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EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 6
Verse 6. Being confident. This is strong language. It means to be fully and firmly persuaded or convinced. Part. Mid. voice from peiyw—to persuade. Comp. Lu 16:31: "Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead;" that is, they would not be convinced. Ac 17:4; Heb 11:13; Ac 28:24.
It means here that Paul was entirely convinced of the truth of what he said. It is the language of a man who had no doubt on the subject.
That he which hath begun a good work in you. The "good work" here referred to, can be no other than religion, or true piety. This is called the work of God; the work of the Lord; or the work of Christ, Joh 6:29. Comp. 1 Co 15:58; 16:10; Php 2:30.
It was on the fact that it was begun by God, that he based his firm conviction that it would be permanent. Had it been the agency of man, he would have had no such conviction, for nothing that man does today can lay the foundation of a certain conviction that he will do the same thing to-morrow. If the perseverance of the Christian depended wholly on himself, therefore, there could be no sure evidence that he would ever reach heaven.
Will perform it. Marg., "or, finish." The Greek word—epitelesei —means that he would carry it forward to completion; he would perfect it. It is an intensive form of the word, meaning that it would be carried through to the end. It occurs in the following places: Lu 13:32, "I do cures;" Ro 15:28, "when I have performed this;" 2 Co 7:1, "perfecting holiness;" 2 Co 8:6, "so he would also finish in you;" Php 1:11, "perform the doing of it;" Ga 3:3, "are ye now made perfect by the flesh;" Heb 8:6, "when he was about to make the tabernacle;" Heb 9:6, "accomplishing this service;" and 1 Pe 5:9, "are accomplished in your brethren." The word occurs nowhere else; and here means that God would carry on the work which he had begun to completion. He would not leave it unfinished. It would not be commenced, and then abandoned. This would or could be "performed" or "finished" only
(1.) by keeping them from falling from grace, and
(2.) by their ultimate entire perfection.
Until the day of Jesus Christ. The day when Christ shall so manifest himself as to be the great attractive object, or the day when he shall appear to glorify himself, so that it may be said emphatically to be his day. That day is often called "his day," or "the day of the Lord," because it will be the day of his triumph and glory. It refers here to the day when the Lord Jesus will appear to receive his people to himself—the day of judgment. We may remark on this verse, that Paul believed in the perseverance of saints. It would be impossible to express a stronger conviction of the truth of that doctrine than he has done here. Language could not be clearer, and nothing can be more unequivocal than the declaration of his opinion that where God has begun a good work in the soul, it will not be finally lost. The ground of this belief he has not stated in full, but has merely hinted at it. It is based on the fact that God had begun the good work. That ground of belief is something like the following.
(1.) It is in God alone. It is not in man in any sense. No reliance is to be placed on man in keeping himself. He is too weak; too changeable; too ready to be led astray; too much disposed to yield to temptation.
(2.) The reliance, therefore, is on God; and the evidence that the renewed man will be kept is this:
(a.) God began the work of grace in the soul.
(b.) He had a design in it. It was deliberate, and intentional; it was not by chance, or hap-hazard; it was because he had some object that was worthy of his interposition.
(c.) There is no reason why he should begin such a work, and then abandon it. It cannot be because he has no power to complete it, or because there are more enemies to be overcome than he had supposed; or because there are difficulties which he did not foresee; or because it is not desirable that the work should be completed. Why, then, should he abandon it?
(d.) God abandons nothing that he undertakes. There are no unfinished worlds or systems; no half-made and forsaken works of his hands. There is no evidence in his works of creation of change of plan, or of having forsaken what he began from disgust, or disappointment, or want of power to complete them. Why should there be in the salvation of the soul?
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