“Work out you salvation with fear and trembling”
– Philippians 2:12
How often do we realize that we are to be holy? How many times are we overwhelmed by the holiness of God and cry out like Isaiah, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!” (Isa. 6:5b). At the point our new birth we are are new persons: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). We are given a new nature, a new way of life. No longer does God seem far fetched, but now He is real and at work in us. Surely sin does remain in our mortal flesh, but no longer are we under the dominion of sin, but of Christ. We have “been freed from sin” and have become “slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:18).
Notice, in Philippians 2:12, that Paul does not say to work for your salvation, he tells them to work out your salvation. Our works will never be sufficient for attaining salvation. Before God’s throne, all our works, done in our own strength, are as filthy rags before God (Isa. 64:6b). But our works are a natural outcome of our salvation. We are saved by faith and not by works, so that we won’t boast in our achievements (Eph. 2:8,9).
Much can be said, but suffice it to say that grace is what fuels our works. We grow more and more into the image of our Lord, by grace alone. How marvelous is it to ponder that, though marred by sin, we are being molded and reshaped by our God into the image of Jesus Christ. We are so unworthy, yet by sheer mercy and love He has willed it to be.
May the cross of Christ fuel our lives in complete devotion to God as we, each day, remember the sacrifice He made for us to be His own possession for all eternity.
Glory to God Alone!