Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling
It almost sounds as if Paul is telling us we need to work as in buy or purchase our salvation here. In fact that is not what this verse means at all, though it has been taken in that improper context.
Did you know that Christianity is the only faith that a person is not required to work for, or purchase their salvation? In all other religions a person must work their way to salvation. Enough good deeds must be performed, but wait you say; that is in the “Christians” Bible as well. And so it is…but that is not the proper contextualization of that concept from the Bible.
Lets examine the thought that we need to (in most religions) work to be good enough for heaven, or purchase, or be deserving of our salvation.
All people sin and do wrong, I think all will agree on that much. If people were good, then why would there be a need to do anything by anyone to obtain eternal life in heaven? The door of heaven would be open to all would it not?
What do you think the qualities of God should be? I am referencing here any religion and their view of God. What makes God…God?
God in order to be God needs to be perfect; otherwise He would be just another good guy with above average intelligence. God needs to know all things, no surprises at God’s doorstep. God of course needs to be powerful. God needs to be righteous and just, and loving and merciful. I am not listing all the attributes of God here, just a few of them to make a point.
Now lets look at earning our salvation. We have established that God is perfect, so what need could He possibly have of anything you have to offer Him?? God is powerful and can do all things, why in the world would God have need of your services when He does not need them?
When someone says (believes) that they have to earn their salvation; that is implying that there are things that God needs done by a human. When you go to work you are filling a need of your employer, therefore you get paid. What could a Holy and perfect God “need” to have done that He would pay you for?
This Being, this God can give you eternal life, which means you will live forever. Someday you will die, and then the idea is that God will grant you immortality. Let me ask you a question, if God can grant you immortality after your death, then what could He possibly “need” from you a mere human so that you could “earn” your salvation? Do you see how ludicrous this is?
Working or earning your salvation implies that there is something you can give to a Holy and perfect, all knowing and powerful God.
There is absolutely nothing that God needs from you or me, nothing…not one thing, zip, zero, nada.
Lets look at the Believer’s (Christian) God. The Lord God is Holy and perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He needs nothing from you or me. There are however things that He desires from us not needs but rather desires…there is a huge difference between the two.
Salvation is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
We have been saved (given salvation) through the grace of God. Grace is receiving what we do not deserve and not one of us deserves eternal life. This grace that saves us is brought about because of our faith, faith (believing) that Jesus Christ came here and died on the cross to pay for our sins, was resurrected and even now lives. Notice verse nine also says not by works!
So then what does Paul mean when he says in Philippians 2:12 that we need to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”? The answer lies in James 2:17-18 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. This then is the meaning of “working out our salvation”, we are to be doing the things that God asks us to do in His Word. Working out our salvation by doing good works is simply God showing Himself through us. We do not live the Christian life in our strength; we live it in His. These works are merely the evidence of our salvation manifesting itself in us through the power of Christ in us. Philippians 2:13 also references this as well, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
So it is not that we need to do anything for salvation, it is the gift of God…gifts are free you do not do anything to earn them or they cease to be a gift. Works are simply a manifestation of the inward transaction (salvation) between God and us. God does not need our works, but He does desire that we do them! Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. So we see here that even these “works” were ordained by God; just a part of His plan, we are simply carrying out His will for us.
To receive salvation one must admit they are a sinner, and ask for God’s forgiveness. One must believe that Jesus died to pay the price for our sin and was resurrected to life again on the third day and is alive even now, seated with the Father in heaven.
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