Etikettarkiv | work

God works all things after the counsel of his own will? Eph. 1:11

secret willGod’s will is that man should use his free will and seek him (see Acts 17)

God has a sovereign freedom to accomplish whatever he chooses, like guaranteeing the proper inheritance to the children of God (which are those who are following Jesus). The promise is to those and no one else.

The following verse is a popular Calvinistic proof text, often quoted (by itself) to support the idea that everything under the sun occurs precisely according to God’s plans, down to every single detail:

Eph. 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel  of his own will

The verse of course say no such thing (that God’s will always happens), unless we are talking about his will to give man free will and make man responsible for his own actions. Note that it says ”works” all things and not ”cause” all things … The verse does not say that all thoughts, words and deeds are predestined by God, but it rather explains what God does, in terms of providing wonderful promises through Christ.

Councel in Eph. 1:11 is a translation from the Greek noun βουλή (boulé, Strong’s 1012) and could also be translated deliberate wisdom. This noun derives from the verb βούλομαι (boulomai, Strong’s 1014) and means will, intend, desire or wish. 

Some theologians claim that it is also about God planning and arranging all physical circumstances in order to achieve his exact plans which always take place down to the finest detail. This is something the Bible does not say.

The noun boulé occurs 12 times in the KJV Bible. Examples:

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.

Quite clearly God’s counsel can be rejected.

Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 

If God caused and scripted Calvary in all details, why does the text not say so? Instead we can read that his foreknowledge was involved. Knowing about future events is not the same as causing future events.

Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Paul is clearly not a Calvinist since he does not relax and trust that God’s will always happens and that the elect will remain elect (and the non-elect remain non-elect). He warns people with tears night and day because disciples will be drawn away from the gospel. Why does he do that if nothing can go wrong but always turn out as God wants? Paul rather believes the scriptures, and understands that prayers can make a difference!

Acts 27:12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west. — 41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.

1 Cor. 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.  

Unfortunately Calvinists usually believe that God decrees ”whatsover comes to pass” and are keen to interpret “work all things after the counsel of His will” as though everything pans out exactly as God wills it, both good and bad. That would include God deterministically scripting every murder, rape and abortion that will ever take place! The text, however, must not be read in this sweeping and all-inclusive way. The “all things” refers to all things that God accomplishes in Christ (in a general sense) because this is what the previous verses talk about.

Eph. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ

Paul provides examples of the above mentioned blessings and promises, which are only meant for those who are IN CHRIST which is the condition for salvation. The eternal purpose is that God’s children, his church will be able to look forward to a guaranteed inheritance waiting for them in the heavenly places. Again, the condition is to be IN CHRIST, and if someone does not endure to the end that person is no longer IN CHRIST and the promises are therefore not tied to him. The ”salvation bus” is predestined to go to heaven and guaranteed to be blessed, but who is in and who remains to the end? That is totally up to us and we know the conditions which are presented to us. Those who are in Christ are considered to be his holy children. The text does not say that the promises are provided with no conditions.

It might be a help to ask oneself what is predestined according to His purpose. In order to get the answer one must of course go back to the previous verses, because a verse can never be read in a vacuum. The answer is again ”the inheritance in Christ! The verse right (v. 12) after says ”That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ”, and v. 13 continues to talk about ”trusting” and ”believing”. It is possible that Paul includes the very first belivers in this sentence, and we should note that ”trusted” is an action that people might choose to do. God will not ”trust” for us or instaed of us. It is rather a condition for salvation. V. 19 says ”the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe. The believers are in Christ – again, the condition.

If I would tell someone about my work and say that ”all things” worked out perfectly fine – maybe even after the counsel of my will – the listener would not assume that I just claimed that every single thing in the entire world worked out absolutely great, and that I have solved all the world’s problems. Neither would the listener assume that I claimed to be the cause of all things that I said took place.

Compare:

Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Paul is here talking about being content no matter what state he is in (in both good and bad circumstances) and to be able to do the good works which God has prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10). Paul is not including everything under the sun in ”all things”, but the term must of course be understood in its context. The verse certainly does not say that byall things” you can do all forms of evil and wickedness through God who strengthens you. Similarly, Eph. 1:11 does not say that the “all things” would include evil and wickedness.

All things work out for good for all people  -more than in a general term?free will 3

Paul promises us in Rom. 8 that all things work out together for good to them that LOVE GOD, which of course is a condition for salvation. If Paul had meant that all things work out for good for all people everywhere, including all details from God’s perspective, then he could have skipped the condition of having to love God.

Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 

In the same chapter Paul explains which conditions that apply for escaping condemnation: 1) You must be IN JESUS, and 2) you must not walk after the flesh but after the Spirit. This is something that WE must make sure to do, and God will not do it for us:

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. — 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

He goes on to explain, that if we live according to the flesh (not an obligation), we cannot please God. The solution to the problem is of course to NOT live according to the flesh but after the Spirit:

Rom. 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Paul explains that we definitely do not have to live after the flesh. The choice is clear; if you live after the flesh you will die, and if you live after the Spirit you will live. Who are the sons of God? Those who have chosen to be led by the Spirit of God. If someone lives after the flesh, he can certainly not blame God for it but only himself. The better option is always to live by the Spirit in order to get life:

Rom. 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Paul tells us about the same wonderful promises of glorification just as in Eph. 1, but again, only for those who are God’s children who live after the Spirit:

Rom. 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Paul repeats again that all things work together for good to them that love God. The ”calling” is widespread because we know from the parable of the King’s wedding feast (Matt. 22) that many of those who were called to participate in the feast (they were even on the guest list) declined to go. One person who actually did go to the feast was still thrown out because he had neglected to wear appropriate clothes (his own responsibility). We are justified when we are cleansed from our past sins, and after this point our goal is to be conformed into the image of Jesus which is something to look forward to. We have an assurance in the hope of salvation while on earth, as long as we abide in Jesus of course. Rom. 8:29 is referring to those in v. 28, who love God. Do read about Rom 8:28-30 here.

Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God provides provisions and works all things after the counsel of his will, but he does not cause people to act according to some predestined plans. If God forces people to think and act in a certain way, what is the point of judging them for things they cannot possibly avoid?:

1 Cor.10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would prefer that they would repent in order to live:

Ez. 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

If someone ends up with an interpretation which makes God the greatest culprit and a lover of sin, this is clearly an erroneous understanding. A religion that blames the sin of all mankind on God is clearly incorrect. We should rather use this verse as a filter:

Ja. 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, NEITHER TEMPTETH HE ANY MAN 

We are requested to not excuse our sin by suggesting ”God made me do it”. God does not tempt anyone, much less causes anyone to sin, but in order to save the philosophy of Calvinism God must be blamed for the sin of all mankind even though it is blasphemy? Calvinists might try to solve the problem with ”it’s a miracle” or ”God’s ways are higher than our ways”, but in that case anyone can introduce contradictions into the Bible and excuse them by saying ”God’s ways are higher than our ways” and ”who are we to question God?”. 

It is a lot safer to agree with the Bible which says that God’s will does not always happen. Yet, he is still in control (does not mean micro management) and all things work out wonderfully for those who love him.

Saved as by fire as per 1 Cor. 3:15? Yes, but NOT if we sin!

eldIf any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Cor 3:15)

This verse does not say that we can be saved in our sins, and notice that sins are not even mentioned in the context. This is a warning to christians (not sinners) who might not always build their lives on a proper foundation, and sometimes also lack the proper motivation for doing good works.

There are christians who are satisfied by with having a ”fire insurance” – an insurance that gives them the right to at least be exempted from hell, as long as they believe in Jesus Christ. They are content with this type of  insurance because this means they can still get away with sinning once in a while, and the only thing they would ever risk amounts to reduced rewards in heaven. They might think it’s worth it because heaven is always heaven, and with this type of insurance they can both have their sins and their salvation too. You might exclaim that ”true christians wouldn’t reason in that way!”, but isn’t it true that also christians can choose to sin? And isn’t it likely that they might give in for sins more readily if they are being told they won’t end up in hell for it? The tragic thing is that we do NOT have an unconditional fire insurance. We risk to be cut off the vine and thrown in the fire if we lack fruit (John. 15), and we will not reap eternal life in heaven if we break the commandments and sin. If we love Jesus, we obey him (John. 14:15).

The context in 1 Cor. 3:15 shows that it concerns believing christians and their building material and building methods. Sin is nowhere mentioned, and it’s not even needed to be mentioned since we already know from the rest of the Bible that sins separate us from God unless we repent. Nothing unholy shall enter heaven, and sins evidently make us unholy.  We can read that the foundation that we build upon must be JESUS CHRIST (and not ourselves, a philosophy, a pastor, a church, a dear friend, money, high status, tradition or someone/something else).  It’s the motives in our hearts that will be judged by God. He can see what ground we are building on, and the reasoning in our hearts.  Our motive should be to spread the gospel about Jesus Christ in order to see people saved.

Paul is addressing ”brethren”, but he is warning these brethren. He also lists a few sins that would make us carnal, and if we are carnal we are not saved:

1 C0r. 3:For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Rom. 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Speaking about christians, Paul says that they shall receive ”his own reward” according to their LABOR. This indicates these christians at least do some work, which means they produce some good fruit. That is a good thing because we know that lukewarm christians are not saved. We will reap the reward of eternal life if we show our faith with good works, and we will also be rewarded individually depending on our works.

1 Cor. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Rom. 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Paul warns christians that they must take heed on the way they build their lives, and every man’s work shall one day be made manifest. Do we work in order to get a popular position in the society, or because we want to go with the flow? What are our true reasons?

1 Cor.3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

Paul says ”IF any man’s work abide”, meaning it’s not certain it will. It’s still ”work”, but will it abide? It depends on the motives. If it abides, the man shall receive both eternal life and individual gratification, but if the work does not abide but burned he will be saved but as by fire. If the man would be sinning on the other hand, he would not even be saved as through fire, but he wouldn’t even be able to enter the kingdom at all. This story is about christians who WORK, in combination with their motives for doing so. Paul ends with a warning to christians that if they defile the temple of God, which they all are, they will be DESTROYED.

1 Cor. 3:14 IF any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.15 IF any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Read also the next chapter which is also about the intent of the heart.

1 Cor. 4:Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

Three chapters later Paul lists sins that will prevent us from entering the kingdom of God, and christians are not exempted:

1 Kor. 6:Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

We can unfortunately be the cause for that a brother stumbles/falls/is offended, by the way we are living our lives:

1 Kor. 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (”stumble” NKJV)

Our righteousness is like filthy rags due to our INIQUITIES – Isaiah 64:6

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6)

This is the famous ”filthy rags” verse that sometimes is used as an attempt to support the idea that whatever we do – whether we are agnostics or christians – our best deeds are still viewed as filthy and unclean before God. But this is not what the verse is saying – particularly not if we view it in context. We can read that there are indeed people who wait for God and remember Him, and we can read about people who work righteousness. We can read about the REASON why certain people’s righteousness is like filthy rags before God and that it’s DUE TO INIQUITY. Sins always separate us from our Holy God. This is the entire context:

Isaiah 64:4For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that WAITETH for him5Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, those that REMEMBER thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. 6But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our INIQUITIES, like the wind, HAVE TAKEN US AWAY. 7And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, BECAUSE OF OUR INIQUITIES. 8But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 9Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

In the next chapter we can see more evidence of that it’s iniquities that cause God to view also our righteousness as filthy rags. There is no obligation to commit iniquities. God doesn’t want people to be rebellious and walk in a way that is unholy to him. We can read below that people walk after their own thoughts, provoke him to anger, offer sacrifices to false gods, make abominable things, blaspheme him, forsake him, refuse to answer him, refuse to hear him, make evil things before his eyes, do things he does not delight in, etc. People couldn’t possibly be predestined to ”choose” something that God does not take delight in, so this must mean that people have a free will to obey or disobey God. The next chapter says:

Isaiah 65: 2I have spread out my hands all the day unto a REBELLIOUS people, which walketh in a way that was not good, AFTER THEIR OWN THOUGHTS; 3A people that PROVOKETH me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; 4Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of ABOMINABLE THINGS is in their vessels;— 7Your INIQUITIES, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and BLASPHEMING ME upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.—11But ye are they that FORSAKE the LORD, that FORGET my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. 12THEREFORE will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: BECAUSE WHEN I CALLED, YE DID NOT ANSWER; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did EVIL BEFORE MY EYES, and did CHOOSE THAT WHEREIN I DELIGHTED NOT13Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:

It also makes perfect sense that God isn’t impressed even with our good deeds if we at the same time perform shameful things in other areas of our lives. (And as we know obedience is better than offerings.) If we confess our sins and REPENT on the other hand, then we are CLEANSED and regarded as righteous before God since we have no sins on our account any more. But we will never be considered ”righteous” as long as we live unrighteous lives. 

Our good works CAN please God IF we live righteously, and then they are NOT viewed as ”filthy rags”:

Matthew 25:21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35But in every nation he that feareth him, and WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, is accepted with him.

2 Pet 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed HIS righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)

Rom. 2:Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

Luke 6:45A good manout of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

The better option is to live holy lives, because then we don’t provide ”filthy rags” before God.

Being confident that he which has begun a good work will perform it to the end (Phil. 1:6)

phil. 1Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6)

There are loads of things we can say we are confident” about, due to past experiences and based on what we could reasonably expect to happen. I’m confident that I will get at least 250 hits on my blog today, because that’s the least amount of hits I normally get. I’m also confident that certain friends will continue to remain christians and work for the Lord throughout their lives, because they have shown enough good fruit to make me believe that. However, even if I’m confident about these things, there is no guarantee that what I’m confident about will absolutely take place.

Paul is addressing a certain group of believers in Philippi,  and not all christians in the whole world. He doesn’t know all christians under the sun intimately enough to make estimations about their future, but he was well acquainted with these particular believers in Philippi. Due to his past experiences and what he had witnessed, he feels confident that he which began a good work in them will perform it to the end. The verse doesn’t say that God, regardless of people’s own free will, predestines them to do good work (forcing them to do good works), because had it been up to God to make sure there is good works in us then of course God would make sure to do accomplish this at all times without failing even once.

Eph. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

What will happen if we choose to not walk in them? Still on the right track and saved?

2 Tim. 2: 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

We are asked to purge/cleanse ourselves from vessels of dishonor (sin), in order to be of use for God and prepared unto every good work. It’s about our willingness to obey the holy Spirit who leads us away from sin and into a world where we can be useful tools for God.

1 Tim. 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (NKJV)

Above we can see that good works can actually lead to eternal life. (Faith without works is dead.) It’s about giving God the honor because we are building good on him.

1 Cor. 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

This is the whole context of Phil. 1:

Phil. 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: —3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 8For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. 9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

The reason Paul feels confident about this group of christians is because he has witnessed their godly lives and noticed that they have proved to be trustworthy workers. ”For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now”. That’s why Paul is convinced that God will continue to bless them and let the holy Spirit be a big part of their work. Paul will also continue to pray for them and keep them in his heart, which will also affect the outcome.  Praying for people will help influence them to know what is right and in the end to be without blemish until the day of Christ. With other words, there is no guarantee that born again christians will be without blemish on judgment day, because it depends on if they endure to the end or not – by living righteous lives. However, we know that we are in the vine if we follow the Spirit instead of our flesh.

The chapter mentions ”confident” yet again (actually twice…)

14And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.15Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

Paul suggests that his own imprisonment actually brings the good result that many brothers feel confident in God, perhaps due to Paul’s impeccable confidence. They are being helped to preach the word of God with no fear, albeit not everyone because Paul mentions that there are christians who preach about Jesus of contention and not through sincere concern for the lost. Maybe they were out to tear down what Paul had built up by introducing false doctrines that cause division among believers. Paul also warned about this precise situation:

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Paul encourages his christian friends to continue to pray for him, and he says that their prayers and the supply of the Spirit will lead to his salvation. Naturally Paul’s own willingness to obey the holy Spirit is fundamental.

19For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Paul has the confidence that it’s best for him  to remain with them for yet a little time. He continues to encourage and warn his fellow christians to be strong in their faith and to strive together for the gospel.

25And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;26That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.27Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

In Phil. 2:12 below we can see that these believers are those who have ”always obeyed.” This is more revelation as to why Paul was so confident about the christian Philippians.

Phil. 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Paul reveals that these christians helped him financially (Phil. 4:10-19), which is yet another example of good fruit. There is no biblical promise of security given to those who are not grounded in Jesus, but throughout the New Testament Paul gives true believers many warnings, that they must not shipwreck their faith.

1 Tim. 41 Tim. 4: 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

2 Tim. 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Titus 2:6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.—11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (NKJV)