Your Deliverance – Working Out Your Own Salvation ~ blog
So…which is it? Is our salvation the free gift of God given to us by His mercy and grace because He loves us…or is it something we have to earn?
These two passages seem to be at odds with each other.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;not a result of works…” (Ephesians 2:8)
“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 own salvation with fear and trembling…” (Philippians 2:12)
The answer is simple if we understand that the word “salvation” is used in 3 different ways. It is used to describe the moment one receives Christ as Savior like when it says;
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”
This is the beginning of our salvation. It is the moment we place the faith that God gives to us in the death and resurrection of Christ to pay the penalty for all our sins. When we do that, we are saved from the penalty of our sins…all of them…forever. So, at that moment our salvation begins and that is God’s gift to us…it is the justification part of our salvation.
It is also completely the work of God. He has chosen us before the beginning of the creation because He loves us and has chosen us to be members of His family.
This passage which teaches us to “work out your own salvation” is talking about the 2nd part of our salvation and that is the process beginning with our justification and ending with glorification…the moment we go to heaven. This is the process in which God tells us there are things we must be doing for us to be growing in our salvation. It is called our Sanctification because it is the time of our lives where we are supposed to be being made more holy…more sanctified…more like Christ.
God has already done His part through Jesus dying for our sins and at that moment of belief the Holy Spirit enters our body and we are sealed with the Spirit as God’s guarantee that we will have our reward in heaven. So, we are signed…sealed…and waiting to be delivered.
Now in order for us to be being made more holy…or more like Christ, it will take time and the power of the Holy Spirit to change us. However, and this is where we “work out your own salvation” comes into reality. There is work that WE need to be doing. There are things that we need to put effort into if change is going to happen. If we are going to become more Christ-like, then there is work that we must be doing.
Now imagine that you have been drafted by our favorite sports team. The LA Lakers has you sign a contract and you are on the team. You even get a jersey and are scheduled to play along with LeBron James. You are thrilled to be on the team…but you really do not want to practice. You don’t want to learn the plays of offense. You think your offense is to just give the ball to LeBron and offense automatically happens.
You have been saved by grace, apart from works and so you are on God’s team. You are a member of God’s family and eternally adopted by Him. However, the Christian life…the experiencing His power in your life does not come automatically. This is the work part of working out your own salvation.
These are not suggestions from God. These are instructions on how to live a godly life and how to begin to experience your salvation in the here and now that God has for us. These are the steps to be able to begin to experience the abundant life God has for you and not remain addicted to anything.
And just as there are things that we must do daily to keep our physical life going in a healthy way, so there are also physical and spiritual things we must be doing on a daily basis to be being transformed by the Holy Spirit into a godlier person.
Now, look at the verse Philippians 2:14 which follows verse 13…
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.”
God does not just throw the playbook for the Christ-like life at us and say;
“You read this and work it out.”
He has not left us alone to figure out the Christian life. He says He Himself is at work in us to both desire and work for His good pleasure. He is in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The desire and motivation to do the work of living the Christian life does not have to come from ourselves. He knows that we are weak and easily drawn back into the sins of the flesh.
That is why He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit forever and He is the one who can give us the desire to work to grow in our salvation/sanctification. Stop looking at your failures of the past and begin being filled with and walking in the Spirit daily. Do the work of eliminating the things in your life that are drawing you back into sexual sin. Learn how to experience the power of the Spirit to be able to say yes to God and no to sin.
His power…not ours…is what is needed and the Spirit of God who dwells inside of our bodies is the only one who can give it to us. And as we enter this long and slow process of being transformed by the Spirit it is essential that we do it with others who will help us.
We all need to be on a team because staying isolated should have taught all of us that we cannot do it alone. That is why we have Online Support Teams and there is a place for you. To check it out…with no strings attached…contact me.