The Imperfection Problem
Read Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
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.
When we become Christians, do we immediately become perfect people?
I wish I were perfect. The perfect husband. The perfect father. The perfect pastor. The perfect friend. The perfect son. But you know what? I am not. Even though I became a Christian a long time ago, I still struggle with sin and I have shortcomings. I fail at times no matter how hard I try.
But Paul offers us this reassurance in today’s verse: “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” (Philippians 1:6). What is this “good work” Paul speaks of? It is our salvation.
Paul is saying that he is 100% confident that God will finish what He started. When we first accepted Christ, we became saved. In Acts 16:30-31, we read of the Philippian jailer who witnessed the miracle of God breaking open the prison doors. He asked Paul and Silas, “’Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’” When we believe in the Lord Jesus and accept Him as our Savior, we are saved!
But we are not yet perfected. The sin struggle is one that even Paul understood all too well. Paul lamented in Romans 7:15, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
That’s because the Christian life is like a race. When we accepted Christ, we joined the race. Then, we strive to reach the finish line. But don’t worry! The author of Hebrews agrees with Paul that if we join the race, Jesus will make sure we reach the finish line.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” Jesus is the founder of our faith. He started it. He is also the perfecter of our faith. He’ll make sure we get to the end and He won’t abandon us along the way. Once we make it all the way to the day of Christ, we’ll receive the perfection and glory that we are longing for.
Friends, if we are in Christ, Jesus promises to get us all the way Home! He promises to complete and perfect our salvation. He started it and He’s going to finish it. In the meantime, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit—the Helper. I encourage you to reach out to Him in prayer today and ask Him for help with your struggles against sin. We won’t be perfect yet, but we can make progress! We will grow and mature and improve the longer we run the race in step with the Spirit. Don’t get discouraged! You are in the race, you have a Helper, and He won’t let you fail. In Jesus, you’ll have the victory.
Jesus, I am so thankful that my salvation doesn’t depend on my perfection. And I'm so thankful that my eventual perfection doesn’t depend on me either. You are the author and the perfecter of my faith! Please help me fight the sin battles in my life. I want to become more and more like You each day. Amen.