There’s a lot of things in this life that need to be worked out, such as conflicts in marriage, troubles at work, demanding schedules, arguments between friends. And the truth is, we should do all we can to compromise where we can and negotiate towards a common acceptable goal. The follower of Christ also has something critically important to work out. The apostle Paul spoke of it in his letter to the church at Philippi.
Philippians 2:12-16 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. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
We have to be careful when interpreting what Paul was saying. He wasn’t tell those believers to “work for your salvation,” because that’s what Jesus Christ did on the cross. On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.” Jesus finished the work necessary for us to have a relationship with God the Father. So Paul was talking about the work that was not finished. Paul was saying, “God has put something inside of you, a treasure, that needs to be worked out.” Salvation is not something you receive and then sit on for the rest of your life waiting for it to pay off one day, but salvation is active and ongoing. To work out your salvation you have to go inside and examine the areas in your life that are not completely surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The question is, are you working it out? How often do you examine the different areas of your life? It takes a lot of work to surrender to God’s will and God’s agenda and God’s plan. Why, because we have our own, right?
What happens when you surrender to God’s will and God’s plan? God works in you and when God works in you what happens? You develop an attitude of humility, an awe of God, and greater gratitude and thanksgiving towards God. However, there are some Christians who surrender while complaining and that’s why Paul said, “Do all things (not some things, or a few things, or the things that you agree with), but “Do all things without complaining and disputing.” Are you challenged yet? I can tell you that believers in Christ who work out their own salvation live life with a greater contentment and joy in God.
So, not only do we need to work out our own salvation because we have this charge on our lives and we want to experience the fullness of God in our lives, but work it out because your witness matters in all places and at all times. There’s not much heavenly light shining through complaining Christians, so kill the complaining! How, be conscious of it and close the gate it comes through. Not only be conscious of it, but consider yourself to be the most blessed person on earth because you have salvation.
Work out your own salvation, how?
- Through absolute surrender each day and every moment God shows you His will
- Without the drama of grumbling and complaining
- With faith believing your witness for Christ matters
- With an understanding that one day you will stand before God either rejoicing because you worked it out or with regrets because you constantly complained after receiving the greatest gift ever given, our salvation