Philippians 2:12-18 | Work Out Your Salvation
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
- It’s easy to obey when the eyes of others are on us, but not so much when we are by ourselves. Our personal and private life are the crucible of obedience and how much more do we need to depend on God’s working to walk in the way of holiness
- Greek word for obedience means to listen – the question is, who are we listening to and trying to please? Men or God?
- Work out your salvation – even though our salvation is final and assured, it is not consummated and fully complete yet. We are still in the process of being saved, and indeed only those who ‘endure till the end’ will truly be saved – this is why we must continue to work out our salvation.
- What should cause us to will and act rightly is God and not creating a pretense for others or a desire to look good. We must ask, what fuels our desire to will and act rightly, to look good/right/okay in the eyes of others or God himself?
- Note the dual participation here: God’s work in us, and we work our salvation out. A life of discipleship requires both the grace of God and the perseverance of the saints
14Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16as you hold firmly to the word of life.
- Just as Christ did not open his mouth to justify himself, so should we walk throughout our lives without grumbling or arguing – to do so is simply to hold and see your own agenda higher than others
- Holiness should mark our lives as it has done with believers throughout history
- In a world which constantly wants to warp and twist God’s values and truth, we hold firmly to the word of life and seek to walk in a straight manner
- We will shine out in the universe, not only because of the way we live but also of the word we proclaim – to shine does not mean to dazzle but to lighten/show, and therefore by our way and word we lighten and show the path of life
- Hold firmly/unto the word of life – this could also be ‘hold out/forth’ but firmly/onto seems a better translation. Our holding onto onto the word of life enables us to live in a holy and pleasing way to God, which is what makes us shiny in the universe
And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
- The goal of Paul’s ministry was to see people come to faith, work out their salvation and to shine like stars in the universe – the goal of ministry is to see people live in such a way
- Even if Paul and the Philippians are called to make big sacrifices and indeed to sacrifice their very lives for their faith, he rejoices for this and so should the Philippians. Our biggest fear or concern is not that we would endure suffering or hardship for our lives but that our lives would be wasted!
- Our desires should be that our lives are poured out as drink offerings to God, that at the end of it all there would be nothing left to give.
Overall, we need to continue to work out our salvation, that this should be at the fore-front of our minds as we live our lives. It should compel us towards obedience and submitting ourselves to God, in growing in purity and holiness, and being willing to embrace service and sacrifice