The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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Philippians 2:12-16: "work out your salvation with fear and trembling"

The next passage we will look at is Philippians 2:12-16. There we read:

Philippians 2:12-16
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain."

To "work out our salvation", means to live out our faith, to walk like a follower, a disciple, of Christ. Now, is this optional? Is it a nice thing to do but never mind if it does not happen? Well the phrase "with fear and trembling" does not sound optional. This phrase means that we should take the working out, the practicing, of our faith, very seriously; so seriously to the point of fear and trembling. To use the words that we saw Peter using in the previous section: we should "make every effort".

Furthermore, Paul tells the Philippians to "hold fast to the word of life". If they did this, then in the day of Christ he would be proud that he did not run or labor in vain. This in turn means that if they did not hold fast to the Word, the labor of Paul would indeed be in vain. And the question is why? If these people, regardless of what happened to their faith after they believed, regardless of whether or not they held fast to the Word and abided in the vine, would be in the Kingdom of God, then the work of Paul would not be in vain, wasted. Correct? Some made it into the Kingdom and this is not vain at all. Personally the only reasonable explanation I have for this is that if the Philippians did not hold fast to the Word, abiding in the vine, then they would not be in the Kingdom and yes then Paul’s labor would be in vain, like it never happened.

Next section: 1 Timothy 6:10-16: the love of money


Author: Anastasios Kioulachoglou