Can We Really Do All Things Through Christ?

by Todd Friel on August 27, 2017; last featured July 24, 2022
Featured in Answers Magazine
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Ask a Christian to name a Bible verse that suggests the earth is billions of years old, and they’ll almost certainly trot out 2 Peter 3:8, saying something like, “A thousand years is like a day, so God could have taken billions of years to create the earth.” At that moment, you should throw a penalty flag for context violation. 2 Peter 3:3–7 makes it clear that Peter was talking about judgment day, not creation week.

Unfortunately, many believers commit the same error with Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV). There are six reasons a Christian can’t do all things, even through Christ.

  1. It is obvious that we can’t do absolutely everything. Try as I might, I’m never going to be a ballerina in the Bolshoi Ballet.
  2. How do we explain boxing champ Evander Holyfield getting knocked out cold with Philippians 4:13 embroidered on his trunks?
  3. Who wins the football game if both teams claim they can do all things through Christ?
  4. Apparently this verse didn’t apply to ten disciples (and Paul) who were brutally executed for their faith.
  5. To claim this verse as a universal promise is to forget the book of Job. Sometimes God doesn’t want us to do all things. His plans trump our desires.
  6. But the sixth and chief reason this verse does not apply to every Christian in every circumstance is: context, context, context.
    • In Philippians 4:3, Paul talks about our labor in the gospel together.
    • In verse 12, Paul describes his ability to endure hunger and need.
    • In verse 14, Paul states that he has suffered trouble.

Now consider Philippians 4:13. Paul was not claiming he could start a successful business or set an Olympic diving record. Paul was basically saying, “When I am being persecuted because I am a Christian who proclaims the gospel, God will give me strength to endure.”

Philippians 4:13 applies to you if you qualify for the criteria Paul defined.

  • If you are unequally yoked and your spouse is causing you grief because of your faith, you can be assured that Christ will give you strength to endure.
  • If you are an employee who is being held back because you are a Christian, this verse is most certainly for you.
  • If you are a student who is shunned because everyone knows you are a “born-again, young-earth Christian,” know that Christ will give you sufficient strength.

Can you do all things? No. Will God help you through trials and tribulations because you are a Christian? Absolutely.

Todd Friel studied four years to be a pastor but without Christ. He did secular TV, radio, and stand-up comedy for six years before God saved him. Today he hosts Wretched TV and Radio.

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