“I thank my God…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 1:3–6

Projects, we all have projects. Most have more projects than we can possibly do in one lifetime. Some projects languish on the back-burner while we tackle our “must-do” project list. Many of those back-burner projects will simply never be done because we will run out of time or lose interest.

Even front-burner projects are often finished by the skin of our teeth. I was involved in a church building refurbishment, assisting in bolting down the pews just before our rededication service was to take place! Such is the nature of things on the earthbound side of life. No wonder deadlines are necessary. Without deadlines very little would ever get done.

This characteristic of fallen human nature alone is enough to torpedo the idea that God leaves the finalization of your salvation to you with something more you must do. The reality is that either God takes care of the whole project or all mankind is forever, hopelessly lost. The fact that God leaves nothing to chance concerning a believer’s salvation is the subject of Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1. The eternal security of your soul depends on God’s faithful, timely, and completing love!

Paul was talking to Philippian brothers in the Lord, faithful saints who were demonstrating the effects of God’s grace in their lives. The first 11 verses include a beautiful list of prayer requests that Paul prayed in their behalf. In verse 3, he expressed the fact that whenever the Philippian believers came to mind his heart turned to worship God in thanksgiving for them. Verse 4 explains that his thanks then turn to joyful requests in their behalf. In effect, their obedience and service “primed the pump” of Paul’s prayer life concerning them.

In a parenthetical sort of way, Paul used verse 5 to explain the reason for his joyful spirit in prayer. It is because they were included in spiritual life by being included in the fellowship of the Gospel. The word fellowship is the translation of the Greek word koinonia, meaning partnership, union, common participation, and to share in a mutual partnership. The Apostle John used the same word in 1 John 1:3, “that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” In verse 7 he further said, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” There is an intertwined, indissoluble partnership between believers together and with God for which God is solely responsible.

This common participation is real, spiritual participation in the grace of the Gospel, which began with the first quickening of saving faith and continues on to their present day in living faith. Paul stated, in verse 6, that he was confident that this saving, redeeming, fruit-bearing partnership will continue all the way to the day of their glorification. This is the project of “God in us” identified in Ephesians 2:8–10.

The Greek word translated begun, in verse 6, is only used in one other place in the New Testament (Galatians 3:3). In both places it is in the context of salvation. The projects God begins, He finishes! There can be no disinterest on His part—no distractions from His project in you—because Paul said, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.” To complete means to fully finish and to carry through. This theological truth alone ought to give believers a lifetime of confidence and hope in God.

Paul’s confidence in eternal security is not mentioned only once in the Bible. It is mentioned over and over again in both the Old and New Testament. Psalm 37:23f reads, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down [off]; for the LORD upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 89:33f primarily speaks of King David, but its truth overflows to all He has chosen: “Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.” Psalm 138:8 reads, “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.” (What would your life be like if your languishing, back-burner projects could speak to you?)

In the New Testament, besides the assurance we receive from John 10:28ff, James 1:17f, and Romans 8:28ff, we have Jude 24: “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.” Hebrews 6:18f reads, “That by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil…even Jesus.” God cannot forget the project that is dear to both you and Him—the perfection of your soul! Trust and obey.