There's a saying which is often repeated in the business world, "no job is finished until the paperwork is done." With "tax season" upon us the truth of that saying is more real than ever. It would be an understatement to say that the amount of paperwork required for tax purposes for even a small business is ridiculous. When all of the forms and schedules are finished then we all breathe a sigh of relief unless there is a big bill to pay and then our heartaches begin again. We have to wait until the paperwork is done in order to determine whether or not we have lived up to our expectations.
In the matter of redemption which the LORD JESUS has procured for HIS elect bride, HE finished the "paperwork" first. Those for whom HE shed HIS precious blood were recorded in the LAMB's book of Life before the world was ever created. In fact HIS whole purpose was determined before HE ever set foot upon the soil of earth in the likeness of sinful flesh, as HE sprung forth from the womb of the virgin Mary. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." (1 Peter 1:18-20) "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." (Eph 1:4) So it is clear that HE knew the end from the beginning because HE determined the end and the beginning and all things in between.
The only ONE worthy to manifest the purpose of GOD in the earth was the LORD JESUS CHRIST. HE has loosed those seven seals of that Book which John saw and is seen as the ONE who had already prevailed. "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." (Rev 5:9) By HIS own power and might HE has determined the means whereby HE would justify the elect and by the same power HE has accomplished in time that which HE determined to be done in eternity. "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Eph 5:27) HE has not just attempted her redemption nor has he merely set the wheels in motion and is awaiting the outcome of what will take place according to her free will decisions.
Some seem to think that men walk in obedience to HIS commands because of their own volition and so they spend great amounts of time cajoling men to follow HIM. They use every tactic in the book, from shame to reward, to try to stimulate men to obedience,. Some have a little more spiritual outlook and contend that HE creates in men a "holy nature" which in turn causes them to walk in obedience to HIM. The problem with this view is that even the warmest of our thoughts is but cold. As the hymn writer said:
Thus pursued, and thus distressed, Ah! whither shall we fly?
To obtain the promised rest, On what sure hand rely?
Shall the Christian trust his heart? That, alas! of foes the worst,
Always takes the tempter's part; Nay, often tempts him first.
J.Hart. Gadsby #795
The truth is that even those whom HE has redeemed are yet "weak in the flesh" and cannot even so much as call upon HIS name except that HE should undergird them with strength and power and therefore HE not only commands HIS children to follow HIM but HE "performs" in them all that HE requires of them. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Phi 2:13) Do we lack love for our brethren? HE alone can make us to love them. Do we neglect the place of prayer? HE alone can stir our souls to cry out to HIM. Does our pride rise up within us? HE alone can humble our pride and bring us down to HIS feet in repentance. Do we lack understanding? HE alone can open our minds and fill our hearts with HIS truth. Do we find our faith to be weak? HE alone can give us faith. Do we have no joy? HE alone can cause us to rejoice. Whatever HE has called us to do HE will perform. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." (1Thes, 5:23-24)
We often think of a "performer" as someone who is an entertainer or who puts on a display for someone to observe. The scriptural meaning of perform (and therefore perform-er) is: to accomplish, finish, or complete. Our text says "HE which hath BEGUN a good work in you, will PERFORM it". So we could paraphrase what he is saying as " whatever HE starts HE will finish". Oh what a glorious thought, that the ONE who began a work in our behalf before we ever even drew breath or had our first thought shall bring to pass exactly what HE determined to do for us even though we perish and as Job says, "the skin worms destroy my flesh". (see Job 19:25-27) HE shall not fail to accomplish that which HE has begun. If HE is my PERFORMER:
It does not matter how weak I may be. We should all like to boast of having great faith and there are even some who claim to possess it in great abundance. Yet the truth is that we quite often find ourselves crying out to HIM, LORD I believe, help thou my unbelief. But it makes no difference for if HE is our performer even the very devils of hell shall tremble at our approach. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."(2Cor 12:9-10)
It does not matter whether I live or die. Paul said, "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." (Rom 14:8) Though our bodies are filled with disease and all of the great physicians and healers have given up on us, yet if HE be our PERFORMER, we shall live forever.
It does not matter whether men approve of me or not. No one likes to be an outcast and have men speak ill of him. But if HE is our PERFORMER we care not what the world should say or do. "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:18-19)
It does not matter that I feel condemned for my sin. "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things." (1John 3:20) Our acceptance in the courts of heaven is not in any way predicated on how "acceptable" we may feel. But our acceptance is based solely on our PERFORMER. "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph 1:6-7)mam