“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12 (NASB)
Sometimes we leave out the meat in a passage of Scripture that we repeat over and over making it considerably less meaningful than God intended when through the Holy Spirit He inspired man to write it.
Oftentimes we take the above and make it all about us as men working out … and earning so to speak … our salvation. It becomes about what we must do … and quite frankly nothing could be further from the truth in the total context of this passage.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 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.” Philippians 2:5-13 (NASB)
Fear and trembling … because the Lord God Almighty is at work WITHIN you and me to will and to work for His good pleasure.
In the journey of salvation, we do not transform ourselves … we are transformed by the indwelling presence of God. Note what Jesus taught …
Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and WE WILL COME TO HIM AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM.” John 14:22-23 (NASB)
And the assurance Paul offers in his letter to the Philippians …
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that HE WHO BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL BRING IT TO COMPLETION AT THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST.” Philippians 1:3-6 (NASB)
So while we work out our salvation with fear and trembling as the Lord God Almighty works within us, we have the incredible assurance and hope that what God has begun He will bring to completion at the day of Jesus Christ …
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and WE REJOICE IN HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD.” Romans 5:1-2 (NASB)
Praise the Lord that my inability is overcome by His ability!