Work Out Your Salvation

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
—Philippians 2:12,13

OUR SCRIPTURAL REFERENCE can actually be viewed as having two parts. God’s part is to provide the way, the truth, the life—the means—and our part is to use the means, and then attain the prize. God works in us through Christ, while in his strength we work out our own salvation.


One should immediately recognize that his good pleasure is to provide you with a way to obtain salvation. This would be accomplished through the giving of his only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. He died on the cross to take away the sins of the world. (Col. 2:14) As we continue with our study, it is our intention to show that these scriptures are not an exhortation to the world of mankind in general, but are made solely to the church of Christ alone—sons of God through consecration and Spirit begettal. It points out that we cannot, either with works or study, attain to the calling of the New Creation. However, after we have come into God’s family through Jesus, good works show that we have been accepted. Our Father wants our desire to be pleasing to him in thought, word, and deed. The carrying out of good works shows that we are leading a life pleasing to our Father. The Scriptures show us that God does not purpose to take us to glory regardless of our own endeavors. That the exhortation is to work, to labor, and to strive toward the mark that is set before us, is so apparent here. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”—II Tim. 2:15

No scripture implies that we can be independent of our Lord. The perfect work of Christ is the basis of our own work. A faith that says Christ will save us as sinners no matter what type of daily life we lead, is a misplaced faith. It is a right faith shown by our willingness to conform our will to God‘s will. This involves zeal and vigilance, that we are doing all that we can do daily to serve the Father and his dear Son. It is the Father’s desire that we may obtain the prize of salvation, “not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:9) It is made possible through Jesus, our Savior, and because of God’s mercy. Our salvation is of grace; and it required a ransom price, which then provided salvation from death to life—salvation from sin to righteousness. His mercy makes possible a transformation from human nature to the Divine nature, if we are faithful unto death. The Apostle Paul refers to it as, “so great salvation.” (Heb. 2:3) God’s part also makes it possible to forgive our past sins, cleanse us from our past condemnation, and cover our unintentional blemishes. He also encourages us to do the best that we can each day through all of the blessings that he so richly provides for us.


God has placed us in the school of Christ, until we come, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13) We are told, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” (Isa. 54:13) The spiritual sons of God, “shall be all taught of God.” (John 6:45) So all that desire shall be ‘taught of God’—the source of all true knowledge. The message of God received by faith is accepted to be the Truth, and leads to understanding. He will further lead us to place our full confidence in his Word. We read further, “The Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge.” (Prov. 2:6) John continues, “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” (John 6:45) This is the object of seeking God’s Word of Truth. So, our Father enters us in the school of Christ. Our Lord Jesus is the great Teacher of men by the appointment of the Heavenly Father, the great Master Teacher above all.


An important aspect of being in this school of Christ, is that we do not learn all lessons at once, but gradually—“precept upon precept; line upon line; … here a little, and there a little.” (Isa. 28:10) We look at these as being the gems of Truth from Genesis to Revelation. The hope of the faithful ones is that they may obtain the great salvation to “glory, and honour and immortality” (Rom. 2:7), which God hath promised to the more than overcomers. Justification through faith secures a legal standing before God, and requires the giving of our all, that we be careful, watchful, and prayerful, bringing our will into perfect submission to God. After our consecration is accepted, we are justified, and we know that this can only happen once. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13) We must do our part by being meek, teachable, and submissive to God’s leadings. We show our submission to him when we pray as our Lord Jesus taught us, “Thy will be done.” (Luke 11:2) Paul expressed this same outlook for the Lord’s providence in all of the affairs of life, realizing that nothing happens by chance to those who are in a covenant relationship with God, as members of the body of Christ. (Acts 21:14) The footstep followers of the Lord are to pray in this manner with determination, and with the submissive attitude of full obedience to the Father.


What is God’s will for us? (See Mark 3:35) It is to provide to his consecrated people the opportunity, and the ability to know of his wonderful plans and purposes, revealed to them by the Holy Spirit of understanding. “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.” (Heb. 13:20,21) Our Heavenly Father shows us that his will, and all of his works, are wholly on the side of purity, on the side of goodness, justice, and truth—everything contrary to sin. It is then displayed in his providential care over all of our interests for our highest welfare. It can be shown in the words, “It is your Father’s good pleasure [good will] to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) His will involves having his children conform to his will, and daily do all that they can to serve him. If we desire to serve the Lord our God, we will wait on him with patience. “The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” (II Thess. 3:5) Remember the scripture, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matt. 10:30) Even your smallest interest is not overlooked.


God gives us gifts, and they come down to us, as it says, from the “Father of lights.” (James 1:17) We are assured that these are dispensed according to his will. (Eccles. 2:26) In actuality, all of our blessings are God’s gifts. We have “peace” (Ps. 29:11), “strength and power” (Ps. 68:35), “a new spirit” (Ezek. 11:19), “rest” (Matt. 11:28), “grace” (Ps. 84:11), “wisdom” (Prov. 2:6), and “glory” (Ps. 84:11). “They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”—Ps. 34:10

“It is God,” as our text from Philippians 2:13 begins, “which worketh in you,” who has permitted all things—sickness, pain, sorrow, trouble, and also joy and gladness. Love shall, by Divine wisdom and power, overrule all things for good. It points us to a scripture that has been referred to as a formula for daily living, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) This is an affirmation of God’s love for us, and an affirmation that he will make everything work out for our spiritual growth and development as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. The Father wants to give you good things—“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1) Almighty God, the Chief Shepherd, grants to his Son, our Lord Jesus, the great privilege of being the loving shepherd of the flock, and the sheep are fed by the Messiah in the strength of the Father. (Mic. 5:4) Continuing in Psalm 23, verses 2,3, his sheep are permitted “to lie down in green pastures,” to rest the rest of faith, and to be spiritually fed and refreshed. “He restoreth my soul,” justifies us to life, because we trust in his name and in his merit. He gives us all the needed instruction, grace, comfort, discipline, training and care necessary to receive the highest spiritual and everlasting blessings. “As for God, his way is perfect.”—Ps. 18:30


A wonderful key point to our salvation and hope is shown in the words, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) This is also shown to us by means of the precious promises found in his Word. These promises should be a source of strength and encouragement to the Lord’s people. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) The Apostle Paul reminds us, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, … To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:23,27) Further, you are privileged to understand this ‘mystery’ of God. It is knowing his Truth which shall make you free from the law of sin and death, and the hand of your adversary, Satan. James urges us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.”—James 4:7,8

It was the Father’s will, and an evidence of his power, that made possible these oath-bound promises. They were assured through the Lord’s sacrificial death as a sin offering, when he “gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (I Tim. 2:6) The same power that brought our Lord from the dead is able to perfect us, by the laying down of our lives and thus sharing in his death. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”—II Tim. 4:8

Our Father is so loving that he even shows us how to accomplish that which we have to do. “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan. 12:3) The ‘little flock,’ the wise virgins, are those who thoroughly believe the testimony of God, and yield themselves directly to it. They shall be as the “stars of the heaven”—heavenly rulers—Christ and his bride. (Gen. 22:17) We read further, “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward” (I Cor. 3:14); and, in verses 11 and 12, we are told to build upon the foundation “which is Jesus Christ, … gold, silver, precious stones.” This refers to Divine Truth, the blueprint of which is provided by the Master Builder in his Holy Word.

It is God who planned the whole matter, and has been working in us. We did not begin the work, our Father did. We read, “It is the same God which worketh all in all.” (I Cor. 12:6) By his grace and mercy, and through his Word, our Father grants to us salvation, and the opportunity to know and to do his will. It is shown to us by the Holy Spirit of understanding, which helps us “to be conformed to the image of his Son.”—Rom. 8: 29

It is the new mind, the new will that is in the school of Christ, that is to be brought into full accord with the Divine will. In purity of heart, purity of intention, and sincerity, we desire to be copies of the dear Son who, as we are told in Colossians 1:15, “is the image of the invisible God.” The Lord Jesus is working with his footstep followers to help them. (Mark 16:20) This assurance is given to us in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Here we have a means to “draw near [to the Father] with a true heart in full assurance of faith,” having our hearts “sprinkled” and our bodies “washed” clean. (Heb. 10:22) This assurance made it possible for his Son to reconcile all things by the blood of the cross, and made it possible for his followers to present their bodies “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” (Col. 1:22) Again we have this assurance in chapter 2, verse 2, that their “hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ,” the only begotten Son of God.

This reveals a most important aspect of what God has done for us. John 3:17 reads, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” It points us to a key to God’s part in all of this—his love. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” (John 3:16) This was the highest form of love—agape love—charity, and benevolence. It is the essence of perfect love, of which our Father is the Author. We should also realize that the Father showed his grace by the giving of his Son. Salvation from sin and death was made possible through the wonderful redemption of our Lord Jesus—by his shed blood given willingly on the cross.


Jude 1 begins with the words, “To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” Verse 2 continues, “Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.” God loved us first, when we were without strength, when there was ‘no arm to save.’ From these words we see that he has a special love for the church, for those who have consecrated themselves fully to him, during this present Gospel Age. (I John 4:19) He set our feet upon the solid rock, and “that Rock was Christ.” (I Cor. 10:4) The Lord passed this love and devotion of his Father first to the apostles, next to his disciples, and to those who would take up their cross to follow him. We read,“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (I John 4:10) Through his obedience, it makes it possible for us to believe on him and be faithful unto death. (Rev. 2:10) He shows us that godlikeness is ‘lovelikeness.’ We should see from our theme text, as we have explored this scripture from Philippians, that we have a part in this work, and God has a part.

This is further shown in the words, “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you.” (Lev. 20:7,8) If we make a full consecration, God will set us apart and will accept us. He gives to us the indication of this acceptance in the begetting of his Holy Spirit. He gives to us a new mind, a new disposition, and a new heart. Paul speaks of it when he says, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification”—your full setting apart. (I Thess. 4:3) Recall the words from chapter 5, verse 23, “The very God of peace sanctify you.” This scripture points to the entire process of a transformation of character and preparation for the called ones to be faithful. It then progresses throughout the Christian course until the character is fully developed. This character must be maintained until the end of the way, when this life of trials and experiences has ended. The Father helps us to develop a new mind, and a new will, which will lead to becoming “a new creature” in Christ Jesus. (II Cor. 5:17) If we follow this course, God will sanctify us. This condition of complete sanctification is the Divine ideal, and God will complete it in you if you follow the directions prescribed. We know also that sanctification is of God, by Jesus. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”—John 17:17


We read, “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3) This reveals to us that the Heavenly Father gave permission for his only begotten Son to be born in the likeness of Adam, and fulfill God’s law. (Phil. 2:7,8) He was a perfect man in whom was no sin (Heb. 7: 26), “that the righteousness [the full, whole, complete meaning] of the law [of God’s demands] might be fulfilled.” (Rom. 8:4) This is expressed by what is referred to as the Golden Rule, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matt. 7:12) This is an outworking of the Spirit, and is stressed in the new commandment that our Lord gave to us, in the words “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, … And … love thy neighbour as thyself.”—Matt. 22:37,39; John 13:34

Jesus’ life set the seal or mark of approval, and righteousness to the Law. The Law that we are referring to is deemed “spiritual” in Romans 7:14, for it came from the Spirit Being of the highest order—God himself. It represents the mind or judgment of the Creator by his perfect wisdom, mercy, justice, love, and power. “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” (Isa. 32:17) Also, in Isaiah 61:10, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”

The anointed body of Christ rejoices even in the present life, for he covers their many unwilling imperfections by Christ’s righteousness, even our justification. Look at the words of praise, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places [the heavenlies] in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3) These are special blessings, heavenly privileges given only to the footstep followers of the Lord. “Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 1:8) “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6) The Father will watch over you until you receive the ‘crown of life’—having gone on to glory, honor, and immortality. “Great is your reward in heaven.”—Matt. 5:12


So let us keep in mind what we must do to be faithful in working out our own salvation. Especially remember that God’s part in our theme text is made possible because he is a faithful Father. As the Author of the Plan of the Ages, he is able to accomplish all through his wonderful attributes. This is especially evidenced to us by his love. Looking back to John 3:16, “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He provides salvation from sin, from death, from human imperfection to human perfection, and full restitution and life through his Son’s shed blood. The Father’s desire is that the willing and obedient of mankind will be able to live on a restored, perfect earth forever, where nothing shall cause them any harm.

The Father grants a special salvation to the church—life on the highest plane, which is inherent life, eternal life, everlasting life. By his grace he “called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (I Pet. 2:9) He called out a people for his name, “Ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord.” (Isa. 61:6) Those whom he calls, he places in the school of Christ (through the Holy Spirit), that we “May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; … that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”—Eph. 3:18,19

He teaches us through our Advocate and great Teacher, Christ Jesus. He gives us all of the necessary experiences in the way of trials, joys and sorrows—the shaping and polishing work of character development. He also provides a covering under the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Giving his children every opportunity to make their calling and election sure, he provides them with help in time of need; for he will finish that work which he started in us, because he promised to do so. We know that at the completion of that work there awaits a crown of life, which he gives to the more than overcomers, the “called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14) “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:2) The faithful ones can then truly say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”—Ps. 23:6

Dawn Bible Students Association
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