Working Out My Salvation
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12
Let me be perfectly honest. I believe the teachings of the Bible, but I do not always like what I read. Furthermore, some of it throws me for a loop. In other words, I just don’t quite get it. This command to work out my salvation has often been one of those verses that just did not click for me. Remember my favorite question is “Why?” and when you step out in faith, “WHY” is not always answered at the beginning, at least not specifically.
Merriam-Webster and I are great friends lately. The very first definition that appears is tagged as in Christianity. The simple definition states salvation is “the act of saving someone from sin or evil: the state of being saved from sin or evil.” So if in order to be saved we need only believe and ask God to forgive us through Jesus…what is there to “work out”. The ongoing battle with temptation? Okay, that makes some sense but doesn’t the Holy Spirit convict and guide me in that area? (Are you beginning to see how my over thinking things is not always a good thing?)
So…back to the dictionary and the definitions provided referencing salvation. There is another few references to deliverance from sin. Then I found it! My personal ah-ha moment with this question of working out my salvation. Definition 2 states a “liberation from ignorance or illusion”. The third definition even better: (3a) preservation from destruction or failure and (3b) deliverance from danger or difficulty.
DING DING DING – We Have A Winner
Makes much more sense now. Working out my salvation is not about continually being re-saved or trying to achieve a saved state. Jesus DID take care of that and my faith in Him completed that part of the equation. Working out my salvation is reflective of the partnership between the Holy Spirit and me. The Holy Spirit gives guidance and counsel which helps me to discern the illusions of this world. He convicts me that I so I will not falter from my path onto the path of sin. (preservation from destruction and deliverance from danger).
I am not trained, professionally, in God’s word. I have not yet read every word in my Bible cover to cover. My degrees have nothing to do with theology. However, God does not require me to be a theologian to glean knowledge and wisdom in His word. (Can I get an AMEN?) To me, working out my salvation is a learning process. Our youth group is reading Proverbs this month. Over and over again (and it’s only Chapter 8 today) we are told to chase wisdom, to keep company with wisdom and to learn from the wise. That is the process of working out your salvation…to gain wisdom. To gain wisdom and keep counsel with the wise (Holy Spirit and other believers) keeps us from failure and destruction. In wisdom, we are liberated from ignorance and illusion.
This is generally how it goes. A verse that confuses me or that I don’t particullary like is made clear and suddenly…I really like the verse. (When you get it; you get it.) Digging deeper and praying about it gave me clarity. There are a lot of concepts in the bible you have to study. If you just read it, some of these verses will leave you a bit confounded. Pray over those verses or passages. Ask for the Spirit to give you clarity. Talk with your Pastor or fellow believers till you obtain wisdom and understanding.
Afterall, iron sharpens iron.