When we have done something successfully before, we might be confident to do it again. But when the job, journey, relationship or study course is new, how do we know that we will be able to carry on to the end. That uncertainty is magnified when we have previously experienced difficulty or failure. Paul had suffered persecution and is writing from prison to new believers who are also facing opposition. None of them knows what each day will bring. But Paul wants to reassure them that, in Christ, he is sure that they will complete God's assignment for them.
Such confidence may appear at odds with their circumstances, with their assessment of their own ability to cope and with their internal feelings. And indeed, if those were the only factors determining the outcome of their faith, they would all fail. So would all of us. Although many try to live religiously by a set of rules, none succeed in satisfying their own consciences, let alone God's standard. But true faith in Jesus does not work like that. Faith does not start because we have a bright idea; we can only begin to believe in Jesus because God speaks to us, convicts us of sin and helps our early steps of faith (see www.crosscheck.org.uk to know more). After that, every covering-over of sin is by His mercy, and every blessing is through His grace. Every day we can receive grace to help us in our time of need (cf Heb 4:16).
You see, God has been at work in us all the time: will He drop us now? Of course not! He has invested so much in us; He is not going to abandon us when things get tough. And we are not just an investment; we are His children - that should give us even more reason for being confident that He will not forsake us. Jesus is looking forward to the day when He will be physically recognised by all the people who have trusted Him, even though they have never seen Him (cf John 20:29). Of course He will keep on working in our hearts to get us ready for that great event, and the whole of eternity to come. So be encouraged! The Lord is at work; and He is working in your friends and colleagues who trust Him too. Why not encourage them and find time to pray together, giving thanks that your future is secure in God's hands.
© Dr Paul Adams