You will never experience lasting change from the outside in. Biblical change that Jesus taught about only comes from the inside out. This is why Jesus had to ascend into heaven in order to send someone who could live inside of us –– the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit has come to live inside of anyone that would believe in Jesus as Saviour –– we call this salvation.
God actually saved us from being lost for all eternity based on a salvation that we in no way deserve –– we call this grace.
And this same God decided to withhold his wrath from us, that we have built up over the years, which should have been poured out on us –– we call this mercy.
All this is wrapped up in the free gift of our salvation.
This brings us to our passage for today.
“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, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13.
What a commendation for the church at Philippi. Paul was saying that you guys are the real deal.
Not only do you obey God when I am with you, but you are growing to the point that you are obeying God even when I am not there. So what does Paul say to them?
Continue to work out your salvation. We are now going to focus on the words “work out”.
Paul asked these new Christians to keep working their salvation out.
This verse does not suggest that you work for your salvation; after all, Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear that we are saved by God’s grace not our good works.
Also, Paul is writing to those who are already Christians. The verb “work out” means “work to full completion”, such as in high school when you had to work out a mathematical problem.
In Paul’s time this verb was used for working in a mine.
This mining term used here means that your salvation is so rich and full of so many benefits that you have to go into the mine and bring out all the valuables that are already there.
God has provided all the potential in this precious salvation, so get to work and bring out what’s there. But don’t do this haphazardly, do it with a godly fear and trembling because it’s not about you. It’s all about God.
He is actually the one who is working in you to have the desire and passion to live right to fulfill his good purpose in your life.
Why fear and trembling? Because we should be afraid that we are going to miss out on God’s supernatural, preordained purpose for our lives. Wouldn’t that be a waste?
It is a waste of time to continue in sin and frustration of our past, habits or hang-ups. God has so much more for you!
This working out is very personal as well. It is doing that which God has called YOU to do, not just what other people expect from you. God wants you to bring out all the things that he has placed inside of this salvation.
There is peace, love, joy, self-control and the list goes on, of all that God has provided so you don’t have to be a helpless slave to sin anymore. This is the type of freedom that is available to you today.
So start going into the mine with prayer and asking God to pull out what’s there, start reading His Word more to get a better understanding of the truth of your salvation in Christ.
If you want a book to read, try the Book of James, it is a great place to start.
Right now, take the time to pray to God and ask Him to give you a fresh passion to roll up your sleeves and “get dirty” in the mine of your salvation and pull out some of those valuable truths and promises.