February 17, 2008

He will finish

A few years ago a few people wore T-shirts with PBPGINFWMY on the front. These letters stand for “Please be patient; God is not finished with me yet.” When I’m impatient with my own spiritual progress, I need to remind myself that God will do it.

The reading for today in God is Enough reminds me again. It begins: “No longer is it truth about Christ that must fill our hearts, but it is Himself, the living, loving, glorious Christ. If we let Him, He will make us His dwelling place, to reign and rule within us and “subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:21).

That verse in Philippians is about God transforming our bodies. One of my commentaries says that God will not only make the body like His own, but “subdue all things,” even death itself, as well as Satan and sin. My body isn’t there yet, but I do know a little of the glory of being subdued to Christ. This is not bondage but great freedom, since the alternative is being subjected by sin and Satan. Been there, done that, and it isn’t good.

The commentary goes on to say that the transformation of believers “is not a change of identity, but of fashion or form” and as “Christ’s glorified body was essentially identical with His body of humiliation; so our resurrection bodies as believers, since they shall be like His, shall be identical essentially with our present bodies, and yet ‘spiritual bodies’” (1 Corinthians 15:42–44).

This is why Jesus could say to His disciples, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Being transformed into His image is not only a bodily transformation but one in which my character and way of thinking will be changed.

This is a God-thing. The Bible is filled with encouraging words that He will do it. Hebrews 13:20-21, for instance, says, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will; working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Again, I’m not there yet. I’ve been a Christian for nearly forty years and am still learning things so simple that I’m humbled because it took so long. Those also remind me that my Maker is not finished making me—yet.

Paul wrote to the Philippians that he was “confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6), so when my confidence lags, I’m glad for this reminder, and for all of God’s promises. Someday the work God began in me will be finished, just as the work He began in Genesis will be finished in Revelation. Romans 8:21 says that on that day, the whole creation, including me, will be “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” In the meantime, I must keep telling myself PBPGINFWMY.

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