What about Working Out Your Salvation? I thought Salvation was Not by Works
What about Working Out Your Salvation?
I thought Salvation was Not by Works
There are many clear passages in the Bible
that tell us that salvation is
a gift we don’t work for
And since we could never “deserve” eternal life,
it is obtainable only by faith
apart from our efforts
Let’s look at a few scripture passages on the subject,
My favorite is Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 and 9
For you are saved by grace through faith,and this is not from yourselves;it is God’s gift—not from works,so that no one can boast.
And looking at
Romans chapter 4 verses 4 and 5
Now to the one who works,pay is not considered as a gift,but as something owed.But to the one who does not work,but believes on Himwho declares the ungodly to be righteous,his faith is credited for righteousness.
AND in Romans 11:6
Now if by grace,
then it is not by works;
otherwise grace ceases to be grace.
So, the question some would ask is,
What about “working out your salvation”
as referenced in Philippians 2:12
Let’s take a close look at both the word “salvation”,
and how Paul is using it
when writing to the Philippians.
Paul uses this word 3 different times in this letter.
Chapter 1 verse 19
for I know that through your prayers
and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ
this will turn out for my deliverance,
The Greek word often translated as salvation is
But in this passage,
it is translated deliverance
in all modern translations.
The Greek word
soteria can mean
You need to look at the context.
Every time the word “salvation” or “saved” is used,
it is not always referring to our eternal salvation.
A clear example can be found in Acts 27:31,
Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers,“Unless these men stay in the ship,you cannot be saved.”
The next time Paul uses this word in Philippians is
in Chapter 1 and verse 28
and not frightened in anything by your opponents.This is a clear sign to them of their destruction,but of your salvation, and that from God.
And lastly in
Chapter 2 verse 12
Therefore, my beloved,as you have always obeyed,so now,not only as in my presencebut much more in my absence,work out your own salvationwith fear and trembling,
So, one must ask the question ..
What is Paul talking about,
since he is writing to the Philippian church members
Who are already saved believers?
In this context
I don’t believe Paul is not talking about eternal salvation.
That matter is SETTLED the moment you trust in Jesus Christ as your savior.
Understanding that His full payment for sin on the cross,
and His bodily resurrection,
is the only basis for you receiving everlasting life
( and being saved from the wages of sin – which is death ).
I just need to quote Romans 6:23 here,
For the wages of sin is death,
but the free gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Again it’s a GIFT –
not something you work for or earn or in any way deserve. That is why eternal life is by grace.
God’s undeserved mercy.
And once you have it,
it can not be lost.
Because the “keeping” is not based on your works,
but the power of God.
Consider these clear passages on the subject:
I assure you:Anyone who hears My wordand believes Him who sent Me has eternal lifeand will not come under judgmentbut has passed from death to life.
Everyone the Father gives Mewill come to Me,and the one who comes to MeI will never cast out.
I Peter 1:5
You are being protected by God’s power through faithfor a salvation that is ready to be revealedin the last time.
2 Timothy 2:13
if we are faithless, He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.
Paul is more likely referring to the “deliverance” from the power of sin
in a believer’s life.
And that is how the next verse
( 2:13 )
makes the most sense,
For it is God who is working in you,enabling you both to desireand to work out His good purpose.
God is working in them through the Holy Spirit.
They are already born again children of God by faith.
And the Holy Spirit is our seal and down payment.
See Ephesians chapter 1 verse 13 and into 14,
When you heard the message of truth,the gospel of your salvation,and when you believed in Him,you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.He is the down payment of our inheritance
I hope you can see how clear and simple
the Gospel message is from these verses.
Our salvation is based solely on the power of God,
Both the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Once you are born again,
you have the opportunity to have a close and abiding relationship
with your heavenly Father.
He promises to bless and reward those
who choose to also serve Him.
So, you work
( with empowerment from God )
for deliverance from the power of sin in your life,
as you seek to grow closer
to the one who Loves you the Most,