Philippians 2:13 "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure Having presented the believer's responsibility in sanctification in 2:12, Paul in verse 13 focused on God's role in the believer's sanctification. While the believer is working “out,” God is working “in.” In fact, apart from the reality of verse 13, the fulfillment of verse 12 would be impossible. In verse (13), Paul indicates the divine work in sanctification by emphasizing five key features about God: His person, His power, His presence, His purpose, and His pleasure.
His person “for it is God.” The first truth about God's part in believers' sanctification is His personhood, which is made clear by the personal pronouns who and His and by the verbs to will and to work. The God of Scripture has unimaginable love for fallen, sinful mankind, which has rebelled against Him, blasphemed Him, and vilified Him. He has such great love for them “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17). It is not the Lord's will “for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
The omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Creator and Sustainer of the universe loves His children with everlasting love and kindness. God protects them according to His everlasting covenant and promises, forgives and cleanses with everlasting grace through His Son, and calls, gifts, and empowers them by His Spirit for spiritual service with everlasting impact. He sanctifies and will glorify those whom He has justified, bringing them into His heavenly kingdom to live with Him for all eternity. Rom. 11:33-36: Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
His power “who is at work.” The second essential truth emphasized here about God's part in believers' sanctification is His divine power. Above all else, it is God who is at work in the lives of His children. He calls them to obey, and then, through His sovereign power, empowers their obedience. He calls them to His service, and then empowers their service. He calls them to holiness, and then empowers them to pursue holiness. Gal. 3:3: Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Rom. 7:18: For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 1 Cor. 15:10: But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 2 Cor. 3:5: Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. Eph. 3:7: of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. Eph. 3:20-21: Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
It is important that believers minister to each other, because that is God's will (Gal. 5:13). It is als God's will that preachers and teachers minister to the church (Eph. 4:11-13). It is important that the holy angels minister to believers, because god send out those “ministering spirits... to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14). But above all else, God Himself is believers' supreme and indispensable resource and power. The wonder of all wonders is tht it is God who is at work in them. Paul summed it up in Col. 1:29 when he said, “I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”
Ps. 23: The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
His Presence “in you.” The third essential truth about God's part in believers' sanctification is His divine
presence. The preposition in is often featured in Paul's writings as the records the beloved truth that Jesus Christ dwells in
believers (Rom. 8:9-10; Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27; John 17:22-23). John 14:16-17: "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. Acts 1:8: Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 1 Cor. 3:16 (reminding the Corinthians that God is in them): Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor. 6:19: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 2 Cor. 6:16: Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Heb. 13:5: Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," Rom. 8:28: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
His purpose “both to will and to work.” The fourth essential truth emphasized here, which is at the heart of God's work in believers' sanctification, is His divine purpose. That purpose is revealed by wht Hie energizes believers to do—to will and to work.
The phrase both to will and to work is best interpreted as referring not to God's will and work but to that of believers. The will to do what is right before God must precede any effective work that is done toward that end. A genuine desire to do God's will, as well as the power to obey it, originates with Him. To will refers to thoughtful, purposeful choice, not to mere whim or emotional
God uses two means to move believers' wills. First is with might be called holy discontent, the humble recognition that one's life always falls short of God's standard of holiness. (Isa. 6:1-5; Rom. 7:24). The second means God uses to move believers' wills is holy aspiration, the positive side of holy discontent. After he instills a genuine hatred of sin, He cultivates a genuine desire for righteousness. (Phil. 3:12-14) Heb. 13:20-21: Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Eph. 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
His pleasure “for his good pleasure” The fifth and final essential reality about God's part in believers sanctification is
the overwhelming truth that God works in their sanctification for His own good pleasure. His will for believers is that they think
and do what pleases Him. Although that is accomplished primarily by His own power, when His children seek His will and do His work, it brings Him great pleasure.