WORK IT OUT
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.