A question was raised this week regarding the following scripture;
(Php 1:6) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Just when does this “work” begin in us? Does it begin when we are “called” or after we have been “chosen”(that is we have received God’s Holy Spirit inside us)
Some seem to think that if they see evidence that God is calling them, that He will never stop working with them. But is the calling, the “work” that Phil 1:6 is referring to.
Well, let’s analyze that scripture and see if we can get to the truth.
First of all who is Paul talking to? Who is the “you” being spoken of? If you read the context you will clearly see that Paul is talking to members of the body of Christ. Brethren who are converted and have received God’s Holy Spirit. Those that are still being called have not yet been chosen by God to be part of the body of Christ. That acceptance follows a set procedure leading up to repentance(with understanding), baptism, and laying on of hands in order to receive God’s Holy Spirit.
It is only at this point that God can “begin” His work in us. For God to do a work with us we must have been chosen to receive His Holy Spirit. That is the power that the Father uses to do that work within us.
How could God say that He would begin a work that would never end with people who have not yet received His Holy Spirit? Remember the parable of the Sower?
The Parable of the Sower
Mar 4:1 And he began again to teach by the seaside: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
Mar 4:2 And he taught them many things by parables and said unto them in his doctrine,
Mar 4:3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
Mar 4:4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
Mar 4:5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth:
Mar 4:6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Mar 4:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
Mar 4:8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundred.
Mar 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The Purpose of the Parables
Mar 4:10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
Mar 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
Mar 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive, and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
Mar 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
Mar 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
Mar 4:15 And these are they by the wayside, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Mar 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mar 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Mar 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Mar 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Mar 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.
These were people whose minds have been opened to hear the word, That is the beginning of the calling of God;
(Joh 6:44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
To some Satan steals it away almost before they quite understand it they do not even have the chance to act on it. Then there are those whose hearts are shallow, they stay with it for a while but become offended when persecution arises, some hear and understand but the cares of the world choke it out almost like the action of weeds in a garden, but then there are those who hear the word whose minds react to it, it is on fertile ground here and these are those who receive the Spirit where they can bring forth fruit. Without God’s Spirit, we can not produce fruit in our lives like this.
The point I am making here is that God has not begun, a work, in those first three examples of people hearing and understanding the word(God’s Calling). They were being called but did not respond properly to it and so God never began, a work, in them. He is opening their understanding that is He is giving them ears to understand and I think perhaps deep inside their conscience will always be pricked by God Word but they have not responded properly, they have resisted and God does not take pleasure in that.
Only those who are willing to obey God in every instance are candidates for God’s Spirit.
(Act 5:32) And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
It is only after we have demonstrated to God our repentance and willingness to obey does He make His Spirit available. And it is only after that that He can even BEGIN to perform, a good work, in us.