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, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil 2:12-13
This is an amazing couple of verses. In the first, we are exhorted to work out our salvation. The original Greek carries a sense of us doing everything that needs to be done to take care of the eternal state of our souls and persevering in it until the very end. We must be diligent in working out our salvation. We must be faithful and we must be hard working in it! And note that we are to do it with fear and trembling – as Matthew Henry says “with great care and circumspection”. Hope you get it – work hard!
But wait a minute, that’s not all. If I left you there then we would all be doomed. Why? Because no hard work will get anyone saved. Remember it’s not by works that we are saved. It’s by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. So why would God tell us to work hard in it. Here’s the deal, always remember through what Jesus has done, you are saved. You have been declared right before God. But remember once you are saved, that’s not the end, there is still a process of sanctification which requires you to be changing for the better everyday. And here’s why God would have us work hard – it is he who works in us to will and to act. So God says to us “work hard with diligence and perseverance and care, but always remember that I am working in you to cause you to want to work and succeed in it as well as to enable you to do so“.
So it’s happy days, we don’t complain because God has asked us to work. We realise that the work he gives us, he is already at work in us to want to do it and to help us to do it. He doesn’t set us up to fail but to prosper in it. It is God who keeps us till the very end and we can play our part both will diligence and with joy! Who knew work could be fun!