Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
My dad used to say, “If it’s worth having, it’s worth working for”. He would often say those words to me when I would talk about the things I wish I had when I was a boy. Back then, I thought it was a convenient excuse for why he wasn’t going to spend the money to get me what I wanted. But now, I see the wisdom in the “working”.
What my dad was trying to teach me was, if I had everything I wanted given to me, I would not only not appreciate the items, I wouldn’t appreciate what it took to get them. Part of the reward of a job well done is the satisfaction of knowing you’ve accomplished something. Sometimes, that reward is to obtain something you’ve always wanted, knowing now you can now afford it.
Salvation, is the greatest gift anyone can receive. God gives salvation generously to all who ask, but do we appreciate it? St. Paul didn’t teach the Philippians they had to “work” for their salvation…but, he did teach them they had to work to keep it. And, not only that, but to work it out with, “fear and trembling”. If we don’t do something with this great gift, we won’t appreciate what it took God to give it to us – the death of His son.
What are you doing with your salvation? Have you sat it on a shelf like a trophy…maybe even dust it off once in a while? I hope not. But, just how do we work out our own salvation? By serving God as a “Thank You”, and serving each other as a proof that it’s real. Real salvation is a working thing; it proves itself. We obtain it through faith, but keep it through good works. St. James said it like this, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” (Jas. 2:17)
Paul wants us to know that, we too must work to keep our faith alive. And, we work out our faith with fear and trembling because we respect what it took for God to give it to us. But, notice it’s God’s will at work in us through which we actually accomplish this great work. To do the will of God takes resurrection power, so even in our working we can say, “to God be the glory!”
So, what do you want? Then go work for it. But remember, Christ is risen…and so are you!
Grace & Peace,
Father God, I help me to realize your resurrection power at work within me, and help me to work for your will to be accomplished in my life. Let me do only what you would have me do. Let your thoughts be my thoughts, and your work my work. Amen. Alleluia!