Why Work It Out?

The previous post in this series is:

Work Out Your Salvation?

The first post in this devotional series covering the book of Philippians is Devoted to Philippians.

Previously, Paul told us to work out our salvation. We discovered that this means obedience, daily obedience, and that salvation is the outcome of that obedience. (Although, salvation is already ours.)

He told us WHAT to do (work out salvation), but now he tells us how and why: “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13) I’ll discuss the why question in the next post.

But for today, he tells us to work it out “with fear and trembling”. What? I thought we are saved by grace, and NOT by works.

I was confused, so I looked up what the words fear and trembling mean in Greek. I was hoping they weren’t what they seemed to be, but alas, if anything, they are understatements. Trembling even means trembling with fear.

We know from other passages that our works do not lead to salvation. Salvation is by faith. But here and in James, we are told that salvation comes via works.

This is another one of those paradoxes that I believe God puts in Scripture to make us think. He wants us to know that we are saved already; that work is completed in Christ. But, He also wants us to ACT as if it is not a done deal.

In other words, do not fear for salvation. But, treat salvation AS IF it depended upon doing good works.

The next post in this series is:

God’s Job

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