Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Philippians 2:12-13


12So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

These two verses are a dynamic duo for walking the walk! Verse 12 will scare you to death! "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Most people read this, stop and shudder a bit. "Work out your own salvation." What does that mean? Well, it doesn't mean that you have to work hard enough to earn your salvation. That would be totally contrary to everything taught throughout Scripture. There are two ways of thinking about this:

1. I am to "work out" into my life-into my behavior-the salvation work of God that is on the inside of my heart. I have His salvation inside. Now I must work it out into my lifestyle.

2. I am to "work out" my salvation to its completion. In other words, I am to stubbornly remain obedient in working my salvation into my lifestyle until the end.

Then, it says, "with fear and trembling." This simply means that this is a serious matter and must be carefully and cautiously worked out into my life. Note that to NOT work it out would be to be a spectator among the fellowship or maybe a 'secret service' believer rather than being a participator in the process or working it out. God's salvation is a supernatural work in my life, but He expects me to complete His work of salvation by working it out into my life. This proves that it is the real thing!

Verse 13 will empower you beyond yourself! Now, if you read on to this verse, you will get the entire context of your walk with Jesus, "for it is God who is at work in you, both to the willing and working for His good pleasure." Through this salvation process, God is already at work IN YOU personally to bring about the willing and the doing of the "working out" your salvation into your life.

So, isn't this a bit contradictory? In verse 12 it is saying that I am to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling and in verse 13 it says that God is already at work in me to work it out. So which is it? Do I work it out into my life or does God do it? This is the classic question of the walk of faith. Think about it-THE WALK OF FAITH. The WALK (that's what you do) of FAITH (that's what God does). It's the same balance throughout the Scriptures-100% from God and 100% from man! Now, don't get too haughty about your percentage. God' 100% is so much more than yours! But I am to do all that I can do BY FAITH that God will do all that He can do in working out my own salvation into my life and my behavior.

Think of it! By faith Noah built a boat. If Noah had built the ark like most believers live by faith, that boat would have never been built. Noah had to work very hard, building that ark. But he did his best (his 100%) by faith that God was already at work (His 100%). This principle is everywhere you look! My favorite is found in the miracles of Jesus. Jesus involved His disciples in filling the waterpots at the wedding and pouring out the wine; Jesus is the one who changed the water into wine. At the death and burial of Lazarus, Jesus showed up 4 days after his death. Then he asked where they laid him, had them move away the stone from the tomb and take off the grave-clothes, but only Jesus could resurrect Lazarus from the dead.

YOU DO THE POSSIBLE BY FAITH THAT GOD WILL BE ALREADY AT WORK DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE. That's the principle and it is still that way today in your life. This principle is all summed up in these words: 20"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20). That's it! Each day I am to work out the supernatural work of God that He has performed in my heart, knowing that He is already at work inside me to empower the willing and the doing. He is already working in me.

It's a supernatural partnership with the God of gods. I must do all that I can do-my best, by faith that God is doing what He can do (His best) in my life. Now if that doesn't motivate you, then you may already be in need of the local mortuary and don't know it. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me."

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