Philippians 1:6 Confidence in Logistical Grace

Before you begin this or any study of the Word of God, because you are ultimately taught by God the Holy Spirit, make sure you are in fellowship with Him.  When you are in fellowship with Him, He empowers you to both learn and apply Bible Doctrine.  To regain His filling, apply 1 John 1:9, by naming your sins to God the Father.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

For more information on this, read this article.

An Exegetical Teaching Manuscript
Chapter Outline
Verse 1-2:        The Salutation
Verse 3-           Paul’s Prayer for the Philippians
ü    Verses 1-2  Paul and Timothy, slaves belonging to Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus, to those residing in Philippi, together with pastor-teachers and deacons. Grace to you and so prosperity from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
ü    Verses 3-5  Every time I remember you, I thank God for all of you.  [Always in my every prayer, for of all of you.] because of your contribution for the purpose of spreading the Gospel from that first day until now.

Verse 6     Confidence in Logistical Grace

Pertinent Verses
“My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“Surely my soul remembers and is humbled within me.  This I recall to mind; therefore I have hope.  The Lord’s gracious functions never cease; His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul; ‘therefore, I have faith under pressure.’  The Lord is good to those who trust in Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:20-25 RBT
Verse Outline
                             I.            Introduction
                           II.            Paul’s Confidence
                         III.            The Object of Paul’s Confidence
                         IV.            The Goal of Logistical Grace
                          V.            The Limits of Logistical Grace

                  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NASB

                       I.        Introduction

As believers in Jesus Christ, we often make our best friends at the local church where we attend.  Of those people, there are those you know who will continue to grow up spiritually and those who don’t.  We all have setbacks of carnality or short stints of carnality.  Yet, despite those setbacks of carnality or short stints of reversionism; certain people will continue to advance in the spiritual life. God has most graciously designed the spiritual life in such a way that you can recover from setbacks of carnality.  What puts you into that status quo of carnality?  You are out of fellowship when you have sinned by the use of your volition: a choice you always make. Take responsibility for that sin by admitting your sin to God the Father then keep learning doctrine, keep on applying doctrine.

God has designed the Church Age spiritual life so that it is fairly easy to recover from mistakes you make.  But to recover from bad decisions you’ve made in the secular life? It is not often that easy or that simple.  Often, when the believer is carnal he leaves the wreckage of damaged relationships and lost opportunity in his wake.  But God has made it possible to recover from these blunders in the spiritual life.

In this verse, Paul expresses his confidence in the future greatness of this Philippian congregation, despite setbacks they may have.  His confidence is not necessarily because of the certain people involved, but because of the Biblical principle involved.  In other words, these Philippian believers are like those you meet every day; they were not perfect.  They failed just as you and I do but God gave them the opportunity to recover just as He does us.  They recovered and kept growing spiritually despite setbacks.

If people stay with the Bible doctrine, learning it and applying it, they will advance in the spiritual life, despite setbacks. You see, Paul has confidence in the doctrinal principle which says this, not necessarily the people involved.  Why not the people?  Inevitably, some fail and some succeed spiritually.  This issue is never the people involved but what the Bible teaches.

                   II.        Paul’s Confidence

For I am confident of this very thing…
Let’s get to our verse now.  We’re going to call this short paragraph, “Paul’s Confidence.” The verse in the NASB starts with: “For I am confident of this very thing…”  The Greek sounds like this: “PEPOITHOS AUTOS TOUTO…” πεποιθὼςαὐτὸ τοῦτο.    
This verse begins PEPOITHOS πεποιθὼς, a participle acting as a verb.  It is the perfect active participle from the verb PEITHW πείθω which means “to obey,” “to believe,” “to convince,” or “to be sure.”  In the perfect tense, it means, “to have confidence.”  In terms of the syntax, this is the perfect of existing state.  Using this perfect tense, Paul emphasizes his present state of confidence, which has resulted from a past action. He has total and complete confidence in his own and the Philippians present state of advancement in the spiritual life.  The past action is their spiritual growth which God has honored.  It began at salvation and continues to the time of writing.  So, he is confident in the fact that they are utilizing God’s provision and continuing to grow up spiritually.  The dramatic perfect emphasizes this existing state of spiritual maturity.  This participle is in the active voice; a simple active voice.  Paul produces the action of the verb, confidence, as a result of his spiritual life, which came from combining the grace of God with his own positive volition. 
We can glean at principle from this.  Your positive volition combines with God’s grace to cause your spiritual growth.  Paul had every intention of continuing his spiritual growth, of which confidence is a natural result. Because of his continued spiritual growth, Paul would glorify God.  It is a causal participle, adding the concept of “cause,” so it is best translated “because I have confidence.”
The third person personal pronoun AUTO αὐτὸ follows. Grammatically, it is in the accusative neuter singular of αὐτός. Syntactically, it is the intensive or reflexive use  serving to emphasize what Paul’s great confidence is based upon. So, it isn’t translated as “it” or a “thing” as it could be, but emphatically as “itself” or as the NASB translators do, “very thing.”  We’ll use the term “itself” and place it correctly in the sentence structure later.  We will expand the translation in a minute to include just what “it” is.
We can make an application of the fact that Paul has great confidence. There is no place in the spiritual life for doubt.  Confidence is a spiritual asset, as long as it is based upon the ultimate standard, the Word and perfect character of God. 
Next in Greek word order is the nominative masculine singular of the immediate demonstrative pronoun TOUTO τοῦτο.  It is translated “this” referring to and emphasizing a principle from something in the immediate context.  So Paul’s confidence is placed on a factor in the immediate context of this verse: a principle he teaches in the next phrase.
Right now, we will translate that phrase as: “because I have confidence in this itself.”  “This” again, refers to a principle.  We will derive the source of that principle and be specific about it in a minute or two.  We will see from the next phrase that Paul has confidence in their advance as a principle of doctrine not in the individuals necessarily.  His confidence is in the Lord’s work on their behalf, making their spiritual growth possible.
Some believers have more spiritual setbacks than others.  It may be a matter of environment, bad upbringing or really, just bad decisions!  We all fail!! This is a principle that every believer should receive a bit of relief from.  If you fail from time to time…or are in the middle of failure right now, you are not alone!  God has provided for that failure. If and when you do fail, do you have the tendency to beat yourself about the head and shoulders, kicking yourself in the rear end for that failure?  Remember that God has graciously given each one of us, yes, you too, the perfect provision for recovery.  He has given us a simple mechanic to apply which wipes our slates clean from sin.  Name your sin or sins to God the Father and then move on with your spiritual growth!  Don’t punish yourself, leave that to God!  If He punishes you, it will be from His love for you (I suspect that you don’t punish yourself from love!)  I want to emphasize here, the word: Grace Provision!
You can be sure that as long as you remain positive to the Word of God, as long as you faithfully listen to the teaching of the Word under the filling ministry of the Holy Spirit, despite setbacks, you will advance in the spiritual life. God has provided perfectly for your advance!
…that He who began a good work in you…
Let’s continue with the object of Paul’s confidence.  Just what exactly does Paul have confidence in?  Continuing this verse is HOTI ὅτι, a conjunction translated, “that.”  ENARZAMENOS ἐναρξάμενος follows. This verb is an aorist middle participle, nominative masculine singular from the compound verb, ENERCHOMAI ἐνάρχομαι.  The noun, in its grammatical form means, “to begin.”  It is articular, hence the preceding definite article, HO ὁ.  The articular construction indicates that this is the substantival use of the participle, meaning that it acts as a noun instead of a verb here.  You remember that the last participle we dealt with in the last phrase was verbal. So we will translate it as. “He who began.”  It refers to God the Father who is the subject of this clause.  Syntactically, this is an ingressive aorist tense. It views the Philippians spiritual progress from its beginning at the moment of salvation to the point of their current status, early spiritual adulthood, in its entirety but with the emphasis upon the beginning of their spiritual growth.  
The indirect middle voice emphasizes an agent as producing the action of the verb.  God the Father acts indirectly, through the provision of logistical grace. What is in view here is the provision of God the Father through logistical grace making the Philippians’ spiritual progress possible.  The issue of this middle voice is this; God the Father as the agent of this action  provides what believers need indirectly.  He provides everything to all believers through a doctrinal principle called logistical grace.  It comes to us from the source of His integrity which is His love.  It is dependent upon who and what He is, never upon us. We do not earn it from our good works.   We do nothing to earn it at all nor do we deserve it.  We can take no credit for any aspect of logistical grace with the Father provides.
EN HUMIN ἐν ὑμῖν are the last two words in this phrase. The first word is EN ἐν, a preposition.  It precedes the locative plural from the personal pronoun SU. This can be translated Southern style: “in ya’ll.” SU is in the plural because more than one Philippian believer is mature.  So this phrase is translated: “that He who began in ya’ll…”
We can derive some principles from this phrase: “that He who has begun in ya’ll”  Let’s make this a bit more personal and just say: “…that He who began in you…”
a.       God the Father, who supported the Philippian believers, supports us as well. He begins this support at the point of salvation.
b.      If you are still alive, God has a plan for your life. 
c.       He makes absolutely sure that you will stay alive.  His faithfulness is the issue here. 
d.      We receive everything God provides for us on a totally non-meritorious basis. 
e.       We do not earn or deserve anything we have in this life.
f.       The integrity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is the issue here. We have everything we have because of who and what God is.
g.      Our response to God’s loving support must be twofold:
                                                              i.      First we should be grateful and have an attitude of thanksgiving for everything He has given us.  We must parlay that gratitude into a love response.
                                                            ii.      Secondly, we must translate these logistical grace blessings to blessings of spiritual maturity. 
h.      When we mature, that is when we arrive at the point of being oriented to His grace, we must understand that we haven’t earned or deserved those blessings of maturity anymore than we do the blessings of logistical grace.  Nor do we deserve the wonderful blessings we have when we go through dying grace.  It is all a matter of God’s grace on our behalf.
i.        In our 9th point let’s look at the stages of spiritual growth that every believer goes through and relate them to how God supports us in each stage.
Let’s first look at the period between the instant we were saved to the moment we enter into the first stage of spiritual adulthood.  This period is characterized by spiritual childhood.  We began to learn and to apply the beginning problem-solving devices.  We will be studying these problem solving devices in later studies.  But, as an aside here; there is one which you should already have mastered: that involves taking responsibility for your failures as a believer.  By now, you should be routinely naming your sin or sins to the Father and resuming your spiritual growth after a failure.  During this period of spiritual childhood, you are supported by logistical grace support. 
When you grow spiritually beyond childhood, you enter into the first stage of spiritual adulthood.  You will find that God’s support changes at this point to include more blessing.  This support will sustain you until you reach the next stage of spiritual growth. This second stage of spiritual adulthood’s spiritual growth is characterized by a period of rest and relaxation, a sort of breather before God starts to test your spiritual growth. Here you will develop love for God the Father based upon your newly gained knowledge of Him, not based upon empty, foundationless emotion.  This is not to say, you will not respond with emotion when you appreciate Him, but that emotion will be a response to your knowledge of Him.  Simultaneously developed with your new gained love for Him is virtue love for those in the human race.  We will devote an entire lesson to the concept of virtue love down the road.  Let me give you just a brief explanation of each of these now.
You will learn to love God the Father personally, based upon you knowledge of Him, as you grow spiritually, coming to appreciate Him for who and what He is.  You love Him personally because He fulfills the norms and standards that you have developed from doctrine.  You will come to have virtue love for every member of the human race, emulating Christ’s love for the human race when He sacrificed Himself for it, paying the price for every sin ever committed in human history.  No one in the human race fulfilled our Lord’s norm for objects of love. He loved the human race because of his own virtue.  You will develop a similar virtue from your spiritual growth, loving people because you have virtue and integrity, not because they fit your norms as being those you love personally. 
In this first stage of spiritual adulthood, you will also experience first system of testing.  RB Thieme appropriately called this providential preventative suffering.  God allows you to recieve a dose of undeserved suffering, undeserved to prevent you from getting arrogant from your promotion into spiritual adulthood.  This will keep you from thinking: I’ve arrived…aren’t I great! You may remember Paul’s thorn in the flesh.  That was providential preventative suffering.
Now that you are in the first stage of spiritual adulthood, God supports you with a measure of prosperity blessings as well as your previous logistics. Now, in your next stage of spiritual growth, God gives you more blessings and logistics to carry you through to the next stage of spiritual growth. 
To shorten the duration of our lesson, we’ll jump to the last stage of spiritual adulthood during which you finally reach occupation with Christ.  When you reach occupation with Christ, you will have arrived!  This stage of spiritual adulthood is characterized by an extreme system of testing called evidence Testing.  Here your faith is tested to the maximum.  God supports you with grace blessings which are designed to carry you through this extreme testing.  You may even experience privation as a part of your testing, but you will be supported through it because God will always keep you alive to fulfill his plan for your life.
Finally, you pull through evidence testing and you emerge, totally occupied with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  You have an unshakable reliance upon God.  You are now in the highest status of spiritual growth, the sunum bonum of the Christian way of life.  In this stage, God supports you with a distribution of blessings reserved for the fully mature believer.  You will be prospered fully in the area God intends to prosper you in.  This is where you want to be spiritually!
      Some more principles:
1.      By giving to us the blessings in the Devil’s world, God is glorified.
2.      When God blesses believers with whom you have little rapport or don’t particularly like, God is glorified by the imputation of those blessings to those believers.
3.      God’s faithfulness in providing for us, always depends upon His character, not upon us. 
4.      So the key to life as well as the key to this passage is the faithfulness of God!
               An expanded translation of this verse thus far reads as this:
“I have confidence in this doctrine itself that He who has begun (on the day you were saved) in you…” Philippians 1:6a
…will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Our phrase in this verse reads in the NASB as “…will perfect it…” The Greek reads as this: ERGON AGATHOS EPITELESEI ἒργονἀγαθόςἐπιτελέω
Following the Greek word order, the word “work” or ERGON comes next.  This is the anartharous accusative form of ERGON, translated “deed,” “action” or work.  In this context ERGON ἒργονcan be considered as that which is brought into being by God the Father through logistical grace.  The anartharous construction, that is, lack of the definite article, denotes the incredible quality of logistical grace.  This particular category of grace begins at the moment of salvation.  This continues until you break the maturity barrier at which time these blessings are parlayed into grace blessings to carry you through to the next stage of spiritual adulthood.  As you grow spiritually, God parlays the previous blessings into the blessings for the next stage of spiritual growth. During these times of testing, God will allow you to face intense testing which will require that you apply every bit of doctrine you know.  All of these blessings also form a down payment of the blessings the mature believer will receive in the eternal state. 
The accusative singular direct object of AGATHOS ἀγαθόςcontinues the verse.  AGATHOS ἀγαθόςis translated “good,” but it refers to good of intrinsic value.  God is absolutely perfect perfection so anything that comes from God has to be absolutely intrinsically perfect.  It cannot be less than perfect.  God cannot provide less than that which is perfect.  The word ‘intrinsic’ means that wherever something of quality is found, it still retains its original value.  For instance, gold, ounce for ounce holds the same value whether it’s found in a gold filling, or on your finger as a ring or as bullion.  Gold always holds its value. 
The verse continues with the third person future active indicative of the verb EPITELEW ἐπιτελέω, generally translated “to perform,” “to accept” or “to fully complete.”  The best translation here is “will complete it.”  This gnomic future tense indicates what always happens for the believer who is between the two stages of spiritual adulthood and your spiritual goal, occupation with Christ.  The active voice indicates that the subject of the verb, God the Father produces the action of the verb by supporting the believer logistically.  He did this for the Philippian believers and He does it for all believers who are pressing toward the high ground of occupation with Christ.  The declarative indicative mood indicates that this is a point of absolute truth, a point that can be accepted dogmatically.  God always provides logistical grace!
So far, the translation reads this way:
 “I have confidence in this doctrine itself that He who has begun (on the day you were saved) in you a good work will complete it…” Philippians 1:6
           The final phrase in this verse is: “until the Day of Christ.”  The Greek reads this way: ARCHI HEMERA XRISTOS IESOU ἄχριἡμέραΧριστόςἸησοῦς.
The improper preposition ARCHI ἄχρι, “until,” with the descriptive genitive of three words complete this verse.  The three words are HEMERA ἡμέραXRISTOS ΧριστόςIESOU Ἰησοῦς, “the Day of Christ.”  This is a reference to what theologians call the Rapture of the Church.  This is the time the Church is to be resurrected and transported from the earth to heaven.  Every believer on earth at that time will be resurrected then join our Lord in the air as per 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.  Believers who have already died will join them there for a time of great worship before being transported to heaven.  Jesus Christ is the central Person involved with the resurrection of the Church.  The point of these words is this: God keeps every believer alive, providing the necessary logistics for spiritual growth, until it is time for that believer to be removed from this life.  This grace will continue to be given to every believer until every Church Age believer is caught up in the sky, at which time, logistics will no longer be necessary. 
The complete verse is translated as
Because I have confidence in this doctrine (logistical grace) itself that He who began a good work in you (grace support from the moment of salvation) will complete or accomplish it until the Day of Christ. Philippians 1:6
God has a plan for every Church Age believer.  It has a defined objective; spiritual maturity.
The believer generally progresses through three distinct stages of spiritual growth in spiritual adulthood.  The divine objective is never stated in terms of production but of capacity and concentration upon our Lord.  Works and production are always the result of spiritual growth, never the means.  To make works and production the means of growth is tantamount to legalism.
Saying that God doesn’t have the ability to bring you to these objectives but that you have to help Him by your works, and prayer is blasphemy.  God does not need our help.
 This plan and objective from grace demands logistical grace provision from the Planner.  It will continue until the resurrection or the rapture.  Logistical support will not be needed after the rapture.
 Out of these principles come some conclusions:
1.      As long as you are alive, God has a plan for your life.
2.      You can never divorce that plan from Bible Doctrine resident in your soul.  Orientation to and function in that plan depends upon Bible Doctrine resident in your soul.
3.      All objectives in the spiritual life are accomplished by learning, believing and applying the Word of God.
4.      All positive logistical grace comes through positive volition to doctrine.
5.      All negative logistics come through negative volition to or rejection of Bible Doctrine.  This provision comprises the stages of divine discipline.
One final note on this verse:  It has been used to support the contention that no matter what the believer thinks, says or does, God will continue to make sure that he grows, that God alone guarantees this.  Not so!  This passage refers to the provision available to every Church Age believer for spiritual growth resulting in glorification of God.  God provides everything necessary logistically to grow.  But you, the believer must supply positive volition.  You must make yourself available to the teaching of the Word of God on a daily basis. 

Pertinent Doctrines

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  • Rick  On July 18, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I have read through a couple of Pastor Jim’s studies and really enjoyed the detail to which he goes into the Greek.

    I wish I could see his study on Phil 2:6-8.


    • Pastor Jim Oliver  On July 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Rick, Thanks for thanks note! I have yet to get that far! In the meantime, check in the “about Pastor Jim” page for links to other studies I’ve been able to post. In Him, Jim

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