Saved by grace - Work out your salvation
Philippians 1:27-2:18 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
2 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Jesus Christ paid for our sins on the cross. That is the gift, salvation through faith in Christ alone. In today’s text Paul encourages the believers to: 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. So while our works cannot save us, in response to the gift of salvation, we are to continue to work out our salvation. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. Our love is in response to His love. In the same way, our works are the response to His work. Verse 10 of Ephesians 2 also speaks of our works: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
How do we work out our salvation? How do we walk in the works God has for us? Romans 12:1-2 says: I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. So in response to the mercy and grace of God, in response to the work of Christ on the cross, we are to give our bodies, to live holy and acceptable lives. Our sacrifice of self doesn’t save us, rather it is evidence of our response to salvation. It is proof of the will of God in and for our lives.
Colossians 3:12-17 also speaks of what we should do, our works in response to Christ’s work: So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. There is an extensive, perhaps endless list of things we should do as believers, in response to what Jesus did for us. Perhaps that’s why Paul sums it up saying: Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus Himself says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” We tend though to miss the fullness of what Jesus says here. Often people will take what Jesus says and sum up everything by saying all we need is love. The truth is love is the beginning. Love is what everything else depends on. It is the foundation of all that we do. We love because He first loved us. But we work out our salvation building on the foundation of love doing: “all in the name of the Lord Jesus”
Of all the things we are to do, of everything else that is evidence, proof of our response to the love, mercy and grace of God, perhaps the most difficult, it would seem as evidenced in our culture, society and even in the church today, is what Paul says in today’s text: Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, We are a culture and a society which grumbles and complains about almost everything. We dispute everything because it is our right. Just because it is our right, does not make it right. It is one thing for the world to grumble and have disputes, we though as believers, in response to Christ are to be “above reproach in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation.” We are to appear as lights in the world. Ephesians 2:10 says: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Today’s text says: for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16) When we grumble and complain, when we dispute things, then even in the good that we do, the light of Christ that we are to shine in the world is diminished. May we indeed: work out our salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You for Your great love and mercy, thank You for the gift of salvation, through the cross of Christ. In response to Your love, in response to what You did, Jesus; I desire to live, to walk and work, above reproach. I desire to do the works, which You have prepared for me. To be a light that others may see and glorify You. Indeed I do desire to love both You and others and then may that love would be the foundation, the beginning of all that I do. All that I do, I do in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen