Work out Your Salvation with Fear and Trembling -- By Lyn Chaffart
"Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Phil 2:12-13)
 
I spent the first 35 years of my leaving believing that I had to "do" something to be saved, and that I could never "be sure" of my salvation.  All honor, glory, and praise to our gracious Father in Heaven and His persistent Spirit who never gave up on me, for over the course of about a year, I slowly began to understand the truth of the gospel: That all of my works are like filthy rags (Is. 64:6), that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), and "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph 2:8-10).  I must say that it took a long time for me to break out of the religious mindset that anything I did could possible bring me any closer to salvation, but thanks be to God, I now understand that it isn't about anything I did or ever could do, it's about what God already did through Christ Jesus! 
 
But what about Phil 2:12? " . . . work out your salvation with fear and trembling . . ."  Doesn't this verse imply that we do, indeed, have to "work out [our] salvation"?  Doesn't it lie in direct contradiction with the gospel message?  This bothered me, for after all, it had been necessary for me to de-program myself from the idea that "my work" had any value in my salvation.  But as I read the next vs., vs. 13, it all became clear. 
 
I would like to suggest that to fully appreciate the meaning of vs. 12, we must finish the sentence:  "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (vs. 13).  What does this mean?  It means that any propensity for good in us comes from God!  Any desire we may have to do His will or to act according to His good purpose is placed there by God!  It doesn't come from any human tendency or desire.  It is only God that can place the desire in our hearts to act godly!
 
Now let's go back to vs. 12 and read it in context with vs. 13:  "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."  We see here that we are admonished to "work out" our salvation because God has placed this ability in our lives!  We are told to cultivate our Salvation, because God has placed in us the power to do what is right!  We are told to carry out to the goal our salvation because God has created in us the ability to live a sinless life! 
 
In other words, if God has placed within us the power to "work out [our] salvation", than the only thing that could possibly stop us from doing so is ourselves!!!  What is Paul really telling us here?  He's telling us to act like what we are -- He's telling us to "act saved"!  God has already placed within each of us the power to do so.  Our responsibility is to use it!  If we don't do so, we don't "act saved", then God's work in us is goes to waste! 
 
Are you saved, my friend?  If not, then don't wait another minute to have that blessed assurance that "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph 2:8-10).  Answer the Savior's Call.  To do so, just click on the following link:   Click here
 
But if you ARE saved, then act like it!  Remember, God has already place in you the will, the desire, AND the power to live Christ-like lives.  Don't waste what God has placed in you already!  Use it!  Act saved!  
 
"Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Phil 2:12-13)


In His love,
Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org