The Search for Joy
Work Out Your Own Salvation
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.
Paul was undoubtedly one of the greatest examples of Christ-likeness for anyone to follow and was leading the Philippians to mirror Christ. The Philippians were addressed in this second chapter as, my beloved, appealing to their affection for Paul as well as his love for them. He exhorted them for being obedient to Christ while in his presence and now much more, in his absence. Paul was setting up for all believers, the divine pattern of living that God wants to accomplish in and through every Christian as they cultivate an obedient heart towards Christ.
Work out your own salvation: means to work continually to bring something to fulfillment or completion. Working out your salvation pertains to personal conduct, to being a faithful obedient child of God in your daily walk––to cleanse yourself from all sin and renounce or “put off” any unrighteousness replacing it with virtuous thinking and living. This statement made by Paul does not refer to salvation by works, for we know Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches: 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.
The purpose that God wants to achieve in your life is conformity to His image. Christian, Christ must work in you before He can work through you. This principle is seen throughout Scripture in the lives of many great men of God. Moses was on the backside of the desert for 40 years tending sheep while God was working in him. God was preparing Moses to be a strong and exceptional leader for the children of Israel––to bring them out of bondage.
Sometimes, in our Christian life, we have a tendency to want to please men and to only obey when those men are watching. We cannot build our lives upon others and what they think or see us do. Paul was teaching the Philippians that they need to serve Christ whether or not he, Paul, was around because there would come a day when Paul would not be around. The power that works in us is the power of the Holy Spirit which gives us strength and wisdom and empowers us to do the work that God has purposed us to do. (John 14:16-17) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Thought: God wants to use us in this world and He has provided us with distinct tools that will help us in this work. The Lord has given us His Word to teach, inspire, encourage and empower us with all truth for His work. We are bestowed with the right to come before God and are exhorted to come boldly before the throne of grace to bring our needs before Him. (Hebrews 4:16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. We are assured that if we live godly in this world, we will also suffer for His sake. (1 Peter 4:12-19) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
What more could we ask for in working out our own salvation than––His precious Word, the wonderful power of prayer and the privilege of suffering for His sake. How magnificent is His purpose when we view Him as our Perfect Example.