Paul has previously told the Philippians to “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel”(Phil 1:27). His comments here link back to that passage, emphasizing the need to continue to do God’s will whether he is released from prison or not.
“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”(Phil 2:12-13). “Work out your own salvation” does not mean to work out salvation as a math problem. The idea is to do the work that stems from the new relationship with God we enjoy. Contextually this includes standing firm, striving for the faith, refusing to be cowed by persecution, and humbling ourselves like Jesus (Phil 1:27, 28, 2:5-11). As we do this work, we can be assured that “it is God who works in you,” supplying both the knowledge and power to continue to obey him. This means that when we have done what he asks, we cannot glory in ourselves because he is ultimately responsible.
Salvation involves ongoing responsibilities. Disciples of Jesus continue serving him; in fact, their salvation is only the beginning of a life of service. As we obey “with fear and trembling” because of the awesome responsibility we have and the unique closeness of God, we give glory to God for the blessing of his favor.
------------- One Thing to Think About: How will I work because of my salvation today?
One Thing to Pray For: The appropriate mixture of gratitude and fear