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.”
We are not saved from our sins just so we can go to heaven when we die. Yes, we are not saved by our own fleshly good works, of our own choosing, but only by God’s grace, through God-given faith, and not of ourselves lest we should brag that we earned or deserved our own salvation.
But our salvation from sin is not absent of good works, it is just that they are the works that God planned in advance for us to walk (in conduct) in them. And by the Spirit we are to forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, and we are now to follow our Lord in obedience to his word.
We will be judged by our works, and we are to abound in the work of the Lord, and we are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, bearing fruit in every good work. We are to be useful for every good work, and we are to devote ourselves to good works. And faith without works is dead.
But we don’t do this in our own strength. We don’t do it with the wrong motives, to look good to others, either. We only do this in the strength of the Lord, in the power of God’s Spirit, and in cooperation and participation with our Lord, as we are his workmanship, and it is God who works in us.
And we do this in the fear of the Lord, with full respect, honor, reverence, and obedience to him and to his word as he works his will in us for his own glory and praise. We are not hearers only of the word who then walk away and forget what we look like, but we are doers of the word of God.
And the reason we are to work out our own salvation, in cooperation and full participation with our Lord who is working his will and purpose in our lives, is that our salvation is not a one-time deal. It has a beginning, and it has an end, but it requires our walks of obedience to the end for it to be complete.
For, we are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns provided that we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and that we forsake our lives of sin to follow Jesus in obedience, and provided we continue in him to the end.
[Eph 2:10; 1 Co 15:58; 2 Co 9:8; Gal 5:6; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:9-14; 2 Thess 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Tit 2:11-14; Jn 15:1-11; Tit 3:8; Jas 2:17; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24]
Philippians 2:14-16 ESV
“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.”
Sin has existed since Adam and Eve sinned against God. And all throughout history, humans have rebelled against God, and have gone their own way, and have sinned greatly. So, every generation has been crooked and twisted in one way or another, but in these last days, wickedness has increased.
And the place where this is most notable is within the gatherings of the church. For the church at large decided to become like the world in order to win the world, but to what? What are they winning them to but just a cleaned-up version of what the world is offering them?
When the church at large decided to adopt the ways of the world, and of their culture, into the gatherings and the teachings of the church, everything began to decline from that moment forward. Everything began to spiral downward into a worldly form of what used to be the body of Christ.
Most sermons today do not reflect the teachings of Jesus and those of the New Testament apostles. Most books being taught within the gatherings of the church are not books of the Bible, but they are authored by humans, not divinely inspired, many of which contain humanistic philosophy.
In order to draw in large crowds of people from the world into their gatherings, they altered the gatherings to be more appealing and acceptable to the world, which also included diluting the gospel message so as not to offend people with the truth of what Jesus taught.
And so, the “church” has become just a cleaned-up version of what the world is offering. And righteousness and holiness and obedience to Christ and submission to him as Lord are not being taught much at all. They are often being taught against, in reality.
Thus, as followers of Jesus, we need to shine the light of truth among our brothers and sisters in Christ (or those professing such), for many of them are living crooked and twisted lives, engaging themselves in all manner of evil, and doing things they want to do, and not obeying the Lord.
Philippians 2:17-18 ESV
“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.”
But when we do that, i.e., when we shine the truth into the darkness, and we expose the darkness for what it is, and we bring out the truth, we are going to be hated and persecuted, even by pastors, elders, and church people. Or we will be ignored and rejected and ostracized.
But we do this, even knowing what awaits us, for our Lord, for the sake of the gospel, and for the salvation of human lives. We do this so that people will know the truth that will set them free, for too many people are feeding them lies which are leaving them still bound in slavery to sin.
So, we don’t let people’s rejection of us deter us from the task of sharing the truth of the gospel and of exposing the lies for what they are. But we press on in the strength of the Lord, empowered by God’s Spirit, and following our Lord in obedience, so that many will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Living by Faith
Lyrics by James Wells, 1918
v. 4 by Robert E. Winsett, 1918
Music by J. L. Heath, 1918
I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.
Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—
The Master looks on at the strife.
I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.
Our Lord will return for His loved ones someday,
Our troubles will then all be o’er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.
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