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. ~Philippians 2:12
One of the favorite phrases of our generation is when someone makes plans to do an exercise regimen. He will say after he completes this regimen, “I just had a good workout.” It implies that he did a number of exercises that worked various muscles in his body and put his heart to work. Paul speaks about the importance of a spiritual workout of our faith.
We see the meaning.
The term “work out” is one word in the Greek. It means “to do that which something results.” It emphasizes an accomplishment and fulfillment. Paul is exhorting Christians to put their Christian life to work. We should be a people zealous of good works. We should be seeking to bring forth much fruit from our lives. After we get saved, we are not to sit dormant and inactive. Years ago, I heard a sports car enthusiast say that high-performance cars are built to be pushed to the limit of very high speeds. If these cars are not constantly running at high performance, they will become a disappointment to their owners over time. We need to work out our salvation at such fervency so that we do not disappoint our Lord.
We see the motivation.
In the previous verses, Paul spoke of the Lordship of Christ. He said that “every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” The name “Lord” means “mastery, ownership, and sovereignty.” He is Lord “of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” As Lord, He deserves our obedience and submission in all things. We are working for the God and Creator of the universe! Salvation is the free gift of God. Our salvation is given to us at a very high cost. Thus, we must be busy about the business of the King. The very idea of Christ as Lord should compel us to be consumed with a daily, weekly, and lifelong plan of working out our salvation so that many unsaved people can be brought to a saving knowledge of Christ.
We see the manner.
We are commanded to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The word “trembling” describes the anxiety of one who distrusts his ability to completely meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfil his duty (Strong’s concordance). It means that we should be gripped with a sense of our inadequacy about our abilities and strength, but, nonetheless, give our best effort in what we do. Imagine running a long-distance race with experienced runners in a competition. We feel intimidated by their ability and by the fact that we are being watched by judges. We run the race with our best effort and to finish well. When we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we are removed from a cockiness and an arrogant self-assurance.
We see the merchandise.
The ultimate goal for us is to make full accomplishment of our task. We are to get things done. We are to “fight a good fight, keep the faith and to finish our course.” We are to give ourselves in fulfilling what God has commanded us to do. First, a full accomplishment occurs when we get the gospel to as many people as we can, especially family and close acquaintances. Second, a full accomplishment occurs when we finish well. Don’t be a quitter or partially work out your salvation. Start your workout and keep going strong until you finish! Just as we know when we have completed a good exercise workout, we also know when we have accomplished a good spiritual workout. Get going and have a good workout!
Have a fulfilling God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Nehemiah 4-6