holy Spirit and His Word Seed inwardly are finishing. Put differently, Father God supernaturally is using His Word Seed and His indwelling/infilling Holy Spirit to mature His sons and daughters. Indeed, His Holy Spirit is transforming Father God’s Household of Faith children into fully holy born again and saved (justified) human beings, by completely sanctifying their individual whole body, whole soul, and whole spirit. This Divine Truth no doubt also is why the apostle Paul says he prays for this very sanctifying work to be done in the Thessalonians. Paul writes:

May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it! ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, MSG

According to apostle Paul in numerous other Scriptures, the Holy Spirit spiritually is growing up every born from above, saved (justified), and being sanctified believer in Christ Jesus not only by gifting and anointing each person with his or her God designed spiritual gifts, natural talents, and with Creator God’s supernatural Power, but also by teaching every son and every daughter in Father God’s Household of Faith how to use his or her spiritual gifts, natural talents, and the Father’s supernatural Power to glorify Creator God AND to bless other human beings. Additionally, it is the Holy Spirit’s job to water and nurture the Word Seed that has been planted within the spirit/heart of every born-again believer so that each individual believer is able to produce the Fruit of the Spirit in his or her daily life.

Then too, the Holy Spirit’s sanctification process involves purifying and cleansing believers’ soulish and fleshly attitudes, beliefs, fears, emotions, consciences, wills/determinations, and so forth. In other words, the Holy Spirit works on changing believers’ soulish and fleshly natures until these believers have developed the mind of Christ Jesus and daily are living the same kind of holy lifestyle that Christ Jesus lived. Christlikeness, thus, is the primary end goal of the Holy Spirit’s sanctification process.

For these reasons, there is not one believer in Christ Jesus who has the right to brag or boast about anything he or she has done or is doing for the Lord or for Father God. The Divine Truth is that Creator God made human beings so that they would brag or boast about Him, and yet so many people who claim that Father God has called them into “the ministry” often just brag or boast about their “calling” and/or about the “works” they supposedly have done or are doing for the Lord/Father God much more than they ever boast or brag about Christ Jesus or Almighty God. Furthermore, not one believer in Christ Jesus has the right to brag or boast about his/her ministry or his/her “church,” because no one who is doing the Father’s work owns his/her own ministry or “church.” For sure, Creator God is the true Owner and Sustainer of ALL ministries and ALL “churches” that are about His business!

In other words, anyone who thinks he or she owns and/or is running or working in his or her ministry or “church” needs to know that EVERY ministry or “church” that truly is about God’s soul winning and helping the needy business actually belongs to Father God and His Kingdom on Earth. That’s right! Believers in Christ Jesus who are working for their Lord/Savoir ultimately are working for His (therefore their) Father God. For these reasons, whatever “good” work any person who is in any ministry or in any “church” might claim as his or her own “good” work actually isn’t worth bragging or boasting about, because without Father God’s Grace and His many holy and righteous attributes, and without the mighty workings of His Holy Spirit who lives and moves on the inside of every born from above, saved (justified), and being sanctified believer, there is NOT one person who could produce the God kind of “good” works. Without doubt, under his or her own power, strength, and etc., every believer would be too weak, too foolish, too undiscerning, too uninfluential, too unwise, and so forth. That’s why, ALL of the Glory and ALL of the Praise for any “good” ministry or “church” work should go to God and to Him alone.

The prophet Isaiah agrees. He writes:

GOD’s Message,
   the God who created the cosmos, stretched out the skies,
   laid out the earth and all that grows from it,
Who breathes life into earth’s people,
   makes them alive with his own life:
‘I am GOD. I have called you to live right and well.
   I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe.
I have set you among my people to bind them to me,
   and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations,
To make a start at bringing people into the open, into light:
   opening blind eyes,
   releasing prisoners from dungeons,
   emptying the dark prisons.
I am GOD. That’s my name.
   I don’t franchise my glory,
   don’t endorse the no-god idols.
Take note: The earlier predictions of judgment have been fulfilled.
   I’m announcing the new salvation work.
Before it bursts on the scene,
   I’m telling you all about it.’ ~ Isaiah 42:5-9, MSG

Additionally, the prophet Jeremiah writes:

GOD’s Message: 

‘Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom.
Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits.
.
Don’t let the rich brag of their riches.
   If you brag, brag of this and this only:
That you understand and know me.
   I’m GOD, and I act in loyal love.
I do what’s right and set things right and fair,
   and delight in those who do the same things.
These are my trademarks.’
   GOD’s Decree. ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24, MSG

Lastly, the apostle Paul writes:

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of ‘the brightest and the best’ among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, ‘If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.’ ~ 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, MSG

What the two cited Old Testament prophets and the one cited New Testament apostle are saying is that ALL believers in God’s global ministry have no reason to brag or boast about themselves. Instead, they should be bragging or boasting in their Lord—blowing a trumpet for God (or for Christ Jesus). In other words, what the apostle Paul calls true boasting in the Lord (or Father God) is believers boasting OF the Lord—boasting OF His holy attributes, which He has given to believers. Believers, in essence, should be boasting OF EVERYTHING God has done for them, boasting OF what He still is doing for them, boasting OF what He has promised He will do for them, and so forth.

Even though, as apostle Paul also writes, God’s Grace is sufficient (more than enough to satisfy believers’ needs, no matter how difficult the situations are that they face), the Divine Truth is that God has given His Grace to believers not only so that believers would know they can depend on Him but also so that He could glorify and strengthen Himself in believers’ weaknesses. This Divine Truth is why God created human beings. He created mankind so that believing humans would boast OF Him (or Christ Jesus). God always intended for His saved by Grace through Faith children to give Him ALL of the credit for ALL of the “good” that happens in their lives; in other words, believers were created so that they would vocalize their God-given Faith in His ability—vocalize their God-given Faith in how He is able to work in and through them (how God’s strength repeatedly is made perfect in their privations/helplessness).

The bottom line is that God created believers so that they would rely on His supernatural Power and miraculous interventions. He made it so that their whole trust in Him, and Him alone, would come as the result of their careful examination of their own human limitations/weaknesses. He intended for them to cheerful conclude that, supernaturally speaking, the more handicapped/frailer they were, the stronger they would become.

Since being born from above (born again) is the initial radical job that Father God solely begins in every individual who subsequently becomes saved (justified), and then later is being sanctified, it is safe to say that Creator God’s supernatural and powerful sanctifying work, which affects each believer’s spirit/heart, soul, and body, will not stop until Father God, by way of His Grace, His Word, and the mighty workings of His Holy Spirit, transforms every one of His righteous sons and daughters into the image of His ONLY begotten Son, who is Christ Jesus. Put differently, as already stated, whatever Father God begins He will continue until He has completed it; therefore, the apostle Paul wants today’s believers to rest assured that God will fully sanctified (complete 100%; make 100% holy) their spirit, soul, and body!

In his letter to the Christians in Philippi, the apostle Paul tells them that he is very confident “…that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish…” (Philippians 1:6, MSG). Therefore, by extension, the apostle is telling every believer today that he or she also can totally trust that Creator God will finish the radical job He has begun in him or her. According to the apostle Paul, every modern-day believer should be as confident as he is about Father God NEVER leaving unfinished any work that He has started!

In many several other Scriptures, the apostle Paul also makes it clear that each believer is a work in progress, because Father God is preparing every born again, saved (justified), and being sanctified follower of Christ Jesus for the Day the Lord returns to claim His chosen Bride. For example, in Ephesians 5:25-27, Paul writes:

…Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. (MSG)

The main things ALL believers in Christ Jesus must remember, then, are the following Scripture-supported truths. Just like believers should understand that Father God still is working on them (is completing the radical job that He initially began inside them; is preparing them to become Christ Jesus’ Bride), these same believers also should understand that it is because of Creator God’s hands-on operation in their lives that they can’t take any credit for (brag or boast about) any of the work Almighty God already has done, is doing, or will continue to do in or by way of them. That’s why ALL of Christ Jesus’ followers/believers ONLY should brag or boast in (blow a trumpet for) Father God and Him alone!