The Certainty of Hope

Bible Reading: Philippians 1:3-11

Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

My 90 year old Dad likes to paint.  Over the years he’s painted hundreds of paintings.  Some adorn the walls of his home, still others he has given away; to family, to friends, and to neighbors.  Last year he painted for me from a picture we took from Meacham’s Bridge over Dairy Creek, the place where we first went fishing together, when I was just a little boy.  A lot of water has flowed under that bridge in the 60 years since!  I asked Dad if he had ever given up on one of his paintings.  Of course, he replied, as sometimes the painting he was working on wasn’t turning out quite as he had hoped.  When that happened he’d either paint over what he had started, or in some cases discard the painting altogether.  We all have such unfinished projects laying around, be it a painting, or a book, or a craft or something else.  Things we started on, but for one reason or another didn’t finish.  Not so with God!

God always finishes what he starts.  So it was in His creation of all things.  So it was in His plan of redemption, having sent Jesus to die on a cross for our sins.  From that cross Jesus declared “It is finished!”  The One who “does all things well” has never left a project half-way done.  Philippians 1:6 speaks to this truth as it relates to the believer in Christ, God will finish that good work he began in you and me.  That’s true because God is who He is.  Loving, All-wise,  Omnipotent, Sovereign over all, Faithful–He always keeps His promises.  And in the reality of this truth we have good reason for an abiding hope.

The God who is good and does good (Psalm 119:68), began a good work in you in saving you by His grace.  By His doing you are in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30).  You are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10).  The term translated “workmanship” could be also translated “work of art” or even “masterpiece.”  You are His masterpiece!  As such, your by grace  salvation, and transformation, will testify in the coming ages to the immeasurable riches of his grace” (Ephesians 2:7)!  From the beginning, He’s been at work in you, “both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).  As a skilled Potter working with his clay, He knows and is well able to form us to his design.  Nothing can work to deter God from completing his work in you.  We face trials of many kinds.  Some simply because we live in a sin-cursed world.  Some because we sin and suffer the consequences.  Some because we’ve identified ourselves with Christ, and some folks don’t like that about us.  God is well able to use even our bad, to accomplish his good, as Romans 8:28 makes clear: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  His purpose?  That we might be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).  God began a good work in you.  He’ll finish the work he started!  You can count on it (Romans 8:29-30)!  And in this we have good reason to be hopeful, no matter what kinds of troubles we face!

When Hope Animates us There is a Vigor in the Whole Body – John Calvin


He who began a good work in you
He who began a good work in you
Will be faithful to complete it
He’ll be faithful to complete it
He who started the work
Will be faithful to complete it in you

If the struggle you’re facing
Is slowly replacing
Your hope with despair
Or the process is long
And you’re losing your song
In the night

You can be sure
That the Lord has His hand on you
Safe and secure
He will never abandon you
You are His treasure
And He finds His pleasure in you

He who began a good work in you
He who began a good work in you
Will be faithful to complete it
He’ll be faithful to complete it
He who started the work
Will be faithful to complete it in you

c1987 Birdwing Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Jonathan Mark Music (Admin. by Gaither Copyright Management)

Heavenly Father. Praise You for Your finished work in the creation of all things! Praise You too for Your finished work on the cross! How thankful we are that You are faithful always to fulfill Your promises. We are weak in ourselves. And sometimes we fail. Sometimes the weight of our trials seems overwhelming. We have friends who fail us and foes who assail us. There are times when the journey seems to hard and the destination too far away. But thank You for this wonderful truth–there’s nothing that can work to snatch us our of Your loving hands and nothing in all of creation that can work to prevent You from finishing the work You’ve started in us. Knowing that You are working in us both to will and work for Your good pleasure, may we be working out our salvation with fear and trembling. To Your honor and glory. Amen.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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