Philippians is one of those inspiring reads prompting some to plaster its verses on tee shirts, wall plaques and coffee mugs. It’s been called by some the epistle of joy. With that thought in mind, I’ll be including “scraps” from Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi in my blog over the next several weeks.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” Philippians 1:6
The good work being referred to is the work of grace in the heart of a believer in Jesus Christ. Consider Charles Spurgeon’s comment on God’s desire to complete the good work He began in the lives of his children:
“Where is there an instance of God’s beginning any work and leaving it incomplete? Show me for once a world abandoned and thrown aside half formed; show me a universe cast off from the Great Potter’s wheel, with the design in outline, the clay half hardened, and the form unshapely from incompleteness.”
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,” Philippians 1:9
Believe with all your heart that God has a purpose and a plan for your life!
I heard a sermon recently about being an authentic Christian. I wouldn’t describe my pastor’s words as comforting. I have been thinking about two words ever since; grace and truth.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
I understand that grace and truth are a part of the Christian’s salvation experience. But for some reason we followers of the gospel end up gravitating towards one of two camps over the course of time as we journey.
Grace without truth is meaningless. You might know them as chameleon Christians who are tossed by the wind when they encounter change or challenging issues. Conversely, truth without grace leads to legalism. Often times people find them to be an angry, condescending bunch when others make different choices than they do.
Having found myself in each camp at one time or another in my life, my pastor’s message troubled me. Grace and truth are both needed as we journey. Truth says to me, “You know right from wrong, yet you still make wrong choices sometimes. You are in constant need of grace.” Grace whispers, “I have embraced you time each time you have asked for it, so why not demonstrate it to others by loving God and your neighbor.”
We do need both. Truth grounds us in the faith, and lovingly extending grace to others affirms our witness. Thank you Pastor H. for bringing this to my attention.