9/22 Philippians 2:12b-13

12b . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

The apostle Paul is very clear in his teaching that our salvation is an act of God's grace received by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn it. Jesus paid it all. But Paul and Peter both tell us to work at yielding to the life of Jesus in us (2 Peter 1:5-7). We come to salvation with all kinds of habits and patterns and must learn to let go of them and walk in the Spirit. We have to unlearn years of reasoning and habitual responses.

We do so with fear and trembling because we realize the consequences of sin in this life and how displeasing it is to God. This transformation is not something we undertake lightly. God is working in us, but we must work out what He is working in. At first it is not easy to act in faith. It takes spiritual discernment to see the difference between flesh and spirit. It is work to grow in the knowledge of the Word. It is a work of the will to yield to the prompting of the Spirit and react in faith to God's leading.

When we do act according to God's good pleasure, we are often rewarded with seeing the fruit that comes from doing His will. There is joy in knowing that by His grace we did what pleased our Savior. Responding to life in this new way is evidence of the free gift of salvation we have received. The eternal bonus is heavenly rewards for simply doing what is good and right (Ephesians 6:8).

Remember: Work out what God has worked in you.