“For your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians  1:5–6

The passage before us is a wonderful proof text of many doctrines. Missions, koinonia, evangelism, practical salvation, perseverance of the saints, spiritual fruit producing good works, Christian brotherhood, God’s sovereignty, transforming grace, sanctification, eternal security, prophecy, and the saviorhood of Jesus Christ are all found in these two verses. These verses are rich in food for your soul!

Paul is writing from prison, enduring suffering for the name of Jesus Christ. He writes to the believers in Philippi. They were a band of brethren who were dear to him.

Naturally, his heart swells with gratitude as he has been personally blessed by their faithful gifts and visible demonstrations of their love for him, the Lord’s work, and the Lord Himself. Just as they had benefited by Paul’s missionary endeavors, so he had benefited by their mission-mindedness.

God used Paul to establish the first church in Philippi under some very difficult circumstances. The story is recounted in Acts 16. Persecution was almost immediate, but souls were saved that withstood the testing times and last for eternity. God had indeed begun a mighty work in them.

The word fellowship is the Greek word koinonia. It is used to describe partnerships. It can cover the gamut of partnerships anywhere from mere acquaintances (like being assigned a reading partner in grade school) to the closest of partnerships contractually engaged for the long haul. In the Philippian case, we see that they identified themselves with Paul—with his sufferings, with his need, and with his purpose—to such a degree that they gave sacrificially of their own resources. Theirs was a partnership, not of contract, but of the blood of the precious Savior.

Their partnership was in the Gospel; this is a visible, effective, practical fruit of the Spirit that reaches across the miles and across the ages. Their mission identity was with the precious good news of salvation, which had saved them, and they desired would save others. They were so vested in that Gospel that they gave so Paul could continue evangelizing, free from additional burdens and encumbrances. Their mission-mindedness was evidence that God was at work within them. Genuinely being “on-mission” is evidence that God has saved you. This is also practical salvation because the Gospel ought to define every believer’s life.

The Gospel is a mighty force that changes lives. The strength of the brotherhood of the saints is a direct result of the transforming work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only in the Gospel are people, who would naturally be estranged from one another, brought near, quickened in spiritual things, welded together in heart, and formed into a body. Paul unequivocally declares that he has confidence in them because of the One in whom his confidence resides.

Their lives are on track to glory because of the sovereign choice and work of God. Once God has the work begun, He will not fail in finishing His work. The two great works of God in the Scriptures are creation and redemption. As He finished the first, He will finish the second. Your soul’s eternal security is fully dependent upon God’s will to finish the work of salvation He has begun in your heart. Many other passages of Scripture back this principle up such as John 10:28ff, Romans 8:28ff, and Ephesians 2:1ff. Jude 24 declares, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”

This good work Christ has begun, He will finish. There are no unfinished projects gathering dust and forgotten in our Lord’s workshop! There are not even any projects He is “going to get around to doing some day.” These verses are full of activity. Jesus has begun the project and He will see it through to completion (the Greek word means to carry through, to fully finish). What is in Paul’s mind is the totality of the Savior’s mission in transforming each saint through the process of positional sanctification mirrored in a life of practical sanctification.

The final event that will universally complete this sanctification is the Rapture of the church. In this text it is referred to as “the day of Jesus Christ.” Specifically, this designation distinguishes this day from “the day of the Lord.” The day of the Lord is always in the context of judgment (Joel 1:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, and 2 Peter 3:10).

The day of Jesus Christ is the prophetic name of the time when the Church Age saints are resurrected, meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:12f), are glorified, and receive their reward. The groundwork for that day is laid in each saint’s life at the point of their salvation (Philippians 1:5, “the first day”), it is a work in progress throughout each believer’s life (Philippians 1:10f, “that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”), and it reaches its conclusion upon the believer’s entering into glory (Philippians 2:16, “holding fast the Word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”).

Your salvation is a continuing labor of a loving God. Trust and obey.