I – apostle St. Paul – am confident of this, that the triune God, who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phi 1:6 NIV)
It is quite obvious that God has started a good work amongst the Philippians. This positive history encourages us as we are looking into the future. Without any doubt it is of the most crucial and vital concern that we remain in the partnership of the gospel until the very end. It this partnership should cease it would spell disaster and that day would be the worst day of our life. For if we would no longer partake in the gospel the very waters of eternal salvation and the blessed life in Jesus Christ would cease flowing and his very hand of grace, mercy and love would be thus withdrawn. Yet for those, who have tasted how friendly our most holy God is and who have come to share this living partnership with the gospel and with the living God himself, we have the confidence that they will remain in this partnership due to his faithfulness and goodness. The godly blessing and divine perseverance encourages us to retain this hopefulness even under great duress. The apostle St. Paul puts his hope and confidence for the final completion of the Philippians not so much on their good head-start, but rather on the faithfulness of the Lord, who began this good work in them in the first place. Trusting in him, we are confident that the end will be good and salvific too: I am confident of this, that he, who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phi 1:6 NIV) Whoever remains faithful until then, has won. The Lord’s help until then means victory and completion and eternal salvation.
Faithful God and Father, you have started your good work amongst us. We are grateful for that and we praise you for this daily. Let this good work now continue to flourish to the honour of your holy name. Bless the good work of parents and teachers. Let your holy Word bear abundant fruit in the pastoral service amongst the ill, the youth, the lost and confused, but also amongst the healthy, prosperous and faithful. Strengthen and complete your most precious work in each one of us. You only can do it. Amen. (P.Wurster)
1 Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home:
2 Beneath the shadow of thy throne thy saints have dwelt secure; sufficient is thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.
3 Before the hills in order stood, or earth received its frame, from everlasting thou art God, to endless years the same.
4 A thousand ages in thy sight are like an evening gone, short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.
5 Time, like an ever rolling stream, bears all our years away; they fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day.
6 Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, be thou our guard while life shall last, and our eternal home. (Isaac Watts, 1674-1748)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after the twenty second Sunday after the high holiday of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 369 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.