Therefore, my beloved, as you 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 who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Paul has reminded the Philippians of the example of Jesus Christ, how he was obedient and willingly sacrificed Himself for the entire world. Paul is not teaching salvation by works, but he is showing the church at Philippi that if they really understand and believe what Jesus Christ did for them, their salvation will express itself in progressive Christian living and upright character. This spiritual growth and character will happen on an individual basis. However, true obedience will lead the individual to participate in God’s corporate call to a local body of believers.
WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION
- Work out in the Greek means to bring to completion, to accomplish. In other words, do not walk half-way with God. Do not be satisfied with a little of God. No one else can do it for you. It is your salvation. We are to do it with “fear and trembling.” We need to take this effort seriously. We will stand before God some day and give an account of our lives. We need to not be complacent or half-hearted in our walk with God.
Matthew 10:28 – “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Titus 2:11-12 – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly (in a responsible manner, sensibly, being in self-control and in full possession of intellectual and emotional faculties), righteously, and godly in the present age.”
WORK AT OBEYING GOD
- Works here means to energize. It speaks of the active operation or working of power and its effectual results. God is working in us, stirring our hearts, trying to obtain our attention. We are to recognize these “workings” of God in our hearts, and respond so that we can be obedient to Him.
John 5:21 – “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”
John 6:63 – “It is the Spirit that gives life . . . the words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
WORK AT NOT COMPLAINING OR ARGUING
- Murmurings or complaining means to grumble, complain, be critical, find fault and gossip. Disputing means to question, express doubt. We are to work together in the church without divisions, complaining, being critical of our leaders or of one another.
1 Corinthians 10:10 – “Nor complain, as some of them also complained and were destroyed by the destroyer.”
Numbers 20:2-3 – Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron. And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!
21:4-5 – Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”
WORK AT BEING A LIGHT BEARER
- We are to shine in the moral darkness around us – show forth the light of Christ. We are to do this by being blameless (free from fault and censure) and harmless (innocent, unadulterated).
Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glory your Father in heaven.”
WORK AT BEING WITNESSES
- We are to share the good news of Jesus everywhere we can, whenever we can.
Mark 16:15 – “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
1 Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in your, with meekness and fear.”
WORK AT LIVING A SACRIFICIAL LIFE FOR GOD
- We have the example of Jesus, we have the example of Paul, and we have the example of many in the Bible and in our own lives.
Luke 9;23 – “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice….”