2009-10-28 - Your Salvation
Philippians 2:12,13 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but 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.
In the first look at this passage, I admonished us to consider our salvation. There is nothing more important in your life to make certain. It might surprise you when I say that the context of this passage in Philippians is an address to believers. This is not an exhortation to the unconverted. It is for believers. The book of Philippians is addressed to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, Phil. 1:1. In fact these verses (Phil. 2:12, 13) come after a glorious tribute to Christ, and an admonition to be like Him and like each other, as we are like Him, (2:2). We see it in the first four words of verse 12, So then, my beloved The passage is directed to believers, and so we must ask, what does this mean, and how do we apply it?
There is a sense in which our salvation is complete in Christ. The work of Christ is finished. His work of Atonement is done, but His work in us is still to be brought to perfection. We still struggle with sin, and we will for our whole lives. The business of the believer is to live according to the new principle given them, the living principle of the Holy Spirit dwelling in and with believers, and conquer the sin that rages against our new primary identity. The work of Christ for us is perfect and finished, but the work of Christ in us is a work of progress. We see Paul speaking of this as the contrast between the old self and the new self in Colossians 3:9-10, and Ephesians 4:22-24. We seek to work out what God has mercifully worked into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
The encouragement to us is that it is God who is at work in you. We have help that is beyond our power in this, and what a blessing that is. God is at work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. There is the new will given us from God, that helps us to resolve not to fall into sin. This is from the Lord. We cannot bring this about ourselves. It is the work of God in the believer, and we are to return thanks for His work in our lives. God promises to work in us, and gives us the power to achieve this working out of our salvation. Why is God so involved in this? There are probably more reasons than we can know, because we cannot know the mind of the Lord, but one reason is given us in the text it is for His good pleasure. Take this encouragement today: It is Gods good pleasure to see you holy. He delights to see us self-denying and looking unto Him. To be less of self (the self that is old and sinful) and more like Jesus is this very task, for the follower of Christ, of working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
Soli Deo Gloria,