Philippians 2:13 Is Encouraging
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
(Philippians 2:13 (KJV)
The verse above is an encouraging word from the Apostle Paul. In its preceding verse, 12, Paul encourages the Philippian Christians to “work out [their] own salvation,” meaning we are to put the truth of our belief into practice.
Paul encourages us believers concerning who we now are by our ‘spirit-union with Christ as our new indwelling life’ … needing now to be “worked out” through our decisions, actions, and attitudes. This would then be the ‘out-working’ of the indwelling life of Christ in the believer.
The reason for this command is given here in our titled text, verse 13 – whereby God is acting in the lives of the believers.
“For it is God which worketh IN YOU both to WILL and to DO of his good pleasure.”
His “good pleasure” includes what is best for us, for our eternal good, while it is also in accord with God’s eternal plan “from before the world began.”
This understanding should lead us as believers to a deep sense of awe and appreciation for having been made partakers of Christ’s divine resurrection life. Thereby each genuine believer has the indwelling life and power to live-out His righteous life in the rarified atmosphere of God’s love and pure grace.
Thus, the Apostle Paul addresses two areas in which God operates in the life of the believer.
- God works in us to “will” according to “His good pleasure.” This includes the idea of placing His desires or leading into the believer… to serve the Lord’s will. This is always in accord with the written words we have from the Apostle Paul for us as members of the Gentile “body of Christ.”
- God also works in us “to do,” that is to live and work in accord with “His good pleasure.” God’s Spirit in the believer gives us both the desire and the strength to live and work for the Lord as His “ambassadors” on earth while He is yet in royal exile.
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20 (KJV)
So, Christ is always alive and working in us – we just need to not insist in our will in place of His will.
The “work” of the Lord appears as a common theme in Paul’s letter to the Philippians as seen in 1:6; 2:12, 25, 30; 4:3. The idea of “his good pleasure” thus involves our free-will obedience (Philippians 2:12) according to the working of God’s Spirit in us.
This is not the legalistic obedience as under “the law” for Israel. Paul speaks against in the false teachings of “the circumcision (Israel),” but rather obedience based on a love for God, which based upon “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” living and working in and through the believer.