God’s power in Philippians: What God starts, he finishes

The apostle Paul wrote the letter of Philippians from prison. Joy is a keynote and often considered the main point of the letter. Not so noticed in the letter is how he emphasizes the power of God.

Paul begins the letter by expressing his confidence “that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” Phil 1.6. We usually talk about what we must do to be saved. That talk is important and necessary. It must not, however, overshadow that the work of salvation is God’s. Continue reading “God’s power in Philippians: What God starts, he finishes”

God spares us sadness

God not only inserts people into our lives in order to bless us, but he also causes them to remain with us, for our joy. Paul thought about Epaphroditus in such terms.

In fact he became so ill that he nearly died. But God showed mercy to him—and not to him only, but also to me—so that I would not have grief on top of grief.
Php 2.27

Instead of questioning why God takes people from us — a question that we have no way of finding an answer to — let us give thanks to God for his mercy which keeps beloved people in our lives who help us and cooperate with us in the gospel.

The big ‘for’ of God’s empowerment

“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” Php 2.13 ESV.

In some circles of Christians, Philippians 2.12 is a favorite. It is a good and wonderful Bible verse needed to show others the importance of dedicated effort toward salvation. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” …

Sometimes, however, a period is added after verse 12 and verse 13 is forgotten. The tendency which separates the two verses comes from an emphasis on human effort divorced from the empowerment that God provides. But the two verses are one sentence. Continue reading “The big ‘for’ of God’s empowerment”