“but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” – John 2:5-6 (NASB)
This season can be distracting, stressful, confusing, and difficult. The message from the world out there does not always deliver what is true. God has revealed Himself in His Word which we call the Bible. In it He has revealed how we should live. ‘First John presents two external tests that demonstrate salvation: doctrinal and moral. The doctrinal test consists of confessing a proper view of Christ and of sin (1:1–4; 1:5–2:2), while the moral test consists of obedience and love (1: 7–11).’1 All this comes from the Lord because He loves us. We are reminded in today’s verse that when we follow the standards God has shown us in His Word His love for us is made complete. If we are willing to let God’s love work in our hearts it will make obedience a part of our lives. So when we learn of something in the Bible that God wants us to do or a principle He wants us to follow, let’s remember that He wants it because He loves us, not because He is a dictator. His promise to us is to make us complete through our faith in Him.
1John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 1 Jn 2:3–6.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
After Jesus ascended to Heaven the Holy Spirit was sent by The Father to abide in the lives of every person who by faith believed in Jesus, who He is and what His word was. In John 14:26 Jesus promised that the “Helper (Holy Spirit) would teach you…and bring to your remembrance all that I have said.” God has given us His Word, and we recognize its value.. In the second letter the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, he underscored this fact. God’s purpose in inspiring the writers of our Bible was to give us His will in His word. By preserving these writings so that we have them available to us today, many centuries later God has helped His people to understand His words so that we may know His plan and purpose for our lives. And what has been God’s purpose? It has been to equip each of us to carry on His work of reaching others with His message and offer of salvation. So, as we read God’s Word, as we study the Bible, as we listen to others teach us from it, God is making us complete by equipping for every good work.
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” – 2 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV)
We are living in a contentious world and it is no surprise or anything new. Yes, we like to think there have been time that the people of this world were more at peace but not truly. An honest realistic look at history from the time of Genesis 3 our world has been a place with more danger and more conflict than peace. The peace we experience worldwide is temporary, existing in small parts of the world. We may have peace between ourselves for a season but sin destroys that too. As believers in our Lord Jesus Christ we can have peace with God and can have sustainable peace and harmony between each other. It is our calling and it honors God bringing Glory to Him. The apostle Paul in this verse exhorts faith believers in Corinth to aim for restoration of peace. We start by having an attitude of thankfulness and rejoicing. We will accomplish our aim as we comfort one another and agree with one another, we will live in peace – that means giving up the selfishness and striving for our own way within Christ’s fellowship of believers. This promise is for such harmony with God’s love.
“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” Colossians 2:9-10 (NASB)
The promise we find in the selected verse for today should give us encouragement in our relationship with Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and in order to be our Savior he had to be more than what we are; He had to be perfect. We’re thankful that Jesus, the Son of God came to earth so long ago and lived his life in the form of a human being like you and me. Jesus was fully a human and he was also fully God. We are reminded today that when Jesus returned to heaven after his ministry on this earth and after his death and resurrection, that His work here on earth continues, but in a different way. He is present working through those who trust and obey so that is happens. It happens when we believe in Him and allow Jesus to work through us. Our mission is to tell others by word and by life example what Jesus has accomplished for all people. Anyone who believes receives Jesus into their life. The promise is that those who choose to believe and receive forgiveness and eternal life are made complete by the rule and authority of God.
“… knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:3-4 (NASB)
Picking up from the passage yesterday (April 3) we know that testing can bring joy and should bring a joyful attitude because it is for a purpose. Testing means “proof” or “proving” that our faith is true and strong. The first of three important words is ‘endurance’ because through tests, we who believe will learn to withstand tenaciously the pressure of a trial until God removes it at His appointed time. Two more words in verse 4 stand out with important lessons. The second word is ‘perfect’ which describes our end result of testing. It is not a reference to sinlessness or perfection without sin. Perfect means maturity, specifically in our verse, spiritual maturity. The ongoing testing of our faith should be driving us who are believers to deeper communion and greater trust in Christ—qualities that in turn produce a stable, godly, and righteous character. The third word is ‘complete’. Translated from a compound Gr. word that literally means “all the portions whole.” God’s purpose is that through our trials and testing we end up lacking nothing we need. But we acknowledge this does not speak of material or temporal but spiritually needs.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 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 1:3-6 (ESV)
Our passage for today comes from the letter sent to members of the body of Christ, believers in Philippi. In the way that all letters from all apostles in the first century, this letter would be shared with churches near to Philippi. Eventually copied and shared to the whole world by being included in the New Testament. At the time Christians who first received this letter lived under Roman government and have very little religious freedoms. Paul’s letter intended to be an encouragement for us. When we experience times of doubt, we might wonder if it is worth it all. So much conflict, aggression, hate, and lies exist in our world. As Christians we too pray for each other just as Paul prayed for the Philippians. What he had heard about them brought Paul much joy. It was a delight for Paul to intercede for fellow believers. Paul had a confidence which is our promise too. It is God who began the work of salvation in our lives and it is God who will complete that job one day, the day of Jesus Christ, which looks to our final salvation, reward, and glorification.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6 (NASB)
Confidence is good, especially when we have confidence in the outcome of a project we’re doing. When asked if we can take on a job and finish it correctly we say, “I’m confident I can.” But there are times when our confidence is not as strong as we need. In our verse Paul declares his confidence; not in himself, or in the Philippians, but in God. Paul is confident that what God starts in our lives, He will see that they will complete it. Some versions like the one we use here today (NASB) say that God who began a good work will ‘perfect it.’ The (ESV) promises that when God who began a good work in us will ‘bring it to completion.’ The (KJV) uses the promise ‘will perform.’ The word in the original Greek is used in only this verse and in Galatians 3:3. It has all these meanings; complete, accomplish, perfect. Our confidence is placed in Christ Jesus when we take on the tasks He gives us. What we have been called to do, God promises to be with us to accomplish it through us. He will supply all our needs to do so.