“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. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.” Philippians 1:3-7
Good, hard work, especially for the sake of the gospel, is worth doing. Your work to love those around you matters! But ultimately, your work is not what guarantees God’s pleasure and commendation. If we’ve operated our whole lives believing that our worth comes from our work, it is either totally terrifying or completely freeing when we recognize whose work secures our future.
Writing to the church in Philippi as a prisoner for the sake of the gospel, Paul is overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving for them. Why? He is deeply grateful for their faithful partnership in the gospel—prayerfully (1:19), financially (4:14-15), and practically in spreading the message that God had sent the Promised Savior (1:14).
Paul is greatly encouraged and rejoices in all that they’ve accomplished for Jesus; the church’s work to help spread the gospel is worth commending, The passage crescendos as Paul shares his hope for their future:
(v.6) 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. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
The goodness of their work isn’t the only point of this passage. Paul’s certainty for their hopeful future lies not in all of the good works they’ve completed, but is motivated by the fact that they are recipients of God’s grace, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
You can continue with confidence in the good work God has entrusted to you for this time, knowing that your future is secured not because of all of the great things you’ve done—it’s because you’ve received the Great Thing done for you.