Work Out Your Own Salvation EGP Blog post from November 9, 2012

Philippians 2:12–13 (NASB)

[12] So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; [13] for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Every believer has a sinful background. After all, that’s the reason we needed salvation! Through the power of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome temptation. There comes a point in your spiritual growth where you need to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” meaning that within the guidelines of scripture and the Holy Spirit, figure out what’s best for you in order to help you stay on track.

Jesus put it this way in Matthew 18:8, “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.”

If you have a tendency to get drunk, you probably need to abstain from drinking alcohol indefinitely and maybe avoid places that make it easily available. If you have an addiction to pornography, you might need prohibit yourself from being alone on a computer or watching TV after a certain time, or at all. If you are violent or vulgar, you should probably try to avoid taking in violent and vulgar things.

In “working out our own salvation,” we must be careful not force our guidelines on others as if they were God’s law. This is the mistake that the Pharisees often made, where they had an appearance of godliness, but internally overcome by sin.

Colossians 2:20–23 (NLT)

[20] You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as, [21] “Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch.” [22] Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. [23] These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.

Key verses

Romans 5:8–9; Hebrews 12:1–2; Acts 15:10–11; Matthew 23:27