Forty years ago I memorized Philippians 2.13. It is one of the most important Bible verses in my life and I hope it will also be one for you.
Philippians 2.12-13 – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but 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 work for his good pleasure.
Verse 12 begins with “therefore” and refers to what has already been written to the church.
What has happened is that the church is counseled to “have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2.5).
The church is called to adopt the mind of Christ which was one of humble obedience to the will of God. With that in mind, we are to work out our salvation.
Please know, that we don’t work to obtain salvation. If salvation could be achieved by human effort, the cross of Jesus would have been unnecessary.
With that said, humans have a role in showing that our salvation is real.
We don’t work by ourselves, but God works in us, both willing and working on what is pleasing to him.
A Good Example
A good example of how this works is the paralytic by the pool of Bethsaida.
Jesus told the man to do what seemed impossible for him to do. He said, “Stand up, take your mat and walk” (John 5.8).
When the man’s will aligned with the will of God, the power of God was released, and “at once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk” (John 5.9).
How do we work out our salvation in a way that is pleasing to God?
— The Spirit and the Bible inform us what is God’s will.
— We agree with God’s revealed will and start to do it.
— God releases his power and enables us to accomplish what he has told us to do.
If there is something in your life that seems impossible, please try what the paralytic of John 5 did. See what will do for you.
Shine Your Light
There are many different ways we can do God’s will. Paul suggested some of those ways in the next verses.
Philippians 2.14-18 – Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
Likewise, you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
(1) I can’t think of a single letter by Paul that didn’t include an appeal for unity in the church.
Given the humble obedience of Jesus (verses 5-11), grumbling and disputing are completely out of character for followers of Jesus.
(2) We live in a crooked and twisted world, but we are to imitate Jesus and not our culture.
We are to avoid culture wars and embrace Jesus’ call to be peacemakers (Matthew 5.9).
(3) Jesus was the Light of the world and we are to shine our light with him.
We can be confident that God is at work in our lives, both willing and working toward this purpose.
Jesus made this clear in the Sermon on the Mount.
— Matthew 5.14 and 16 – “You are the light of the world.
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
(4) Like Joshua, we are to hold fast to God’s word.
— Joshua 1.8 – This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it.
For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful.
(5) When we are aligned with God’s will and striving to accomplish it, we will rejoice with other people who are pursuing the same objectives.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage. The video can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.