The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Author and the Finisher"
"He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:4).
"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).
God promises to finish the work He began when we trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. This involves making us like our Savior in character, nature, and way: "we shall be like Him" (I John 3:2). The Apostle Paul thought of this as he prayed for his fellow believers in Philippi, people who doubtless comprised a wide range and degree of spiritual maturity and faithfulness. Paul nevertheless knew that God would finish in the Philippians believers the work of grace He began in them. We do well to think of such assurance as we pray for others and ourselves. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it" (I Thessalonians 5:23-24).
Born again believers in the Lord Jesus play a vital role of response to God's transforming work in our lives. We "work out" that which He "works in" (Philippians 2:12-12). That is, we freely trust and submit to our Heavenly Father, recognizing His involved presence, and expecting by faith that the Holy Spirit will lead us in devoted obedience. Godliness does not just happen in any believer's life. God must work, which He does perfectly. We must respond, which we do imperfectly. The latter point regarding our response seems to throw a wrench into the works of the process. The truth of the matter is that it can and does, as confirmed by the New Testament's depiction of both consistently faithful and unfaithful believers. We indeed play a role, even through "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10).
In this light, the question arises, "How can we fulfill our role of response, working out that which God works in?" The answer involves remembrance and affirmation that He is, in fact, present and actively working in us. Those believers who more faithfully progress in Christlikeness do so because they more consistently avail themselves of the grace that provides our only hope for adequate response. "Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably" (Hebrews 12:28). We must remember that the process is His, and that "we are His workmanship." Only thereby will we access the power whereby we find ourselves able to execute our role in God's project of making us like the Lord Jesus. Just as believing He is the Author of salvation birthed us into relationship with God, so believing He is the Finisher of salvation perpetuates our active participation in God's project. The Apostle Paul plainly confirms such empowering truth in his epistle to the Colossians:
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:6-7).
We are God's workmanship. He finishes what He starts. We work out that which He works in. Remembering and affirming these truths powerfully enables us to respond in faith and faithfulness, as led by the Holy Spirit. Thereby we throw not a wrench into the project, but rather rather serve as God's wrench, skillfully wielded by the Author and the Finisher.
"God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."
(II Corinthians 9:8)
Weekly Memory Verse
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.