“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”. (Philippians 2:12)
Paul commends the brethren for their past obedience and urges them to allow past victories to be an incentive to continue. He urges them not to work to please earthly teachers, but for the approval of the Heavenly Father.
He exhorts them to work out their salvation. “Salvation” means safety from danger and harm. In scripture, it means the safety of the soul from sin and eternal condemnation. Salvation is primarily a work of God, but it requires the faith and cooperation of man. It should be one’s chief work and concern. One must keep walking in the light (I John 1:7), and must keep themselves in the love of God. (Jude 21)
The Lord commands his children to “strive” (Luke 13:24), to “press” (Philippians 3:13), and to “give diligence” (II Peter 1:5). To “work out” or to carry to completion is a personal endeavor. No other person can do this for you. There is the need of perseverance to complete the task.
Finally, Paul says work it out with “fear and trembling”. Fear or reverence is an essential element in holy living. And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; (1 Peter 1:17) One’s service to God is to be with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28) Hallowed be thy name must the posture of every prayer (Matthew 6:9) Too much is at stake to take this task lightly.
Our salvation is not yet accomplished. Hopefully, it is nearer than when we first believed. As long as sin still haunts us, temptations still attack us, and troubles still threaten us, our work is not finished. The perfecting of our soul is a life-long process. We must carry on what God has begun!
By George Slover
Pursuit of God
“One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalms 27:4)
Here the Psalmist suggests a focus and a single mind. “One thing” implies the steadfast eye and a single purpose. This resolve influences everything else. It suggests that there is no other pursuit that will compare with this one thing! This goal is loftier than the pursuit of gold and silver! (Matthew 6:19,20)
Next, this great prize will not be found without effort. It must be sought! The Psalmist states that he is willing to make the sacrifice to find it. God commands, “seek my face” (vs.8)! The Psalmist answers, “Your face Lord I will seek”. (vs.8) Furthermore, the poet implores, “Teach me, your way, Oh Lord”. (vs.11) The writer is willing to make a diligent effort to find his prize.
Next, the Psalmist’s seeks 1) to “dwell in the house of the Lord”, 2) “to behold his beauty”, and 3) “to inquire in his temple”. (vs. 4) Here he expresses his desire: 1) to worship God, 2) to appreciate God’s awesomeness and graciousness, and 3) to know God’s will. These three may also be summarized as “fellowship” with God. This sweet communion with God is the Psalmist’s single pursuit. As a favorite hymn states “I want you more than gold or silver, only you can satisfy, you alone are the real joy giver and the apple of my eye.”
Finally, he has assurance that his pursuit will result in God’s protection in troubling times, “for he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret place of his tabernacle.” (vs.5) “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.” (vs. 10) When his world falls apart he knows that God will be his helper.
Therefore, he exhorts us to “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.” (vs. 14)
By George Slover