(Philippians 2:12-18) 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; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. (NKJV)
Work out your own salvation] Go on, walking by the same rule, and minding the same thing, till your salvation be completed: till, filled with love to God and man, ye walk unblamably in all his testimonies, having your fruit unto holiness, and your end everlasting life. … Adam Clarke
Verse 12. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed. The Philippians had from the beginning manifested a remarkable readiness to show respect to the apostle, and to listen to his teaching. This readiness he more than once refers to and commends. He still appeals to them, and urges them to follow his counsels, that they might secure their salvation.
Now much more in my absence. Though they had been obedient when he was with them, yet circumstances had occurred in his absence which made their obedience more remarkable, and more worthy of special commendation.
Work out your own salvation. This important command was first addressed to Christians, but there is no reason why the same command should not be regarded as addressed to all–for it is equally applicable to all. The duty of doing this is enjoined here; the reason, for making the effort, or the encouragement for the effort, is stated in the next verse. In regard to the command here, it is natural to inquire why it is a duty, and what is necessary to be done in order to comply with it? On the first of these inquiries, it may be observed that it is a duty to make a personal effort to secure salvation, or to work out our salvation:
(1.) Because God commands it. There is no command more frequently repeated in the Scriptures, than the command to make to ourselves a new heart; to strive to enter in at the strait gate; to break off from sin, and to repent.
(2.) It is a duty because it is our own personal interest that is at stake. No other one has, or can have, as much interest in our salvation as we have. It is every man’s duty to be as happy as possible here, and to be prepared for eternal happiness in the future world. No man has a right either to throw away his life or his soul. He has no more right to do the one than the other; and if it is a man’s duty to endeavour to save his life when in danger of drowning, it is no less his duty to endeavour to save his soul when in danger of hell.
(3.) Our earthly friends cannot save us. No effort of theirs can deliver us from eternal death without our own exertion. Great as may be their solicitude for us, and much as they may do, there is a point where their efforts must stop–and that point is always short of our salvation, unless we are roused to seek salvation. They may pray, and weep, and plead, but they cannot save us. There is a work to be done on our own hearts which they cannot do.
(4.) It is a duty, because the salvation of the soul will not take care of itself without an effort on our part. There is no more reason to suppose this than that health and life will take care of themselves without our own exertion. And yet many live as if they supposed that somehow all would yet be well; that the matter of salvation need not give them any concern, for that things will so arrange themselves that they will be saved. Why should they suppose this any more in regard to religion than in regard to anything else?
(5.) It is a duty, because there is no reason to expect the Divine interposition without our own effort. No such interposition is promised to any man, and why should he expect it? In the case of all who have been saved, they have made an effort–and why should we expect that God will favour us more than he did them? “God helps them who help themselves;” and what reason has any man to suppose that he will interfere in his case and save him, if he will put forth no effort to “work out his own salvation?” In regard to the other inquiry –What does the command imply; or what is necessary to be done in order to comply with it?–we may observe, that it does not mean
(1.) that we are to attempt to deserve salvation on the ground of merit. That is out of the question; for what can man do that shall be an equivalent for eternal happiness in heaven? Nor
(2.) does it mean that we are to endeavour to make atonement for past sins. That would be equally impossible–and it is, besides, unnecessary. That work has been done by the great Redeemer.
But it means,
(1.) that we are to make an honest effort to be saved in the way which God has appointed;
(2.) that we are to break off from our sins by true repentance;
(3.) that we are to believe in the Saviour and honestly to put our trust in him;
(4.) that we are to give up all that we have to God;
(5.) that we are to break away from all evil companions and evil plans of life; and
(6.) that we are to resist all the allurements of the world, and all the temptations which may assault us that would lead us back from God, and are to persevere unto the end. The great difficulty in working out salvation is in forming a purpose to begin at once. When that purpose is formed, salvation is easy. … Albert Barnes
work out–carry out to its full perfection. “Salvation” is “worked in” (Php 2:13; Eph 1:11) believers by the Spirit, who enables them through faith to be justified once for all; but it needs, as a progressive work, to be “worked out” by obedience, through the help of the same Spirit, unto perfection (2Pe 1:5-8). The sound Christian neither, like the formalist, rests in the means, without looking to the end, and to the Holy Spirit who alone can make the means effectual; nor, like the fanatic, hopes to attain the end without the means.
your own--The emphasis is on this. Now that I am not present to further the work of your salvation, “work out your own salvation” yourselves the more carefully. Do not think this work cannot go on because I am absent; “for (Php 2:13) it is God that worketh in you,” &c. In this case adopt a rule different from the former (Php 2:4), but resting on the same principle of “lowliness of mind” (Php 2:3), namely, “look each on his own things,” instead of “disputings” with others (Php 2:14).
salvation–which is in “Jesus” (Php 2:10), as His name (meaning God-Saviour) implies. … Jamieson-Fausset-Brown
He exhorts them to diligence and seriousness in the Christian course: Work out your own salvation. It is the salvation of our souls (1Pe 1:9), and our eternal salvation (Heb 5:9), and contains deliverance from all the evils sin had brought upon us and exposed us to, and the possession of all good and whatsoever is necessary to our complete and final happiness. Observe, It concerns us above all things to secure the welfare of our souls: whatever becomes of other things, let us take care of our best interests. It is our own salvation, the salvation of our own souls. It is not for us to judge other people; we have enough to do to look to ourselves; and, though we must promote the common salvation (Jude 1:3) as much as we can, yet we must upon no account neglect our own. We are required to work out our salvation, katergazesye. The word signifies working thoroughly at a thing, and taking true pains. Observe, We must be diligent in the use of all the means which conduce to our salvation. We must not only work at our salvation, by doing something now and then about it; but we must work out our salvation, by doing all that is to be done, and persevering therein to the end. Salvation is the great thing we should mind, and set our hearts upon; and we cannot attain salvation without the utmost care and diligence. He adds, With fear and trembling, that is, with great care and circumspection: … Matthew Henry
O B E D I E N C E (compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to
another’s authority).… Wayne
Wayne Sinquefield Minister
Roxboro church of Christ, 2567 Burlington Road, Roxboro N.C. 27573
H:(336) 322-119nine … mobile (919) 428-003six