Question about Philippians 1:6


Philippians 1 verse 6 : Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

What is the 'good work' he is referring to? Does this verse apply only to people that have faith in Jesus and that know their sins are forgiven them - or can it also apply to people who have noticed a change in their lives for the better but are still very much in the dark regarding Jesus and forgiveness of sins?


Hello friend,

Paul was confident of the work of grace in the Philippian believers. He saw the evidences of their salvation in their works.  Often he has experienced their love and sacrifice as they ministered to him in all his needs. He wrote this letter out of the prison where again he has experienced their love (4:10). To him that were the genuine evidences of their salvation.   Yet, he also saw that there was still much to grow in their understanding of the Gospel and the sanctification of their life.  Many details are given in this letter in which
he exhorts but also prays for their progress.  When Jesus comes back on His final day, He will complete (the word is 'perform in Phil. 1:6)  the work of sanctification in His people.  These people are already justified (forgiven) in this life as they have come to repentance and faith in the merits of the Lord Jesus. So Paul is referring to the completion of work of sanctification in this verse.

Those who have observed a change in their life but are in the dark regarding Jesus and the forgiveness of sin should be very careful to claim this verse as theirs.  Many changes come to nothing;  are as morning clouds or as the grain that sprang up quickly but withered away. If we haven't come to Christ and haven't been able to entrust ourselves to Him as the only Lord and Saviour, we have no ground to rest. The Philippians had come to Christ when Paul wrote these words to them. 

It is dangerous to rest on 'changes in your heart' as a safe evidence of salvation.  The Holy Spirit's work is indeed to change a person's heart (sanctification) but His main mission is to lead sinners away from relying upon themselves of any other persons to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the only Way and the only Mediator and the only Ground upon which we are to rest.   You cannot meet God with some 'changes you have noticed in your heart.'

Pastor Vergunst