Steve Lawson states, “In pursuing obedience, Paul urges the Philippians to “work out your salvation” (Phil 2:12b). They are commanded to put effort into achieving their salvation. In the Bible, “salvation” is represented in three different ways: as past, present, and future. These three designations involve justification, sanctification, and glorification.
In justification, believers are saved immediately from the penalty of sin. In sanctification, they are saved progressively from the power and practice of sin. In glorification, they are saved ultimately from the presence of sin.
Believers are to work out their salvation in their daily Christian living in the sense of the progressive holiness. There is a difference in working out one’s salvation from working for one’s salvation. Like working out a muscle within to grow, believers are to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, working out what God has worked in us. The work to be done is an imperative, a divine to command. As believers, we are to labor in this work, but it is not felt like a house chore. John writes in 1John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
We are to appropriate spiritual disciplines, and not be passive in our pursuit of holiness and righteous living. We cannot be spiritual couch potatoes, but must read the Word, prayer, gather with God’s people, study, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word, and obey God in the face of temptation and fear. This imperative applies to every single believer and to the body of Christ as a whole.
Soli Deo Gloria: Where are you in your spiritual growth? Are you pursuing holiness and expanding the necessary energy and working your own salvation with fear and trembling?