If you truly rely on/trust in Jesus for salvation, what do you think this means? I know one of the most distorted verses in christendom is Philippians 2:12 ”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, ” (NIV) The distortion is what happens when we bring bias to the bible (whether positive or negative), read scripture out of context and do not study by ourselves with the help of the Spirit. This distortion affects the message of the Authors, it doesn’t help that we all can’t read the original text, but it pays to go deeper and read other translations. Here is an article that can help, how do you read the bible
Thank God, that God’s word stays the same every and anytime. There will always be other verses that corroborate what a particular piece scripture is saying, nothing in the Bible is in isolation, because its all part of a bigger whole. We will explore what Paul was really trying to convey in that verse.
First of all, we will start with the context in which this was given.
Philippians 2 vs 1- 8. ‘’A Call to Humility’’
Author: Paul, while he was in prison and sent the letter through Epaphroditus.
Recipients: Christians in Philippi ,Greece .
Philippi was the first city in Europe to hear the Gospel from Paul and he had a fondness for the church started there. This was started at Lydia ’s house (Acts 16:12-15). Paul was concerned about the Philippians’ Faith and their Love for each other.
It is a letter of cordial Christian Friendship to a Church Paul founded and one that had supported his missionary work with gifts of money.
2: 1- 5
Paul begins with an ‘appeal’ of the sort to a unity based on the personal experience with Christ of every Believer. It wasn’t an expression of doubt but a condition of reality. This is stated in pairs, you have him write about Christ and Benefits we get from our fellowship with Jesus. Then you have the Spirit and the Benefits of having the Spirit with us. He employs the Philippians to stop seeking status but to be humble, promoting self- sacrifice over self-denial. Most difficulties in our churches can be resolved if we stick to the model of Christ
Paul reminds them of the example we have in Jesus because Jesus Christ is the supreme example of self-sacrificing love. This portion also points out a contrast between Jesus and Adam, where by Adam sought equality with God, Jesus being equal to God didn’t exploit that aspect of Himself ‘grasping’ instead he took on the nature of a servant.
2: 12- 18
After the reminder of Christ’s Example, Paul points to the practicality of it in Church. ‘’Continue to work out your salvation’’ basically means live like someone that has truly experienced God’s grace ‘’with fear and trembling’’ This phrase has been used in 1 Cor 2:3, 2Cor 7:15, Eph 6:5 which all point to being humble before one another. Fear in the bible is largely used to mean ‘Reverence’ When a Scripture says ‘Fear God’ it doesn’t mean ‘Be Afraid or Scared’ It means Reverence/ Deep Respect. It is only through the Spirit that we can live our lives out, live our lives as Christians therefore we should be wholly dependant on God. The world generally sees humility as a sign of weakness, but it is only in this way we can truly stand out in this world, and live like we should.
I like this article Spirituality or Religion which you can also read. We are called as Christians to live a life worthy of this salvation not because it would makes us any more righteous or any more saved, but because it increases the quality of life here on earth for others and for us, It strengthens faith, It builds and unites the church which we are e.t.c. If not, we will face the consequences of our wrong behaviors, just like the Robber on the cross, Jesus saved him, but Jesus didn’t tell him to get off the cross, he still paid for doing something wrong.
Paul clearly employs the Christians to live a life that is beneficial to others and themselves, work it out!. Nothing you can do can add to your salvation, if it could, Why did Jesus have to die? because we can’t save ourselves, ONLY JESUS SAVES, believe!
The next article will be on Trust