Summary: How do I work out my salvation? What is fear and trembling?
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Title Credit: Gerald Steffy on Sermoncentral.com - content is mine, but the title is his.
Philippians 2:12 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,
Work out the details of your salvation. Salvation isn't something you work FOR but it is definitely something you work OUT.
The Gospel REQUIRES repentance and faith, and PRODUCES obedience.
There is some room for disagreement between Christians on behavior.
Ways you work out your own salvation:
• Personal convictions
• Areas of personal carefulness
Why "Fear and trembling?"
Because God is not someone to be toyed with. God is not a troll sitting around looking for a reason to bash you over the head, but He is also not
I can't give you every detail of what it will mean as you follow Christ. I don't know. They will invent some new technology that I can't even predict. There will be new fashions and new values and new sins people invent... You know as well as I that the Apostle Paul could never have predicted the internet and space travel and virtual reality and television and nuclear warfare.
What I can tell you is that there will be hard decisions to make, and you must work them out with the respect of realizing the stakes you're playing with: Eternity, heaven, hell, your soul... your children and their souls!
Now, this might sound a little heavy. Responsibility is a heavy thing to carry. It makes you SIGH deeply sometimes, just from the weight of carrying it.
So I've got to keep focused all the time, and never mess up and always keep in mind judgement day, and never give in to tiredness...
It's hard to do right all the time.
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.”
C. S. Lewis
It's hard to do right always. To carry that responsibility is a weighty thing.
And then when you get to the idea that I've got kids and I've got to
It's right to have a certain amount of fear and trembling, of respect of the weightiness of the decisions you're making, and the course you're charting, and the kids following behind you.
But there's a difference between fear and trembling and DESPAIR. And if I stopped there, you would eventually fall into nothing but despair.
The good news is this: you also get to remember who's playing on your side.
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Responsibility is heavy. So stop carrying it alone.
Your job isn't responsibility for creating all the right feelings and actions and wisdom.
Your job is surrender.
His Job is strength.
Your job is staying yeilded to his will.
His job is creating the UMPH you need.
Tony Evans - illustration
ABIDING A DINNER plate left out overnight will be hard to clean in the morning. An alternative to scrubbing is soaking the dish in hot water and dishwashing liquid. Letting a dish abide in the solution will allow a hard cleaning job to become a lot easier. This is what abiding does for Christians. We are much easier to clean up when we’ve been hanging out in the right environment. Religion says “Scrape off the dirt.” It tells us to apply elbow grease to fix a problem. Relationship says “Soak.” Just sit in the hot water for a while. Abiding will set you free.
Now let's talk about joy.