Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:12,13
“Therefore, 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, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12,13)
When we come across the word “therefore,” we must ask the question — what is the therefore there for? In this case, it refers back to the atoning work of Jesus Christ (vs. 5-8) and His exaltation by His Father (vs. 9-11). Because of these things, we are called to a life of humble and grateful obedience. Jesus accomplished salvation for us and we cannot add one thing to what He has done for us. However, we can show gratitude by living a life of obedience. Obedience is the proper response to the loving and gracious work of our Savior.
Thus, we are told to work out our salvation. Obviously this refers to sanctification — the process of dying more and more to self and living more and more to the glory of our Savior. We have a responsibility to grow in our faith. God has provided the means of grace which enable us to grow in holiness. The means of grace include worship and the Sacraments, Bible study and meditation, prayer, and Christian fellowship.
We grow most effectively in the context of Christian community where together we can work out the implications of the gospel. We need encouragement and accountability to grow. We need to be in fellowship with other believers who will challenge us, exhort us, and encourage us in our walk with Christ.
But we also need to develop the personal disciplines. We will not grow if we are not reading and meditating upon the Scriptures. God’s Word feeds our souls and equips us for service — “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16).
In addition, we need to develop our prayer life. Prayer is simply talking to God. We need to respond to God as He reveals His truth to us. Prayer is a great gift from God — “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:5).
We are responsible to work out our salvation; but we are not alone in it, for it is God who works in us as we will see in tomorrow’s post.
Lord Jesus, when I reflect upon the glorious work You have done on my behalf, I am filled with gratitude and awe. I want to honor and glorify You. Grant me grace to work out my salvation. Enable me to grow in my faith and to live in obedience to Your perfect will.
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