“GOD’S COMPLETE WORK OF SALVATION - Part I”
June 25th, 2000
Salvation to many consists of just one or two features: “You must be born again” or “Redeemed, Reconciled.” However, the work of salvation is much more complex and involved than just these features. Philippians 1:6 is one of the most comprehensive verses in the Bible depicting the whole scope of God’s marvelous salvation package:
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.
Note several outstanding facts evident in this statement:
1. There is a good work begun - perpetuated and completed in the believer’s life.
2. One person is involved in all three features - “He.”
3. The confidence this produces in the life.
4. The truths of verse 6 melt down out of verses 3, 4, & 5. Paul thanked God for the believers. He prayed for them in view of something he observed in their lives, namely their continual participation in the things of God - “from the first day until now.” This gave Paul a strong confidence of a divine work taking place in their midst as seen in verse 6 - a good work, started, continued and ultimately completed in the lives of this flock. He doesn’t say good works (although that is true) but a good work. This is the work of salvation. Salvation has a beginning, it continues, and it has a completion point - just like physical life. Physical life consists not just in being born. That is where it begins. Then there is the whole growth process that takes a lifetime.
The beginning of this good work of salvation consists of regeneration, justification, reconciliation, etc. This puts us in the family and gives us a position before a Holy God. It also gives God a base of operation. We are not to remain babies all of our lives. We are to move on from there. He begins this initial work but He also continues the work. This we call progressive sanctification - a lifetime of work by the Holy Spirit. He takes us from one degree of glory to another degree of glory to yet another as we stay centered in the Word. He takes us through one experience of growth after another. This is one of the truths alluded to by our Lord in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church.” He builds His church by adding members to the body and then building up the body spiritually through the Word (cf. II Cor. 3:18).
This building up will continue until He comes for us, until the Day of Christ Jesus. Paul said to the Roman believers in Romans 13:14, “our salvation is nearer than when we believed.” He is pointing to the final phase.
Next week we will see how this will build confidence into our lives.
It is exciting to see how God is building His church here in Long Beach. How I thank Him for those being baptized this morning as well as those being welcomed into our fellowship. May God mightily bless and use you in His service.
Love to you all.
--Pastor Charles Covington 1933-2006