"Your Own Salvation"

J. D. Conley
October 15, 2017

Contained in the apostle Paul's letter to the church at Philippi is this admonition, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phi.2:12). Some contend that when Paul wrote this it was his intention that the Philippians (and all people,) work out their salvation in their own way, or as they see fit. If such is the case, why did God enjoin that we "fear and tremble" in the process? Why should we fear and tremble if our salvation is left up to our discretion?

Clearly, what Paul meant by this statement is that all men and women are personally responsible for the salvation of their own souls. Furthermore, salvation must be "worked out" This working out of our own salvation involves careful obedience to the Word of God (Mt.7:21). Man is not free to decide on how he can be saved, "...salvation... is of the Lord" (cf. Ps.37:39, Jn.l4:6, Acts 4:12). The word "work" as Paul uses it, does not mean that we can earn our salvation in any way, (cf. Lk. 17:10, Eph.2:9, Is.64:6,) rather it means to obey. While it is true there is a saving work which only God can do for man, there is also a work which man must do for himself, otherwise there would be no need for this admonition of Paul.

The crucial question therefore is, "Are you working out your own salvation?" Jesus sets forth the terms in His New Testament and they are easy to understand. He has said we must:

Believe, Repent, Confess, be baptized and remain faithful (cf.Jn. 8:24, Lk. 13:3, Mt. 10:31,32, Mk.16:16, Rev.2:10). If you are already a Christian you must make sure that you are constantly working out your salvation because it is a continual process. Examine yourself (2Cor.13:5) and give diligence to this all-important matter.