out our 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" Phil 2:12-13.
"Work out ... for it is God which worketh in you."
What is the nature of that which we are to "work out?"
The Word tells us that it is "our own salvation."
This word, "salvation" is far-reaching in its meaning.
It goes beyond our initial experience of redemption. It includes
our deliverance from all that resulted from the transgression
of Adam: forgiveness, healing for the body, grace for victory
in the battles of life, and all that pertains to our being
built into the image of Christ.
This word to "work out our own salvation" is written
to each one, into whom Christ has entered through the experience
of a New Birth. Those who are yet unregenerate have nothing
to "work out," for Christ has not "entered
into" their heart to work within them. But the Christian
has the Master Workman abiding within. Our spiritual development,
along with our daily walk among men is dependent upon the
out flowing of the life of Christ that is resident within
us. We are to live under the power of "The Indwelling
Christ" so that which is manifest in our life experience
will be the outflow of what the Lord is doing within us.
Jesus, as He walked among men, lived in this manner in His
relationship to the Father. "Then said Jesus unto them,
when ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know
that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father
hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me
is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always
those things that please him" John 8:28-29.
We also, apart from the indwelling Christ, can not please
our Heavenly Father. Only as we abide in harmony with the
Indwelling Christ, who is, can there be of a developing Christian
character, "clear down to the finishing point of salvation,"
as rendered by one translator. He is to be our life, our wisdom,
our righteousness, our holiness, our all.
Our text tells us that we are helpless to make ourselves
any better, except as a result of God working within us. As
He works to enable us to "will and to do of His good
pleasure," we are to cooperate with Him in the outworking
of all that He has worked within. Otherwise, His gracious
inward working will not result in its intended purpose, and
all will all have been in vain.
Israel's older generation entered not into the Land of Canaan
because of their unbelief. The word translated "unbelief"
means "willful unbelief; obstinacy; disobedience. It
is rendered "disobedience" in some translations.
We are not called to a path of obedience to the Law by our
own self-efforts. We are called to the "obedience of
faith" in the outworking of all that He has worked within.
It is not by self-motivated obedience to a code of laws that
we live. Rather, it is by our having faith in and consequent
obedience to the Lord, that it is made possible for Him to
actuate us, to control us, to energize us, and to express
His nature and life through us. Say not that you believe Him
while you are disobedient to Him. No! Faith and obedience
go together in the way of the Gospel. To obey is to believe;
and to believe is to be empowered unto greater obedience;
for to believe is to come under the power of the Obedient
We see from our text that God works in us to will according
to His good pleasure. This is wonderful! God does not merely
move upon our emotions to give us pleasure. This seems to
be the primary thought in the minds of many of God's children.
There is a self-centeredness, instead of a Christ-centeredness,
even in their seeking God. They seem ever to be looking for
an emotional blessing, instead of looking for God to be pleased
and glorified. They may say "Yes" to the Lord; but
when the "working out" proves to be over a path
that crosses the "pleasure" of self, and calls for
obedience to death at the cross, they do not yield to His
inner workings that would enable them "to do of His good
God is working for the "good pleasure of His will"
in our lives; and this, if we yield to it, will always be
for our highest good, and will give us a joy so deep that
it will be unspeakable and full of glory. We cannot reach
this deep, abiding joy except as we yield our wills to come
under His will, in an obedience to the death of all desires
of self in the place in which God is dealing. Our wills must
come into harmony with God's will if we are to enter into
His best. A blessing now and then is not the object. The object
is the subjecting of our wills to the will of God in every
place; and this means a life in the heavenlies in Christ,
where we are blessed with every spiritual blessing.
God works in us, first of all, to will for His good pleasure,
His satisfaction, His glory. He speaks to our hearts of the
beauty of Jesus, revealing the perfections of His character,
the great loveliness of His life; and then He works upon our
wills to work in us a strong desire to be conformed to Christ's
image by letting Him become our very life.
But the Word not only says that He works in us to will, to
desire, for His good pleasure. We are told that He also works
in us to work, to do, for His good pleasure. Rotherham says
that He "energizes within you both the desiring and the
energizing, in behalf of his good pleasure." If there
is a yielding to His inward working upon our wills, we shall
find ourselves inwardly energized, made strong and vigorous,
to work for His good pleasure.
Nothing remains, then, but for us by faith and obedience
to work out these God-given, inward desires and energies,
with a view only to His glory, His good pleasure. And if,
in the holy hush of a deep reverence for God and His will,
we thus yield to let these inward movings find outward expression
in word and act, we shall be carried "clear down to the
finishing point" of our salvation, in that ever-increasing
character-building into the image of Christ.
"Work out your own salvation." This is individual.
No one can work out your salvation for you: no one can obey
the Inner Voice or come under the Inner Working for you. No
other human being, of himself, knows what the Spirit is speaking
to you, is working within you; not even the one nearest to
It is a most marvelous thing of grace that God gives us such
individual attention, with a personal concern over every moment
of our lives. We need never feel alone with our problem. We
need never be without guidance. If we will be quiet and attentive
enough in our inner being, we can hear the Inner Voice: we
can receive the inner impression of His will; we can be energized
to will and to do that which is pleasing unto God. Thus, we
are the only one who can work out our own salvation from those
things that must needs go from our life, if we are to mature
in Christ likeness and be to the praise of God's glory.
There is no need of our being led astray, no need of our
being ignorant of God's will, no need of our being powerless
to do it. We have a power house right within us, because Christ,
the power of God and the wisdom of God, is there. If we, with
constant attention to His Voice and his working, by faith
and obedience work out what He works in, we shall be filled
with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and
understanding; we shall walk even as He walked; and the works
that He did, shall we do also - all for His good pleasure
and for the glory of His Name!