Created by God for Good Works

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.”

Is this teaching works salvation? No, it isn’t. It is teaching biblical salvation which is not the result of a one-time decision to believe (not defined) in Jesus Christ whereby you are told that all your sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and that heaven is now guaranteed you for eternity, regardless of how you live from that point forward.

It is teaching biblical salvation where you are taught that you must be crucified with Christ in death to sin, and then be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, not like our old lives, but in freedom from slavery to sin and in walks of holiness and righteousness and in obedience to our Lord (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-24; Luke 9:23-26; Titus 2:11-14).

And it is teaching progressive salvation, which is the only salvation that the Scriptures teach. For remember how we talked before about how our salvation from sin, by God’s grace, is a marriage covenant with Jesus Christ? And how it parallels over to the Jewish marriages of the Bible? By faith in Jesus Christ we enter into a marriage covenant with him, but it is not to be consummated until after he prepares a place for us and then he returns to take his bride to be with him for eternity, which is when our salvation is complete.

For God’s grace, which is bringing us salvation, trains us to renounce (say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. And all throughout the New Testament Scriptures we are taught how we are to live to please God while we wait for his return. And we are warned that if we walk in sin, making sin our practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

So, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling is not works salvation. It is walking in the salvation and in the faith we have already received from God, and in the power and under the direction of God. For our salvation is not just a get-out-of-jail-free-card. It is dying with Christ to sin, not just once, but daily, and it is walking in obedience to our Lord, doing what he says to do consistently, in practice, persevering in this faith until the very end, by God’s grace.

But our salvation is not absent of works, like many people would have you to believe. So, don’t just read Ephesians 2:8-9 and stop there. Read the verse which follows, which is verse 10, which says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” So we are not saved by our own fleshy works, done in the flesh. But we are saved to do the works of God.

[Eph 2:8-10; 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]

And this goes along with, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” And this is how it works. Jesus Christ died on that cross, taking up himself all our sins so that when he died our sins died with him, in order that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He made the way for us to die with him to sin and to live with him to his righteousness, and he empowers us to live holy lives, but then we have to walk in what he provided, in his power and strength.

So, please read the Scriptures in their context. If you can read from Matthew to Revelation and then repeat and repeat, it would be most helpful until you get the context of these Scriptures firmly planted in your minds and hearts. For we are saved (past), we are being saved (present active), and we will be saved (future) when our Lord returns for his bride and he takes us to be with him for eternity, but provided that we walked in obedience to our Lord and not in sin and that we walked in holiness and in righteousness, in the power of God, and that we continued in that faith steadfast unto the very end.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 8:24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Gal 5:16-21; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6;24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

So, please take this to heart, and if you have not been taught salvation in this way before, then please take the time to read these Scriptures prayerfully and to let the Holy Spirit teach you the ways of God.

Search Me, O God

An Original Work / July 12, 2012
Based off Psalm 139

O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
Where’er I am, You are with me,
Guiding me in love.

O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’lly made me.
I give my praise to You.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the dark place.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book.

O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offense.
Lead me in Your truth.

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