Work Out your Own Salvation

Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

When I read this passage of Scripture, immediately the Lord Jesus brought this song to mind:

Earthly pleasures vainly call me
I would be like Jesus;
Nothing worldly shall enthrall me
I would be like Jesus

Be like Jesus this my song
In the home and in the throng;
Be like Jesus all day long!
I would be like Jesus.
[By James Rowe]

For, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We are to be being conformed to the likeness of Christ, like his character. We are to be likeminded with him with the same heart and love as he has, too (Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:29; Rom 12:1-2).

But we still live in flesh bodies. Even though we have been delivered from our slavery to sin so that we can now be slaves of God and of his righteousness, we still have a propensity to sin. So, like Jesus said, we must daily die to sin and self, and follow our Lord in obedience (Lu 9:23-26).

Thus, becoming like Jesus is a process of a lifetime and none of us will arrive fully in that until the day Jesus returns to take us home to be with him forever. However, the “process,” and lack of total perfection, are never to be used as an excuse for continuing in deliberate and habitual sin.

For, we are to humble ourselves as Jesus humbled himself, and we are not to be selfish, but we are to minister to the needs of other people. And we are to deny self, die to sin daily, and follow Jesus in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).

Philippians 2:9-11 ESV

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

To bow the knee to Jesus Christ is to surrender our lives to him, and it is to submit to his Lordship over our lives. This means we give up control of our own lives and we now let Jesus be our master. Now our desire is for him to do his will, and not to go against him.

What this means for us is that Jesus Christ is not just a part of our lives, or someone we spend a few minutes with each day in a time of devotions. He is our life, for we died, and we let him take over. So now he gets to call all the shots. If he says “Speak,” we speak. And if he says, “Go,” we go.

We don’t ignore him when he says, “Stop!” We don’t keep going forward in our own stubbornness. We don’t say to him, “I know Lord, but…” We surrender to his will. We don’t go against his will. And we don’t stop up our ears when the Spirit says, “Don’t do that! Don’t go there!”

For, if all we do is give lip service to him, or we treat the name “Lord” as a mere title given him, but we don’t surrender, and we don’t bow the knee, then we can profess him as Lord all we want, but he isn’t our Lord. For if he is Lord, he is owner-master of our lives and we serve him, not ourselves.

Philippians 2:12-13 ESV

“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.”

Now, not everyone today who professes the name of Jesus is one who is obeying Jesus Christ. Many are being taught, in fact, that they don’t have to obey the Lord or surrender their lives to him, or turn from their sins. For, they say that is works-based salvation.

And that is because they are listening to human beings over the Scriptures, because many of them are not reading the Scriptures, but they are relying on other humans to tell them what the Scriptures say. Some of them are relying on “memes,” too, on social media.

But the Scriptures do not teach us, who say we believe in Jesus Christ, that we can opt out of honoring our Lord, obeying him, submitting to him, and surrendering our lives to him. They do not give us an out from repenting of our sins, either.

For, Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross that we would now honor God with our lives, and that we would die with him to sin and live to his righteousness, and that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15).

The whole purpose of our salvation from sin is that we honor God with our lives and that we surrender our lives to him, and that we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. For, Jesus died to deliver us from our slavery to sin that we might be slaves of him and of his righteousness.

So, we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. So, it isn’t us working in our flesh to earn our salvation, but it is us doing the work God prepared in advance that we should walk in those works (Eph 2:10).

It is God working in us and through us as we yield control of our lives over to him and as we allow him to do his work in our lives. So, it is us working under the power and control of God’s Spirit, and this not of our flesh. But it is us honoring, respecting, and obeying our Lord, as we should do.

Only Hope

By Jonathan Foreman

I give you my destiny
I’m giving you all of me
I want your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs
I’m giving it my all

So, I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope

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