In Philppians 2:12 Paul writes“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, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his purpose.”
The legalistic crowd uses this verse to teach us that our salvation is fragile and could be easily lost if we are not careful to keep it, depending on our own ability to stay cleaned up and act in accordance with the grace we received. I know this explanation because I learned this from my early days of legalism. In fact, my heart suffers from a lot of legalistic interpretations of verses. I didn’t know the gospel then, I only thought I knew it. I was saved by grace but my salvation depended on my ability to keep it for the rest of my life, I thought. Anything different than the legalism I knew was considered heresy and wicked, causing people to live recklessly, abusing grace. However, the damage that legalism causes split our church and caused sin to abound. The law will do that, you know. It’s a good thing that where sin abounds, grace super-abounds! (Rom 5:20) I wrote my experience in a book “First Wash The Inside.” (You can order it)
The gospel of grace actually empowers us to live to our full potential in Christ, not dominated by sin-handicaps. Sin is a huge handicap and thwarts our freedom to live out God’s plan for our lives. Working out our salvation means many things to me now, none of which mean to grit my teeth, bear down and keep myself out of trouble. Salvation is translated from a Greek word sozo which means saved from sin, healed in all ways, prosperous and delivered from evil. Once we are “saved” or born-again, we have a new spirit to begin working with. The object of a Christian is to learn how to become spirit-led in life instead of carnal-minded. We switch gears and renew our minds to the Word of God which helps us recognize what our spirit tells us,( which is the mind of Christ talking.) So working out our salvation is merely exercising our new spiritual life. We practice hearing God and becoming spiritually GPS-directed.
Becoming baptized in the Holy Spirit is the greatest, most powerful thing a human being can do. He will then have tools to become a spiritual dynamo! You get your cable connection instead of an antennae. You become turned on and tuned in. Your spiritual gifts get downloaded and it is your job to tap into them, open them up like unwrapping presents. Ooooo!What is this?? How do I use it?? What’s it for?? Read manuals like books on activating these spiritual gifts. Pursue them! Read the Bible in the book of Acts and notice how the disciples operated in these gifts. Work out your salvation! Take the Kingdom violently! (Mt 11:12) There’s another book about that, “The Violent Takers” and “The Violent Takers” Vol 2!
“Fear and trembling” has many interpretations that are anything but anxiety and hesitation.They describe that we should view our salvation as a precious and valuable buried treasure, but dig it up aggressively. Pursue your salvation and its benefits strongly and violently. Pursue your gifts, your healing, deliverance, prosperity. There is a lifetime of things to learn and grow in so get busy!
Phil 2:12-13 The Grace Bible (if it existed) would say it like this: Therefore my brothers, work out your salvation like a treasure chest is brought to the surface; dig it up it with awe and reverence as a man uncovers buried treasure; and learn how to use the gold deposited in you; for it is God Himself doing the work inside you, just focus on these new gifts and exercise them so that God can flow through you easily, for it is His good pleasure to do so.