The Expository Files.

"Work Out Your Own Salvation"

 Philippians 2:12

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi, for whom he had a very special tenderness, encouraging them to " out your own salvation with fear and trembling..." (Philippians 2:12). And so is laid down the personal responsibility of every person for reading, understanding and obeying the gospel.

We certainly do not mean to imply that we are to try to take the credit for our own salvation, as God was afraid the Israelites would do in the days of Gideon (Judges 7:2). It is only by the grace and mercy of God that we are saved but he has also given us responsibilities in this process.

Part of that responsibility is to read and understand God's word and insure that what we do does not violate it. It is our duty before God, when we learn that something we are doing violates His law, to give it up, to do it no longer and to teach others this way also. That may require us along the way to denounce doctrines and practices we have in the past held dear. It may require us to disassociate ourselves with those who still hold to these "commandments of men" (Matt. 15:9). For by receiving one into our house who does not abide in the doctrine of Christ we share in his evil deeds (2 John 9-11). The Apostle Paul had worked out his own salvation earlier in his life. He came to a point when he had to make a decision. Was he going to do what he now knew was right or was he going to continue to follow teaching that he had received earlier in life that he now knew was wrong. Was he going to admit before God and the world that he had made mistakes? He did not arrive at this point totally unaided. The incident on the road to Damascus got his attention and Ananias taught him what he needed to do (Acts 9, 22, 26). But he had to make the tough decisions - no one else could do that for him!

Perhaps, as you read these words, you really know in your heart that you need to make some things right, but it's just really tough to make that decision. Perhaps there are circumstances in your life that would require you to alienate someone that means a great deal to you. It really takes a courageous person to admit that they have made mistakes and then to make correction of those things. It says a great deal about one's character who is willing to risk his popularity in order to lead another to salvation. When it comes right down to it, we are individually accountable to God for searching out and complying with His terms of pardon. May we assist you to "make your calling and election sure"? (2 Peter 1:10). We stand ready and willing to respond to your call, dear friend.

{Scanned from THE PRECEPTOR, March, 1995}

 By Randy Sexton 
 From Expository Files 3.8; August 1996