Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
In this, my final article, I first want to thank you for the tremendous privilege of serving as your pastor. Daniela and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you and serving our Lord with you. We thank God for each of you.
Paul wrote to the Philippian Christians (Phil. 1:6) that he was confident that “he (God) who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Paul was grateful for the work God had done in their lives. But at the same time, he knew that the Philippians were not yet the people God wanted them to be. They had made great progress, but they had not arrived yet. But what was most important, Paul knew that they would continue to grow in their faith because God was at work in their lives. God would not stop halfway. God sees us through to the end. God will never stop working in our lives, transforming us into the image of Christ. So take heart! He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion.
Now this doesn’t mean that there is nothing for us to do in this regard, that our growth in Christian living is all up to God. Later in this letter to the Philippians, in 2:13, Paul exhorts us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Once we are saved, we must work out the implications of our salvation. We must earnestly go about the task of growing in Christ, doing those things that will help us grow in faith, character, and obedience, and thus fulfill His purpose for us. But in the very next verse Paul says that “it is God who works in us.” We must cooperate with God. We must yield to the working of the Spirit in our lives. We must die to sin and selfishness. We must seek to grow in our understanding of the Gospel and embrace the fullness of God’s purposes for us. But all our efforts would be in vain if it were not for God working in us – which He is!
So take heart; God is at work in you. You are a person in whom good work is being done, and God is the One who is doing it! We can be confident in that.
And if and when we should see each other again in this world, we will all be different people. We will have made some more progress toward becoming complete in Christ. We can be confident in that, for God is faithful.
Between now and the time when we see each other again, whenever that might be, there is really not much we can truly be confident of, for this world is so unpredictable. But we can be confident of this: He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. That is my prayer for you, and I hope that is your prayer for me.
To God be the glory for all He has done in our lives, all He is doing, and all He will yet do.
Grace and peace,