“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.