So I started last week with a post introducing a series on sexual sin and then the week became consumed with my lovely wife's birthday, planning for the church Christmas program and several busy shifts at the hospital. By the way, thank you to all whom took the time to read the post regarding Angie's birthday. That is the most hits I've ever had on the visits counter to the actual blog page. It says a lot about how loved and honored my sweet, beautiful wife is. The Lord impressed something upon my heart in the interim this week that I would like to share. In fact, I think it will actually compliment the topic of sexual sin as it relates to God's glory very nicely. I will present it over at least two posts and get back to the series on sexual sin next week, Lord willing. So here goes.
One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 2:12-13. You might even say it is a life verse for me. In it the Apostle Paul states, "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."
This verse stands alone as a wonderful reminder that we are to work hard at growing in our faith and obedience to Jesus, all the while being enabled by the grace of God in order to have faith and obey in the first place. This passage of scripture can stand alone and present a profound message outside of the surrounding context. However, a couple of deeper question could and should be asked regarding this passage. For example, "What does it mean to work out your salvation?" and "What is the purpose of working out our salvation?" We must look at the surrounding text to get the answer to that question as it relates to the context of the chapter. So I would like to do that. I am not claiming by any stretch to be presenting the full exposition of the text. It would be truly difficult to do that here and I am sure I would miss something. But I think we can get a healthy gist of what Paul is getting at.
So, "What DOES it mean to work out your salvation with fear and trembling?" In truth, Philippians 2:1-15 presents the greater contextual picture. For the answer to this question I will strive to hone in on the primary focus which is Philippians 2:5-8. I will not quote it here for brevity's sake, but I hope you will read it. It emphasizes Christ as our example. Specifically, the humility of Christ. Christ humbled himself, taking the form of a servant. He made himself nothing. He was the Son of God, yet he did not set himself on an equal plane with God.
Have you ever truly processed that the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, God's Son, who is in fact equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, died for you? He came down as God in the humiliation of sinful human flesh. He perfectly, sinlessly, and faithfully served His Father and humanity in order that we might have the opportunity for eternal life and; to restore the glory of the Father in the eyes of those who believe, confess and serve Him as Lord.
While we are incapable of living a sinless, perfect life, we are commanded by these scriptures to imitate Christ's humility and to serve others as He served us....by dying to ourselves(Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34-38, Luke 9:23, John 15:13). We must lay down our lives just as Christ did by proclaiming the truth of the gospel, putting others before ourselves, and ultimately desiring to see God glorified in all that we say and do. Scripture all through the New Testament makes it clear that this God-glorifying, selfless serving is the purpose for which we are created, the purpose for which we are saved, and the purpose for which we are intended to live until we meet Jesus in Heaven. This purpose IS, to live a life that is worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ(Philippians 1:27).
May it be so in the life of every believer,
In Jesus name,