Work Out Your Salvation!!!

Work Out Your Salvation!!!

WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION?

Lord I thank you for the spirit of wisdom you gave to your people to understand revelation in the knowledge of you, that all glory might be yours in Jesus name. Amen, Hallelujah! Thank God for mercies.

There is a misconception amongst the people of God concerning His greatest gift to man, His salvation. I will be talking about the role expected of man and that of God. I will try to shed some light on some perceived dark areas that has been greatly misconstrued and so creating some form of ambiguity in the knowledge of the salvation of God to man.

I will be dealing with this topic on salvation. The text is found in Philippians 2:12-13 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure

Like a man of God truly stated, “Many of us in the past have wrongly divided these two verses of Philippians 2 and pitted them against each other—emphasizing one to the neglect of the other. Either verse 12 is underscored with human beings contributing to our salvation with good works (without which you end up in hell, they say) or verse 13 is highlighted with God doing everything himself. No, there is a balance.

 

What many don’t see is that Philippians. 2:12-13 is not about the initial salvation. It’s about the Christian life AFTER conversion; it’s about maintaining a healthy relationship with God as a converted believer. For your own good, your reward for a race well run.

No two verses in the Bible have been discussed and debated more than these together.

The whole gospel is expressed in these two verses—in a nutshell. But for many Christians it has been and remains a tough nut to crack. That’s because of its paradoxical nature—two truths that seem to conflict with each other and yet are inseparable. It’s what I call a paradox of grace on salvation. For it is both a gift and a task.

 

Please note: Paul did not say, “Work for your salvation” or “work towards acquiring your salvation” nor is it “work at your salvation to secure it” nor work up your salvation.” It is none of those. Every born again Christian have been saved through faith in believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and receiving Him as their Lord and Savior. “… if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” Romans 10:9-10 it is as simple as that. All saved at this moment.

 

Let me break it down a bit here. There are three salvations, (1) the salvation of the soul, (2) the salvation of the life and (3) salvation from the body of flesh.

The first is what David was talking about in Psalm 51:12. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” Notice the words, thy salvation Not yours.

 

The second is the one that is mentioned in Philippians 2:12. Notice the words, “work out your own salvation. 

 

The third is the one Paul lamented about in Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Deliverance is the key word there. But that’s not where we are going today.

 

Let’s go back to our text, Philippians 2:12-13. Notice, I am not commanded to work out God’s salvation, it’s impossible, I cannot do that. Jesus already perfectly finished the job on that for me.  I am commanded to work out my own salvation.  Don’t forget, we had no impute in the salvation of our souls; but I do have a part to play in the salvation of my life. That’s where Philippians 2:12-13 comes into play. It answers that crucial question in a paradox but not a contradiction.

 

A clue to why the message is not a contradiction lies in the Greek words translated “work” in the English Bibles. Work out your own salvation” it says, “for God is at work in you….” The secret is that in the original language, these are two different words, not one. There just are no two different English words to translate the two Greek words, so most English translations simply use “work.” But that’s confusing because it makes the passage sound like it’s contradicting itself—verse 13 sounds like it is contradicting verse 12. But it’s not.

The Greek word translated “work” in verse 12 is the word katergazomai (pronounced kat-er-gad’-zom-ahee ) meaning to “work fully, i.e. accomplish; by implication, to finish, perform, work (out) to continue a task; carry it out to completion. But the Greek word translated “work” in verse 13 is the word energeo, (pronounced en-erg-eh’-o) same word translated in the two words “…TO DO of His good pleasure” put together it means “to be active, efficient to provide the ability and means, the energy.”

So let’s read the passage with the Greek in mind: “Carry out, continue your task of salvation with fear and trembling, for God is providing all the ability, means and energy….”

This way the meaning is clearer. When it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship with God, we do something and God does something.

 

Let me reiterate this point. Salvation is God’s gift to man, accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary when He Himself freely and lovingly chose to endure in our place – the wrath of a sin-hating God. The Church of God was saved there by Him and Him alone. Again, that salvation was accomplished by Christ alone but it became ours when God opened our hearts and gave us a new birth from above, when we got born again, applying all the benefits of the triumph of Christ to us.

In 1 Corinthians 15:1&2, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved…” Ephesians 2: 8 (a more emphatic repeat of three verses earlier), For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God to you as a repented sinful man.

So every single born again Christian is in a state of salvation from the guilt, and condemnation, and lordship of sin, nothing can change that in the spirit. But WE have a duty to live our life in line with the new nature we received from God at our salvation point. Ephesians 4:22 “…That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” that tells you the onus is on US

 

You should and MUST discard the erroneous belief that if you did not “work out your salvation” you are doomed and are reserved for a one way ticket to hell. No sir, nothing could be further from the truth! Paul explains a bit of that in 1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: (it is a deliberate and conscious act you do) lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway Not to hell. The Greek word translated “castaway” here is the word adokimos,  (pronounced ad-ok’-ee-mos) meaning unapproved, i.e. rejected. It is the picture of an athlete who during the course of a race, breached one of the laws of that race i.e crossing into another’s lane or in today’s world, testing positive on a banned performance enhancing drug. Even if he won that race, he will be disqualified as stipulated by the law guiding that event and his reward recalled but not necessarily be put to death. A similar law applies here with your salvation. You lose your reward but not your salvation, you are still heaven bound.
Let me reiterate this, the punishment for breaking the law governing any race is disqualification or rejection regardless the performance, hence losing his reward for a race he strove to win. But he is not sentenced to death. Same for the Christian, you are still heaven bound but NO REWARDS. In 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 we read “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” That is the work of Grace not your effort. HE SUFFERS LOSS BUT HE IS SAVED AS BY FIRE as in, great difficulty. That is because the foundation for his salvation has been perfectly laid by someone else already. So that foundation of his salvation cannot be moved.

The verse there in 1 Corinthians 9:27 says “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection…” No one but you, it’s your body. You keep your body under. In the Greek, the phrase “I keep under” is one word, hupopiazo pronounced hoop-o-pee-ad’-zo and “my body” is the Greek word soma pronounced so’-mah they literally translate to “I buffet my body” (alla hupôpiazô mou to sôma). That is the part of the face under the eyes, a blow in the face, to beat black and blue. This is found in two places in the New Testament only, here and Luke 18:5 “…she weary hupopiazo me” Same word. Paul does not, like the Gnostics, consider his sôma or body sinful and evil. But it is like the horses in a chariot race, which must be kept well in hand by whip and rein if the prize is to be won, relating it to boxers who often used boxing gloves which gave telling blows. Paul was not willing for his body to be his master. He found good as the outcome of this self-discipline (2 Corinthians 12:7; Col 2:23; 3:5). And “bring it (the body) into subjection” or bondage. The Greek (kai doulagôgô). It is the metaphor of the winner in a match leading the defeated as captive and slave. In other words, you are to defeat your carnal propensities. “Lest by any means…” (mê pôs). Common conjunction for negative purpose with subjunctive as here Greek- genômai,”should be “…when I have preached (kerusso) to others…” (allos) “I myself should be castaway” or rejected (autos adokimos genômai). Literally, “I myself should be a rejected or disqualified for the price.”

You had absolutely no impute in the salvation of your soul. It was a job done by someone else and handed over to you to play your part. Remember Jesus is “…the author and finisher of your faith…” Hebrews 12:2. We must run the race according to the laws guiding it. We look onto Jesus as the wounded Israelites did to the brazen serpent in the wilderness.Going it by faith, Jesus begins the race in us when we get born again as we grow in Him and learn to walk with Him. We work to earn our rewards, very important. Not so we could get to heaven, your works cannot qualify you for that. That has already been taken care of. He helps us through our weaknesses, through our wobbling and fumbling. Through all the vicissitudes and the prevarications of our lives, He carries it on unto perfection at the end. That is why “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 so you could be rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad”
The phrase “judgment seat of Christ” should actually read “the reward seat of Christ.” For the believer it’s a reward but the unjust gets judgment. Colossians 3:24-25 “Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” For sin has been judged on the cross for the believer. 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

Every Christian should also look forward to being freed from the presence of sin. The end of our journey is Jesus, and when we see Jesus we shall be like him. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” 1 John 3:2 only then will salvation be perfect and completely complete in its entirety.

 

In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul is writing to the congregation of professing Christians in Philippi who have received salvation. To these saved people he says, Work out your own salvation.” Like I said earlier, he is not talking about their status of being ransomed, justified, reconciled, forgiven or being clothed in the righteousness of Christ, telling them to work at getting all that. No, absolutely not. All those are already theirs as a free gift of God; it is all absolutely perfect and nothing needs to be added to it whatsoever. That is accomplished salvation: past-tense-salvation: we have been saved once and for all. Grace did that for us. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” Ephesians 2:8-9

 

What Paul is talking about in Philippians 2:12-13 is linear salvation, progressive salvation, sanctifying salvation, which will not be complete until the day of Christ when we are going to see God and “…be like him”. 1 John 3:2 Man is born messed up. Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me you had nothing to do with the way you were born but it is absolutely your responsibility how you live that life. Hallelujah! As born again Christians, Paul is urging us here in our text to be promoting that completed full salvation, here and now to be advancing and encouraging that transformation of our lives. “Work at becoming more like the Lord of your salvation. For there is a reward for it, don’t lose it.” Is what he is saying. Losing it means going empty handed not to hell. You are the righteousness of God in Christ 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” Live in that state He put you, His righteousness. That is what he is saying here. Don’t be like Adam in the garden who walked away from the state God put him by deliberately disobeying God. His reward was expulsion from his paradise. Don’t forget, God still made provision for his salvation. Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” why? Like you, he was the son of God. Luke 3:38 “…which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God”

 

Paul expounds on working out YOUR OWN salvation by faith in Christ in Philippians 3:9-14 “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The man who wrote two thirds of the New Testament still had issues with the flesh. But he was very focused on the goal, for the prize.

 

Sin is in the flesh Romans 6:6 comes through the love of this world. We are categorically told “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” 1 John 2:15-16

But your Spirit man I say again is perfectly and permanently once and for all saved. Just like you can only be physically born once, you cannot be born again more than once 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever

Nothing and I mean nothing can corrupt the seed that got you born again according to that verse above. Your spirit man is where the Godhead resides. Sin is in the body not in the spirit. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Romans 6:6 Sin can never get to your spirit. You are a spirit; you have a soul and live in a body. The challenge is in your body not in the spirit. Our job as Christians is to overcome the desires of the sinful man.

When we say you are once saved for ever saved, most people who oppose this think that means it’s a license to do and undo. “No matter what I do I’m good for heaven” No, this is grace in action; it is a license for servitude. The truth is stated in the scriptures 1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God

 

Now if you took that scripture literally, you know it is impossible. So what does it mean? For we sin every day. Let us define sin. What is SIN? One of the Greek words translated sin in this verse is the word hamartano, (pronounced ham-ar-tan’-o) meaning “to miss the mark and so not share in the prize. It’s like in the game of dart. If you miss the bull’s eye you don’t have it. For example, if you were supposed to be a doctor at the age of twenty five and you only got to be it at twenty six, you have missed the mark, the bull’s eye, you have sinned in God’s book. So what does that verse mean? Simple, He that is born of God does not make sin a habit. That is all to it. Why so? It’s because the seed of God is in him and he cannot continue to sin arbitrarily.

That is the incorruptible seed of the word of God that got you saved like we read earlier. 1 Peter 1:23. You say how do I know that? See 1 John 5:18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not”

Let’s get to the original language this was written, Greek and analyze it. 1 John 5:18

It starts with We know (eido). As in 1 John 3:2, 14; 5:15,19,20. We are categorically sure of this. “whosoever” (pas) as in John 3:16 any one, every, whosoever… “Born of God gennao. Born of the father, as in your father’s son but by extension of the mother or to regenerate:  as in 1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God…” everyone minus none. Sinneth not” (ouch hamartanei) from hamartano (missing the mark) Lineal present active indicative, “does not keep on sinning, missing the mark” as he has already shown in 1 John 3:4-10 above. He that was begotten of God (ho gennêtheis ek tou theou). First aorist passive articular participle referring to Christ, It is Christ who keeps the one begotten of God. “The wicked one” (ho ponêros) Masculine and personal as in 1 John 2:13, not neuter, and Satan as in Matthew 6:13, not just any evil man. “Touchest him not” (ouch haptetai autou). Present middle indicative of haptô, elsewhere in John only John 20:17. It means to lay hold of or to grasp rather than a mere superficial touch (thigganô, both in Colossians 2:21. Here the idea is to touch to harm. It is impossible for the devil to snatch such a man from Christ (John 6:37, 39).

This is another assurance of your security as a child of God. Nothing can touch your salvation. As for the rewards, you must earn them, through faith in His grace to energize you into victory. If for whatever reason you don’t, it’s your loss. I will talk about that later. You will understand why Paul sounded the way he did.

The full eternal Christ like salvation is not something that is in the atmosphere above and around us – over which we have no control. It is not something that comes upon you when you go into a church service and an atmosphere is created by the music and the lightings, as a skilful preacher tells moving stories and emotionally challenges you to “come to the alter in front” kneeling and weeping. Rather, experiential salvation is even now taking place in you as you read this write-up, and our minds and thoughts engage with it. Remember I told you in part two that salvation is both a gift and a task?

The bible says in 1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” It can never be over emphasized. It is your job, your responsibility to defeat the carnal propensities of your body. See, the body is lost and it’s at war with anything God. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” Romans 8:7-8

 

There are three distinct “salvations”, that of the spirit, soul, and the body. This salvation (some call it sanctification. I talked about them earlier) about which Paul is speaking is going on in our soul, our thinking, our decisions, our enthusiasms, our affections, our choices, and in our very bodies today and every day. It is divine ‘work in progress.’ Every part of us is going to be “saved” and so we are being told to work that salvation out, in other words, work out the implications of it and advance it. Don’t sit back. Don’t think to yourselves, “Well, it’s all over. I am saved.” Work at it until it is finished at death. While we are physically alive, this salvation needs to transform all aspects of our lives. Show a new obedience to God in every part of your life. See, what our text actually says is “Continue to work out your salvation.”

 

The body:

The only provision of salvation God made for this present body is at death. “Dust to dust”. Man was formed out “of the dust of the ground”. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground…” Genesis 2:7

Not from the deep part, but from the surface. Dust usually settles on surfaces. Being God He already knew our bodies will be transient on this earth. So He gave us what we can use here on earth for now and discard for a better one at the rapture/resurrection of the sleeping saints. “…the Lord Jesus Christ…. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” Philippians 3:21, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52-53

Let us then break down this working out of “our salvation” into two of its component elements:

 

1          We must work at applying ourselves to putting to death whatever remaining sin.

Every Christian, until he dies, will have to battle with remaining sin. In the New Testament it is called “the flesh”, Romans 8:8, “another law in my members”, Romans 7:23 “the law of sin and death”, Romans 8:2 “sinful man” Luke 5:8 “sin that dwelleth in me” Romans. 7:17, 20.

The scripture tells us in Romans. 8:7 “…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” Our responsibility is to be continually killing it, or “mortifying” it. How powerful is the flesh? You may ask. I will tell you. It can eat up whole elephants for appetizers. The great King David who wrote the 23rd Psalm was a victim of the flesh. It got the man and it can easily get you unless you are consciously making efforts to fight against it. We have to weaken it, and starve it to death.

This is one of the huge Christian duties that most evangelical ministers today ignore. Biblical mortification cannot thrive in certain atmospheres. It’s not spoken about; it’s not acknowledged as a normal Christian duty; it’s not encouraged, yet very important.  What we hear most are prosperity jives and motivational speeches garbed with scriptures for sermons. Please understand me, these teachings in themselves are no crimes, only if our ministers will be “…rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15 and lay them out “…precept upon precept, line upon line…” Isaiah 28:13

Whatever altitude of ecclesiastical euphoria we think we have achieved, there’s still so much sin remaining in us. A child does not begin the pilgrimage of the checkered pavements of his mortal existence by skipping kindergarten unto the junior high school, then the tertiary institution. No! It doesn’t work that way. It’s one step at a time, even if he were a genius. He trains for a level then graduate to the next as he gets older and masters a level at a time. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” 1 Corinthians 3:1 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” 1 Peter 2:2 there is a gradation.

 

There are areas of our lives that are unsubdued and unchanged. Remember the definition of sin I gave you last week? I will remind you. I asked “What is SIN? One of the Greek words translated sin in 1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” it is the word hamartano, (pronounced ham-ar-tan’-o) meaning “to miss the mark and so not share in the prize.

Once we are not in the perfect will of God, we have missed the mark. With God, that is a sin. There is sin in our thoughts, and sin in our words, and sin in our relationships, in our homes, and friendships, professional and ecclesiastical. There is so much stress, and selfishness, and arrogance, and ruthlessness, and self-pity, and sheer egotism. There is an inadequate sense of right and wrong. Our consciences are not as discerning as they should be. We are far too prone to be influenced by what we think, what we like, and what we feel. We have to work away at the mortification of those tendencies in ourselves. We need to learn to rely on the Spirit of God to help us. It is not what we as mere mortals can do without that help from above.

 

Someone might say, “Well, I’m not that bad” Don’t be fooled, we don’t have to be champions at promiscuity nor do we have to be celebrities at our unsolicited exhibitions of laxity and incongruousness towards the things of God.  If we sincerely look deeper into our emotional lives we would be surprised to find there is too much anxiety, and discontent, and so much despondency, and surely in the mastery of our own feelings isn’t there great need for us to put to death our own sin? We must be willing. Again we may go deeper still, into the existence in my life and yours of what the Bible calls, quite simply, ‘lust’, that is, evil desire, covetousness directed towards all kinds of absolutely forbidden and prohibited goals.

We all know that however impressive the public facade may be, that behind it are longings for what God forbids. Surely there is a need for mortification. There are those many backslidings in our own lives, moments of spiritual declension decay, such depravity that only we in the most recessed parts of our hearts can relate to, and that is if we choose to be honest to ourselves.

Now today I can never over emphasize the importance of each one of us pausing and taking an inventory of our own position, and seeking by the grace of God to work at dealing with those un-mortified sins in our own lives.

 

Now we are the ones who have to be willing to do it. We have to work out our own salvation. I cannot do it for you nor can your Pastor. Each Christian is responsible for doing it himself. We can’t do it by our own unaided strength. We do it by the Spirit of God, but we ourselves have to be willing to mortify the deeds of the flesh. It is an all-out war in which we are to be utterly intolerant of and merciless towards our sins. Zero tolerance it is. What does it mean “To Mortify?” Merriam Webster’s 11th collegiate dictionary defines it this way “to destroy the strength, vitality, or functioning of… to subdue or deaden (as the body or bodily appetites) especially by abstinence or self-inflicted pain or discomfort” it would be painful, yes. You will miss it yes, for sin has its pleasures, “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season Hebrews 11:25 but for your own good, you must do it if you ever intend to win a prize for overcoming sin. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8

 

I encourage us “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1 We must put them to death; we are going to kill them. We have to wage war in all those areas of personal defeat. In the light of our text there is no place in the Christian life for the idea that holiness is simply an experience, a moment, a feeling . . . It is rather a titanic struggle between myself and sin, and I have to slay it and utterly destroy it with absolute intolerance. It is a fight to death. Either I must kill sin or sin is going to kill me.

And I am saying that the killing never ends. Indwelling sin is like those trick birthday candles that never blows out. The child blows them out and laughs and thinks that it’s over; she’s made her wish, but the next moment the candle rekindles itself again. Indwelling sin is always ever rekindling itself and we must never relent in quenching its flames. There is no cease-fire; no truce; no surrender; no amnesty – ever!  This is not a sermon condemnation but a reality, life in itself.

 

You say “I’m only human; I’m not perfect, God understands my weaknesses!” What is all that? It is fatalism. It is the belief that we don’t expect people to change, because “people can’t change.” You say Boys will be boys. Take it or leave it. “Take me for what I am.” we are bound on the wild horse of our own lusts and we are unwilling to be loosed, regardless of the fact that the ride is very bumpy, risky and life threatening. Sin is pleasurable to the flesh but very detrimental to the spirit.

The undeniable truth is that there is this utter reality of the work of God’s redeeming grace that delivers and forgives. There are the changes which God accomplishes in Christians as we willingly work at it with him, and we mortify our anger and lust and cynicism.

The Lord met an arrogant self-righteous persecutor named Saul from Tarsus on the road to Damascus and transformed him. The snake became a lamb. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 Believe it! Know it for yourselves! It is possible, you can make it, and you can be transformed if you trust the Lord Jesus to help you. But let’s balance this because there is a balancing truth to mortification.

 

2          Work at Sustaining and Nourishing All Your ‘Graces’.

When you got born again, you were made the righteousness of God in Christ. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” 2 Corinthians 5:21 you are to live and manifest that life of righteousness. God has filled the life of the Christian with all the glorious ‘young plants’ “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Maybe at the moment of your conversion, God gave you those things in great measure, and maybe for days and months you went on in the almost self-sustaining euphoria of that marvelous experience. Suddenly you realize that they’re not self-perpetuating and self-sustaining. They have to be fed. The graces have to grow. You must exercise your faith on the great truths of the gospel, and exercise hope on the glorious promises of God, with our affections set on heaven. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” Colossians 3:2. The kingdom life is not just about success and prosperity. They are only a part of the gospel not the full gospel of Jesus Christ. We must sit under tutelage and listen intently to the word and apply what we hear.

 

You have to read, in fact, not just read but “Study (the Scriptures) to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”, 2 Timothy 2:15 and share the gospel with unbelievers Mark 16:15 as well as 1 Thessalonians 4:18 “…comfort one another with these words…” of hope of our “…expected end” Jeremiah 29:11 If we don’t do things like that then our heaven-given graces will return to the vague weeds of shambolic religiosity and fatalism. They will lose their fruitfulness and fragrance, and so they won’t help us nor anyone else. Remember salt can lose its saltiness. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” Matthew 5:13

 

We have to sustain and nourish our faith so that it grows. Faith isn’t like having a spiritual visitor’s book which records that Jesus Christ once stayed here for the night five years ago. It’s an on-going relationship that doesn’t just depend on memories from that past. Faith grows and becomes stronger by being fed: “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans. 10:17. Faith is not an exercise in introspection; like they say “sober reflection” Faith is not Faith unless it’s all you are hanging onto. It is an exercise in Christ-centeredness. Trust in him – every day!

You also have to feed your hope. You have to trust the promises of God in his word. Believing is seeing when it comes to God not the other way round. There is nowhere it says to understand God first but rather, It’s  believe in His word. Over time understanding will come. You may not understand why God let bad things happen to you, but you believe and know that God loves you just as the Bible tells you.

You believe that Jesus died on the cross for sinners, and He loves you. You believe that He truly forgives us when we ask him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. You know Jesus. One day you will see Him face to face. You may not find it easy following Jesus now, and you find it hard being a Christian, but you know that God loves you and He will never let you go. You know He hears and answers your prayers. You will become a man of hope, strengthened and sustained by the word of God and brethren in your church, your circle of Christian friends and prayer. You will know where you are going. You know God loves you. Work at feeding your hope. Your ‘hopes’ need to be fed to grow in the things of God.

Also you have to feed your love. This is the most indispensable of all the graces without which we are nothing. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and put your own name there instead of the word ‘love’ and search yourself and cry to God, “Lord help me to be patient, kind, not envying, not boasting, not selfish, not proud, but always protecting, always trusting, and hoping and persevering.” You put yourself in places of service where your love for people is tested and has a chance to grow. Most of all we must feed it with the great vision of Jesus Christ himself as the embodiment of the love of God. We live at the foot of Calvary, where Christ became nothing and “…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” Philippians 2:7 Work at feeding your love.

 

We have to work at feeding our humility. You can’t be arrogant when standing in front of the cross. At the cross, Christ emptied himself of all the paraphernalia and glory of his own deity. The Lord became a servant; God accepted the anathema of God, and there at Golgotha, supremely, is where our humility is strengthened, and we must pour contempt on all our pride. What is it we posses that is not a gift from divinity? The bible says “… A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven John 3:27 “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 we must restrain ourselves and desist from those mundane and prideful ejaculations of a typical unserviceable homosapien. We must learn to lose our sensitivity on all the issues concerning our own honor and position. The great God humbled himself and became nothing. That is the epitome of what humility is. Work at feeding your faith, and feed your hope, and feed your love, and feed your humility.

In conclusion, let me recap. I mentioned at the beginning of this topic that there are three salvations–the salvation of the soul, the salvation of the life and salvation from the body of flesh. The first is what David was talking about in Psalm 51:12. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit Notice the words, thy salvation Not yours but God’s.  The second is our text, the one mentioned in Philippians. 2:12. Notice the words, “work out your own salvation.  The third is the one Paul lamented about in Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Deliverance is the key word there. But that’s not what this is all about.

 

In Philippians 2:12. Notice the words, “work out your own salvation.”  Notice, I am not commanded to work out God’s salvation, for I cannot do that.  I am, however, commanded to work out my own.  I have no part in the salvation of my spirit and soul. That was done on the cross in Calvary. But I do have a part in the salvation of my life.

That’s where Philippians 2:12-13 comes into play. It answers that crucial question in a paradox but not a contradiction.

If you go to the very next verse from our text, Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” It starts with “For it is God which worketh in you…”  Every holy purpose, pious resolution, good word, and good work, must come from Him; we must be workers together with Him, so that His grace in us will not be in vain; because He “worketh in you”, therefore work with Him, and work out your own salvation.

“To will and to do” The power to will and the power to act must of a necessity come from God, who is the author of the spirit, soul and body, and of all their powers and energies, but the act of volition and the act of working comes from the man.  God gives power to will, man wills through that power; God gives power to act, and man acts through that power. Without the power to will, man can will nothing; without the power to work, man can do nothing.  God neither wills for man, nor works in man’s stead in this case, but he furnishes him with power to do both; he is therefore accountable to God for these powers.

Because God works in us the power to will and the power to do, therefore the apostle exhorts us to work out your own salvation”; most manifestly showing that the use of the powers of volition and action belongs to us.  We cannot do God’s work, we cannot produce in ourselves a power to will and to do; and God will not do our work for us, He will not work out our salvation with fear and trembling, that is our input, our responsibility.

The power to will and do comes from GOD; the use of that power belongs to man.  Anyone without this power can neither will nor work; but anyone with this power can do both.  But it does not necessarily follow that because a man has these powers that he will use them; the possession of the powers does not necessarily imply the use of those powers, because a man might have them, and choose not to use them or decide to abuse them; therefore the apostle Paul exhorts: Work out your own salvation.

In another vain, this is a text of exhortation with the statutes for general application; it is applicable to all men, there is not one rational being on the face of the earth who has not received from God both power to will and act in the things which concern his salvation, hence the accountableness of man to God.

“…Of his good pleasure.”  Every good is a gift of God; no man deserves anything from Him; and He gives as it pleases. He gives to some more, to others less, but everyone has what is sufficient for their own salvation. Whatever ejaculations of delight and anticipation you might give vent to. What massive truths in these words, and full of application to our daily life.

The psalmist says… “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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