12 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, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 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, 16 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. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
After giving an example of Christ’s humility and sacrifice for us Paul encourages the Philippians again. They have been faithful in obeying God, so don’t give up! Don’t grow apathetic or stop following Him. They are encouraged to work out their salvation. In the call to work out our salvation we’re not told to revert to legalism, but to remember what Christ has done. To remember the depth of Christ’s sacrifice for us, the cost of our sin, the wrath He has saved us from, and the peace, fellowship, and future hope that He has saved us for.
It is God “who works in them” and He has accomplished our salvation. God does the work of saving and sanctifying, but we are called to obey and let that play out in our daily life. As we do that, are we starkly different from the world around us? Because Paul says that if they continue to work out their salvation they will shine like stars. So it causes me to ask myself am I shining? In these uncertain times, is there a difference in how I handle isolation, fear, financial challenges? Those differences should be seen in our conversations, social media posts, and reactions. Paul has been so transformed by the gospel that he is willing to sacrifice his life to see the Philippians grown in their faith. He loves them and Jesus that much, because He knows the lengths that Christ has gone to in loving him.
Before we beat ourselves up too much, remember that we will only look different as we “hold fast to the word of life.” That’s the difference in how we respond to difficult times, the fact that we have hope, and new life! We know the source of life, and we know that God is at work in us.
Let’s take some time today to work out our salvation. To remember the work that Christ has done on our behalf, what He has saved us from and for. And let’s follow the Spirit’s prompting to meet each challenge with the Words of Life.