Monday, 4 April 2016

What Does Working Out Our Own Salvation mean?

 I've written before that salvation is a gift, not something people can earn. Even so, some folks might remind me of Philippians 2:12 and 13. "So then, my loved ones, as you have at all times done what I say, not only when I am present, but now much more when I am not with you, give yourselves to working out your salvation with fear in your hearts; For it is God who is the cause of your desires and of your acts, for his good pleasure." Doesn't this indicate that God wants us to work to be saved? Not at all and here's why.

Among the admonitions in Paul's letter to the church in Philippi, he told them to, for lack of a better word, unpack the ramifications of their salvation.  Just as an unzipping program takes files out of a compressed folder and restores them to readability on a computer, so we must apply the reality of our salvation to our lives.

For example, how do we respond to those who insult us? We know that we must be humble and that vengeance belongs to the Lord. Therefore we don't beat the stuffing out of the person who insulted us but we  pray for that person. In fact, being maligned for Christ's sake should make us glad that we suffer for the sake of our saviour. That was the attitude which the disciples had when persecution arose against them after Pentecost.

Unzipping salvation in our lives governs every aspect of our affairs. It means that we work as if we're working for Christ, even in the most dead-end of jobs. It means we make no under-the-table deals. Neither do we practice any sort of licence in secret since God sees all.

Applying God's law of love is an intuitive process. We need no mile-thick rule book for every possible situation when we place the good of others and the honour of Christ ahead of petty gain.

As for me, I had plenty of unzipping to do. You can read in my How I Was Razed memoir how the Lord providentially led me out of cultic bondage and into his glorious truth. It's available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm in paperback.