“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. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12-13 KJV)
Hmm. Work out your own salvation. Do so many good things, they outweigh the bad? No, that wouldn’t be grace, would it. So what does that mean, exactly?
It means work throughout the term of your salvation, from the time you were born again until the time you arrive in heaven. Work. Don’t be lazy. Don’t camp on some mountain top waiting for the rapture. Be busy doing something.
Jesus said, Occupy until I come (see Luke 19). Not occupy a city square or occupy a lounge chair, but be occupied, working at something.
Let’s look closer at these verses.
- work out – katergazomai – kata (down from, throughout, in) and ergazomai (labor, perform, do work). I like those ideas: down from, throughout and in – meaning from beginning to end and during the process, during the term of something. The term of what?
- your own salvation – soteria – deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation; from root word sozo (provision of whatever is needed: rescue, health, deliverance)
- with fear and trembling – phobos / tromos – distrusting your own ability to meet the requirements, yet doing your utmost to carry out the assignment. The apostle Paul said, “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” I Co. 2:3-5
- Why? because it is God – theos – the deity
- who works – energeo – empowers, energizes, operates (like operating a computer or a business, a freight train or a lawnmower)
- in you – inside, with, by, among
- to will – thelo – to purpose; desire, wish; to love; to be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure in
- and to do – energeo – operate
- his good pleasure – eudokia – good choice, delight, pleasure, satisfaction (i.e. whatever activity he chooses that brings him pleasure)
The Holy Spirit is the prime operator, we are his co-workers. No wonder the presence of his power – energeo – resulted in fear and trembling for Paul.
He saw and experienced multiplied miracles when he took the Holy Spirit where he wanted to go, and let him do what he wanted to do through himself, Paul!
“And there are distinctive varieties of operation [of working to accomplish things], but it is the same God Who inspires and energizes them all in all.” I Cor. 12:6 (AMP) “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17 “… Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27
You think those verses were only meant for a few “super-believers”?