March 15th, 2015 at 4:01 pm
(12) Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (13) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
New King James Version Change your email Bible version
It is God who saves! God saved Israel from Egyptian slavery. Israel did not overcome Pharaoh and Egypt by either warfare or by dint of superior intelligence. Jesus Christ is our Savior, and we cannot save ourselves from sin’s power. When we accept Him as Savior, it obligates us as His servants to obey Him.
In like manner, when God broke Egypt’s power, enabling the Israelites to be free, it obligated them to walk out of Egypt if they wanted their liberty. If the Israelites wanted to save their skins and be totally free of Egypt when God parted the Red Sea, it obligated them to walk the path God made for them between the walls of water. When God said, “I am going to bring you into the land and provide for you along the way,” if Israel wanted these things, they were obligated to walk all the way to Canaan. It is very clear that if Israel wanted what God said He would give, then Israel had to also cooperate by working in the form of walking to where God said He would lead or take them. “Walk” is a code word for living.
With this as a background, when Paul says to “work out your own salvation,” it cannot possibly mean we are going to save ourselves. Rather, like what confronted the Israelites when God opened the way to their physical salvation from slavery in Egypt, we should be ready to make God’s spiritual salvation practical and operational. Paul does not say we must work for salvation, but rather carry our salvation out to its conclusion. He uses “work out” in much the same sense as when a student is told to work out an arithmetic problem—to bring it to its conclusion. For us, the conclusion, the goal, to work toward is Christ-likeness. The salvation here is sanctification, victory over sin unto holiness.
To make it very plain, if we want to be one with Him, we must get moving in the direction He is pointing, and He points toward His standards of conduct and attitude. Each person’s walk is not exactly the same because each person’s experience and makeup are somewhat different. There is enough similarity among humans, though, to make the Bible always relevant.
One of the beautiful things about this is that each person’s walk toward the image of God is exactly right for him. What is more, Philippians 2:13 also says God gives us both the will and power or energy to do it! The New Testament in Modern Speech renders it, “For it is God Himself whose power creates within you both the desire and the power to execute His gracious will.” This work of God in us is another aspect of His grace, and without it, we could never be one with Him.
God Himself produces in us both the desire to live righteously and the effective energy to do so. He does not demand what we cannot do (I Corinthians 10:13). We see in Philippians 2:12 our responsibility and in verse 13 help to accomplish it.
We can see this working together with God in simple illustrations from physical life. We may launch a sailboat upon the water, but it takes what God supplies, wind, to make it move. We may plant vegetable seeds, but it is the power of God in nature that makes the plant grow and produce food. We may generate gig watts of electricity in power plants, but God provides the wind, water, sunlight, coal, oil, or gas to turn the turbines. In each case, we add something to what God already supplied.
Our salvation is something already given because it is God’s will, and He is sovereign. We, though, must do something to make it practical by applying ourselves to salvation’s demands. Even in this, God enables us to do it!
We will never know where the dividing line is between what God supplies and what we are responsible to do because it is different for each according to God’s purpose. This proportion must be different because each person is different, and He is preparing us for different responsibilities within His Family. This is sure, however: Our walk toward salvation will always be difficult enough to be challenging and edifying
Even here the analogy of Israel in the wilderness comes to our aid. Where did Israel get the energy to walk across the wilderness to the promised land? Did it not come from the manna and water God supplied, as well as the vision and hope of the inheritance which He also provided? Still, Israel walked! They had to work, to cooperate.
The verb “work” in Philippians 2:12 is in a tense that indicates continuous working. Just as Israel did not leave Egypt and arrive in the promised land in one step, neither are our salvation and oneness with God accomplished at once. It, too, is a process; it is our life’s work.
— John W
March 7th, 2015 at 5:04 pm
Biblical Christianity verses Cultural Christianity
Only understood by those who are joined to Christ through the cross
Believed by the masses to represent genuine Christianity
| It is…
|| A personal relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ, based on faith. John 17:20-26; Rom. 8:37-39
||A religion based on humanist logic, “feel good” experiences, and popular interpretations of Scriptures.
|Come to God through…
|| Faith in Jesus Christ Who has revealed Himself in His Word and by His Spirit. John 14:6
|| Faith that our own good works and intentions are good enough.
|View the Bible as:
|| The absolute, unchanging, Word of God. The Bible is inspired and guarded by God — including its honest reports about evil acts among God’s people. 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet 1:25
||A collection of guidelines, allegories, myths, and stories useful for good living. Offensive verses must be ignored.
| Our goal is…
|| God’s approval. To know Him, do His will, follow His way, and live each moment in fellowship with Him — by His wonderful grace! Gal.1:10
||People’s approval. To please, not offend, the world and its communities. Fun, feel-good fellowship.
|Source of Strength
|| God’s unlimited grace and power. Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:19
|| Our human abilities — plus God’s help when “needed.”
| See our human self as…
|| Weak and inadequate apart from Christ. 2 Cor. 12:9-10
|| Strong and capable if we have confidence in Self.
| See sin as…
|| Leading to spiritual bondage and death. Rom. 6:23
|| A normal part of life. Ignore it, or you might offend someone. Or enjoy it, for “God understands” you needs and inclinations.
| Deal with sin through…
|| Confession and faith: trusting Jesus as the “Lamb,” our Savior who bore our sins on cross. Rom. 6:1-6
|| Try to do better next time, or just tolerate it. Don’t offend anyone by making them feel guilty.
| Caring for people…
|| Bring people to Christ. Demonstrate God’s love. Trust God to meet needs by His Spirit working through our surrendered lives. Rom. 12:9-18
||Bring people to the church or group. Don’t tolerate uncompromising Christians who might offend people. Do to others as you would have others do to you.
| Response to suffering:
|| Trust God to use suffering to deepen our faith and endurance, prepare us for ministry, and demonstrate His love and power. 2 Cor. 1:3-11
|| Pray, endure, and trust that God will help. It’s okay to challenge God’s love, power, and purpose — and to seek quick relief through whatever means available — no matter how it conflicts with His Word.
||Trust and follow God. No compromise. Rather die than betray our Lord. Rom. 12:1-2
|| Trust and follow feelings and human logic. Compromise essential to avoid offending the world.
| Expect to…
|| Face rejection and persecution. John 15:20-21
|| Get along and influence the world.
||Bring God’s love and good news to the needy, then bring the needy to Jesus.
||Adapt the church to the “community” so that everyone will feel at home.
| Daily hope:
|| Eternity with Jesus, our Shepherd and King. 1 Peter 1:3-9
|| Success, acceptance of all people, fun and fellowship in this life.
February 15th, 2015 at 9:59 pm
(6) As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (7) rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (8) Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (9) For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; (10) and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
In verse 8, the word translated as “basic principles of the world” refers to elementary things. Compared to Christ, in terms of being, every other being is lesser because he or she is created. In terms of teaching, every other instruction is elementary, basic, even demonic. In terms of salvation, no other is able to save human beings.
In verses 9-10, Paul again emphasizes Christ’s primacy and superiority, including the facts that He is divine and over demons in authority. He adds in verses 11-15 that, for Christians, Jesus has already defeated the principalities and powers, along with their purposes, through their conversion.
As Colossians 1:16 states, Christ extends back to the very beginning, as the One used to create all things. Thus, He is the God (John 1:1) referred to in nearly every place in the Old Testament where God is mentioned. This is especially important to grasp.
John 14:10 aids us in understanding His operations as a man: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. ” Matthew 26:52-53 clarifies this through an example: “But Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?'”
While He was human, His power as God was suspended as part of His emptying Himself to become a man (Philippians 2:5-8). He thus operated on the same level as all other men, except for the innate power He possessed due to His divine nature, enabling Him to live by faith sinlessly. Better than all other men, He understood the purpose God is working out, and He believed it. Notice to whom He said He could turn in time of need.
— John R.