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Devotional - week of May 2, 2004


WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION

… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  Philippians 2:12b 13

The New Testament teaches that salvation is in three tenses. We were saved when we received Jesus as Lord and Savior. We will be saved when we go to be with the Lord. We are being saved as we experience Christian growth.

In Philippians 2:12b-13 Paul writes to believers who have been saved and who will be saved concerning their “being saved.”

Paul tells his readers that God is working in them a willingness to do His will and the power to do His will. It is the believers’ place to live out that which God is working in them.  

Paul also informs his readers that they will bring pleasure to the Lord when they live out what God is working in them.

In Philippians 1:24-25 Paul, considering whether he would live or die, had written:

…  to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith …

With these two verses Paul reduces Christian growth to progress and joy in faith. When we work out what God is working in us, we will grow in faith—and a growing faith brings pleasure to God.

We grow in faith through reading and understanding the Scriptures and through our prayers that God answers. We grow in faith when we engage in God-directed Christian ministries. We grow in faith by thanking God for all of our circumstances.

God, then, is working in us a desire to read our Bibles, to pray, to engage in Christian ministries, to be thankful for our circumstances. And He works in us the ability and strength “to do” those things He is working in us.

We arrive at our greatest ability to work out what God is working in when we live out our oneness with Christ.