Phil. 2:12-13 ¶ So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

It is impossible to understand spiritual truth with just our rational mind. Bible truth can only be comprehended by spiritual revelation. The Lord has to open our understanding or we cannot possibly “get it”. This verse of scripture is a prime example. Paul seems to be contradicted himself. Is our spiritual life dependent on us or is it dependent on God. How can I work out my salvation if my salvation is in the hands of God? Actually, this passage gives us a look into the mystery of the Christian life. It is a picture of the struggle for man in serving the Lord, and at the same time, being in a state of rest because God is working in us. Which is it, working or resting? Actually, Christianity is a strange combination of both. Here is what Jonathan Edwards had to say about this passage.

“Man is, in different senses, entirely active, and entirely passive: God producing all, and we acting all. What He produced is our own acts. It is not that God does some, and we the rest. God does all, and we do all. God is the only proper author, we the only proper actors. Thus the same things in Scripture are represented as from God, and from us. God makes a new heart, and we are commanded to make us a new heart; not merely because we must use the means in order to the effect, but the effect itself is our act and our duty.”

What is Edwards saying, or better yet, what was Paul saying? The work of man and the work of God come together in the Christian life. As Paul, said, “it is God who is at work in you”. What is this work of God? It is the resurrection power of the Lord infused into our human soul. What about our work? Aren’t we supposed to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling”? Exactly, our part is to work as hard as we can to embrace the power of God. We are not passive, we press into God. As we do, we begin to touch the unlimited power and resources of our Lord. When that happens, the supernatural life we all long for begins to erupt into our lives.
What will that look like? It looks like Jesus. We begin to experience His peace, love, joy, kindness, generosity, and holiness in our lives. Faith becomes second nature to us. Worship becomes our entertainment. Ministry becomes our food. Compassion for the needy becomes our life. The church becomes our family and Christ becomes our friend. Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling, Christ is working in you for His glory and your enjoyment.

2 Replies to “WORK IT OUT”

  1. This passage of scripture has always left me confused for it seems not to agree with the message of mercy and grace; in that I can do something to obtain my salvation. Today, after reading the blog, I stumble upon a sermon by Charles Spurgeon and the light bulb is glowing ever so dimly but glowing. I am sure as time goes on God will continue to do what must be done to bring further illumination in regards to this matter. The entire sermon is quite lengthy but worth the read (REALLY WORTH YOUR TIME) yet it was two sentences that got the ball rolling for me.

    Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
    Your Own Salvation
    A Sermon
    (No. 1003)
    Delivered on Lord’s-day Morning, July 30th, 1871, by
    At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

    1. The word salvation contains within it deliverance from the guilt of our past sins.
    2. But salvation means more than that: it includes deliverance from the power of sin.

    The first sentence brought me to familiar ground (this I know). Sentence two took me past that familiar ground to that which was given to me but that I have not yet fully engaged. We have received that energéō (to borrow a word from last night’s teaching) in us over the power of sin – so after reading these sentences ‘WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION’ took on a different meaning!
    Empty hands raised high

  2. If we count on God to work through us,we must open ourselves to be used. Free will takes care of that.Everyday throughout the day, into the night we must surrender to be used…Constant contact, constant prayer.

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