Shelby G. Floyd
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The words in this title were written to the church at Philippi by the apostle Paul. Our salvation from sin is both man’s work and God’s work. Man’s work is to appropriate the salvation offered by God to man through faith and obedience to the gospel
To Believe is the Work of God
To believe that Jesus is the son of God is a work of man. But it is also the work of God. Some Jews asked Christ, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29). Just as faith in Jesus is the work of God, so also is repentance and baptism. However, these acts of obedience are all a work that man does in receiving the gift of salvation. The Roman Christians were baptized into Jesus Christ:
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:3-4).
They were promised the gift of eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). And three times their justification from sin is said to be the “free gift” (Rom. 5:15-18). Therefore, being baptized for the remission of sins in no way nullifies salvation as the “free gift” of God.
Work Out Your Salvation
The Philippians had also believed and been baptized (Acts 16: 14-15, 30-34). Now in his letter to them, Paul commands them to continue to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). He then assigns the reason they are to do this: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Philippians 2:13).
When we do what God has told us to do (work), God is working in us through his word to bring about our salvation now and at the last day. That is the reason Paul said, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Let God work in us and let us “work out our salvation.”
Copyright © 2015 Shelby Floyd All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd