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April 8 – Working Out My Salvation?

April 8, 2012

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – Phil. 2:12-13

Paul knew well of their past obedience.  He had ministered in their midst and they had taken care of him.  He had seen them take their stand for Christ and Paul reminds them of the fact they had been obedient and faithful to Jesus in the past.

But then comes the next phrase, “Work out your own salvation.”  Work out my salvation?  Is this the same Paul who wrote:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Eph 2:8-10

I know what has been stressed over and over about this passage.  But this causes me to take another look at the meaning of the meaning of these verses.  In my understanding of proper hermeneutics, scripture must not contradict scripture.  If I find that it does, then I am misunderstanding one passage or the other, or both.  Can Eph. 2:8-10 agree with Phil 2:12?  Paul is not talking here about initial salvation.  He is talking about one who became a Christian and now goes on moving forward in his Christian life.  He is talking about salvation in the sense of living the Christian life.  There are three aspects (or functions) of salvation that the Bible speaks of. Salvation, past; that point in time when I became a Christian (Justification, where I was declared innocent by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross).  Salvation, present; that is, after I become a Christian, I go on living the Christian life (Sanctification, where I am motivated by the Holy Spirit to be obedient, and I am purified and prepared for Eternity).  This is what Paul is talking about here.  There is also a salvation, future (Glorification, where I am given a new spiritual body; I am given immortality, and will dwell with the Savior through eternity). It is where I will be glorified by God.

Here Paul says “work out your salvation.”  This literally means to thrash out, to sift, or to cleanse.  Once I became a Christian, I have a need to become what God wants me to be.  I never want to make the mistake of thinking that the act of baptism, or first becoming a Christian, is the end result!  That is only the beginning.  Once I have put my faith in Christ and become a Christian, then I only begin to live the Christian life.  I must do my good works as I seek to follow in His steps.

Paul tells me the way I am to live out my Christian life.  He said I am to live it out with fear and trembling.  Paul is not picturing someone standing with shaking knees and trembling before God.  He is talking instead about a legitimate fear and reverence for God.  I must live my Christian life with a healthy respect for the holiness of God. That is what Paul means by “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  I must always have a reverence and remember that God is God.  God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him  (Heb. 11:6).  He also punishes those who do not.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lowell R. Price permalink
    May 5, 2012 6:05 am

    In the Passion of Christ when He went into the “Garden” am I willing to go with him? How far? to the first stop where the magority of disciples are waiting? will I go to where Peter James and John were left? and then turn back? at what point will “I” decide I have gone far enough, Or am I ready to go with HIm all the way? even to the cross? Papa

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  1. *How is it Working Out For You? « He Dwells — The B'log in My Eye

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