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. Philippians 1:6
Spiritual growth. Discipleship. Sanctification. Transformation. Change.
If you are a Christian you have probably thought about and worried about your own spiritual growth. “Am I growing?” “Am I growing enough?” “How do I grow?” “How do I grow more?”
I am the Pastor of Discipleship at Grace, so needless to say I think about these things all the time. Another book just came in the mail for me today about Discipleship (God bless Amazon Prime). “How Tos” and “Why Fors” abound.
But what our Fighter Verse this week tells us is that before we can begin to think about our role and responsibility in spiritual growth, we must first accept the truth that it is a done deal. It is God’s responsibility first. He accomplishes it. He does it all. Just like on the cross. So now in my union with Jesus, my sanctification is made complete within this union with Christ.
Listen, I’m not trying to belittle our role and responsibility, but what I am doing is trying to make us see that God’s plan to complete His good work in you can never be derailed by you. You can’t mess it up. You can’t block it. Even when you try to, you simply can’t.
God knows every outcome of every decision you will make (and have made). He has planned for every possible contingency. He not only knows what you will do, but also what you could do, and what you would do. And He created a path for you that uses your own free will to bring you exactly where He wants you- complete. Done. Perfect. Righteous. Like Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).
On Sunday we will kick off a teaching series on Jonah. Jonah ran from God but could never escape. God’s grace ran faster. God got what He wanted. And what God wants for you is for you to be transformed into His Son, Jesus.
Should we talk about our role and responsibility in all this? Should we talk about grace driven effort in sanctification? Yes! But for today let’s start with knowing that God is the One who actually has done all the work on the cross and at the empty tomb. Because if we do not start here, our efforts will never please God, because they will never be done in faith (Heb. 11:6).