READ : Philippians 2:12-18
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. (v. 12 NIV)
What does it mean to work out our salvation? It’s an ongoing process: “Continue,” says
the apostle. It’s also hard. We work out our salvation by working it into our lives. In
the days before refrigeration, when meat had to be salted to preserve it, people were
taught to rub the salt into the meat until they started sweating. We must work our
salvation into our thoughts by hard effort, so that we can work it out in our daily
And it is serious work. We are taught to do this “with fear and trembling” – unusual
ideas for our self-confident age. We can have total confidence in Jesus’ death for us and
the work of the Holy Spirit in us, but we do need to “walk humbly with our God.” The fear
and trembling come from distrusting our own ability, treating the forces of evil with
qualified respect, and always viewing with awe the holy and almighty God we serve. If we
walk circumspectly, aware of our own weakness, we can trust with confidence in the God who
works in us.
One additional note – we are to do our work without unnecessary words of grumbling
or questioning (v. 14). Before you say anything, ask yourself: Is it true, is it kind, is
it necessary? If you want to be an example, learn to keep your mouth shut. Too much
unhappiness is caused by thoughtless words of complaint.
Lord, set a guard over my tongue.