What God Commands His Elect, He Grants Them Graciously…

[Read: Philippians]

Upon writing to the Philippians, Paul makes several statements that underscore that salvation is of the Lord. This is first seen in Phil 1:6 where Paul clearly identifies the whole of the Christian’s salvation as the work of God. He tells the Philippians that God “began a good work in them,” a work which He will bring “…to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”1 Paul repeats this truth when he states that it has been granted to the Philippians not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for Christ’s sake. Faith is the instrumental cause of the believer’s justification, and suffering is what promised to him throughout his stay on this earth.2 Thus, both justification and sanctification seem to be in view in the apostle’s statement.

This is made more emphatic in 2:5, where the imperative “have this mind among yourselves…” is followed by the indicative “which is yours in Christ Jesus.” Likewise, the apostle gives emphasis to God’s monergistic work of salvation again in 2:12-13, where the imperative “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…” is followed by the indicative “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Additionally, Paul contrasts his own efforts with the completed work of Christ. Philippians 3:12 juxtaposes Paul’s pressing on in order to make the power and resurrection of Christ known to himself with the completed work of Christ who has made Paul His own possession.

From the onset of the epistle until Paul’s final words, therefore, it is evident that what God commands His elect people He graciously gives them. God commands that all men repent and believe the Gospel; however, God grants the elect repentance and faith in Christ. God, likewise, commands all men to humbly bow before the Son in worship; however, God gives His elect people a new heart of flesh on which His Law is written, and which beats to do that which is pleasing to Him. Hence, the proposition “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”3 applies to more than the monetary needs of the Philippians. Rather, the whole of the believer’s salvation is given to them graciously by God.

-h.

11:6

2cf. John 15:18-20

34:19

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One thought on “What God Commands His Elect, He Grants Them Graciously…

  1. Heather says:

    the whole of the believer’s salvation is given to them graciously by God.

    A humbling contemplation.
    Yet, the knowledge that the Lord supplies the believer with the ability to obey is empowering as well–particularly in light of the weak and fickle tendencies of the natural human will.

    Much appreciated this post, Hiram. Thanks!

    Like

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