It is God Who is at Work in You
The work of God for the benefit of His chosen people is called, “grace.” By His doing the saints have been positioned in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30). Every aspect of salvation is by God’s grace. It is His will and His work that accomplishes all things for His beloved ones (Ps 57:2; 138:8).
It is God’s eternal good pleasure that leads to His decree of all that comes to pass. In time, we refer to this as God’s providence. God does all His holy will (Eph 1:11). This is true for the wicked (Prv 16:4) and the righteous (Prv 16:9).
God’s work, that is, God’s grace toward His chosen people is both external and internal, as it relates to each believer. Regardless, God works all things together for good, for those who love Him, and who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).
God’s eternal purpose was carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph 3:11), and this is good news for those who have been transferred from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13).
Those who have been brought into union with Jesus Christ have been baptized into Christ — His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:1–14). They have been baptized into His body (1 Cor 12:13), the church that He is building (Mt 16:18), of which He is the Head (Col 1:18), with many members (1 Cor 12:14), a temple in the Spirit (Eph 2:20–22).
God was working externally, when He wrote the names of His elect in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8; 17:8). He was also working in that manner when He predestined these to adoption as sons before the creation (Eph 1:4–5). In this, He appointed them to life (Acts 13:48), which is in His only begotten Son, our Lord (1 Jn 5:11).
God was working, externally, when He sent His Son into the world (Jn 3:16), in order to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). In fact, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:19), so that people from every nation, tribe, and tongue might join in worship for all eternity (Rev 5:9).
The means of reconciliation was Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, a substitutionary atonement, whereby Christ died for us, the just for the unjust (1 Pet 3:18). Jesus, the Son of Man, secured right standing (righteousness) before the throne of God, the Judge of the whole earth (Gen 18:25). Those who are positioned in Christ, before God, have His right standing.
In love, God chose His holy nation (1 Pet 2:9), and in love, Christ died to give them life from the dead (2 Tim 2:11). The love of the Father and the love of the Son was sent by them (Jn 14:26; 15:26) and poured out in the hearts of those God caused to be born again of His Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; Rom 5:5; 1 Pet 1:3). It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that begins the internal work of God in those newly born of God, as children of God (Rom 8:16–17; 1 Jn 3:1, 10).
The Holy Spirit baptizes, regenerates, indwells, and sanctifies the saints, who will be resurrected from the dead on the last day (Jn 5:28–29), by the same Spirit (Rom 8:11). It was God who began this good work in the born again, and it will be the Holy Spirit who finishes the work He began (Phil 1:6).
The indwelling Holy Spirit (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11) is the agent of grace (God’s work). Grace reigns for those who walk according to the Spirit (Rom 5:21; 8:5–7). The Spirit of Christ leads and guides the Christian into all truth (Jn 16:13). Truth, as it is in Jesus (Jn 14:6; Eph 4:21), is manifest in the believer through the Word of truth illumined by the Spirit of truth. The result of this operation of the Spirit is the believer growing in grace and knowledge of the truth which is the knowledge of Christ (2 Pet 3:18).
It is the Spirit who causes the adopted child of God to walk in the statutes of God (Ezek 36:27) on the narrow path of righteousness (Mt 7:13–14). The Spirit and the Word have not only given life (new, abundant, eternal) to the new creature in Christ (Jn 6:63; 2 Cor 5:17), but the sanctifying work of the Spirit never ceases in the labor for godliness and holiness in the saint (Rom 15:16; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2).
The promises of God become reality (2 Cor 1:20). The Law of God is fulfilled in us (Rom 8:4). Christlikeness is formed (Rom 8:29), and the Christian bears witness to this life in union with the Son of God, who is in union with the Father (Jn 10:30; 17:21). Mutual indwelling marks this union. Thus, it is the very Spirit of God who testifies that we who are filled with His presence are the children of God (Rom 8:16).
As heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17), we have the hope of glory (Rom 8:18; Col 1:27; 1 Tim 1:1). We join in the sufferings of Christ, as His Spirit works (Col 1:24) because the world is hostile to God, being at enmity with Him and His anointed (Ps 2; Rom 8:7). We follow in Jesus’ steps (1 Pet 2:21) as lights that shine before men in this present darkness (Mt 5:16).
The light of Christ has shone in our hearts (2 Cor 4:6), and He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5), as we shine as lights in the world being sons of light (Lk 12:36; 1 Thess 5:5). With the life of God in our souls (Gal 2:20), willing and doing God’s good pleasure (Phil 2:13), we have meaning and significance amidst the futility of this fallen world, doomed to destruction (Eccl 1:2; 2 Pet 3:10–12). In other words, we have hope and a future because of Him who is at work within us.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 20, 2021