“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ.”
This is one of the greatest and most encouraging verses in all of the Bible. We who have been saved from sin, forgiven and placed under the wonderful Lordship of Jesus Christ often find ourselves wondering if we will make it to the end. Will we continue to trust Christ? Will we continue to love Him? Will we continue to grow in our obedience to Him? Will we ever completely put off this sin or that sin?
The answer from God’s Word is a resounding “Yes!” Not because we are faithful, but because He is faithful. He who has justified us by His grace will sanctify us by His grace, and, ultimately, perfect us by His grace when we see Him face to face.
What are the practical implications of this verse for sinners who are still struggling to follow Christ as they now desire?
1) Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep pursuing obedience. Keep pursuing joy in God. Keep trusting the gospel. You don’t give up because God is not giving up on you.
2) Be holy. While we will struggle with sin until we leave our sinful flesh at death or Christ’s return, the truth that God is at work finishing the good work of faith, love, obedience and conformity to the person of Christ should compel us to obey, not out of fear but out of faith.
3) Rest in God’s love. Never stop believing that God loves you. Never stop understanding that He is holy and hates your sin. But never forget that He loves you even in your sin, to the point that He came down to us, lived a perfect life and died our death on the cross that we may be forgiven.
Most of us have been betrayed, burned or at least hurt by someone, sometime in our past. They said they would be there “no matter what” and now they’re gone. They said they’d never leave you but they ran at the first sign of trouble.
In a world full of hurt, brokenness and sin, Jesus steps into our broken, sinful lives, gives us His grace and promises to never leave us nor forsake us.
And He keeps His promises. When we fall down in sin, failing Him whom we love, He is always right there, picking us up, looking us in the eyes and saying, “I will finish what I started. I love you. I am not going anywhere. I am not giving up on you. Ever.”
Rest in that. Hope in that. Repent in the knowledge of His love. Repentance is indeed made easier when we realize that in repentance, we get Him! We turn from sin that does not love us to trust The Lord who loves us more than anyone else, who alone is wise and good. We get His grace, His forgiveness, His love, His presence, His life, when we call on His name, agreeing with Him about our sin and desire to follow Him as Lord and be forgiven.
In Christ, we don’t have to hide anymore. We can come, just as we are, into the arms of grace. Praise God.
May we never forget how much You love us, Lord. May we rest in Your promises.