12 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, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Paul is encouraging the Philippian church to continue to work hard to show the results of their salvation even when he isn’t present. He says that this is done in an attitude of reverence towards the Lord and goes on to give examples what a life so lived might look like to people outside the Christian faith. A Christian life shines brightly in a sinful world and does not feature complaining or arguing. The apostle Paul also exhorts the Philippian believers to hold tightly to God’s word.
Paul’s instructions to the Philippian church can seem admirable but a tall order at the same time. I want to but how do I live to that standard continually? I take particular comfort in verse thirteen which states that, “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” This does not absolve me of responsibility but assures me that God is working within me – I am not trying to achieve this on my own! It is such a relief to know that God is giving me the desire and power to do what pleases him. An extraordinary truth really and one worth taking some time to ponder.
Dear Lord, help me to work out my salvation with due reverence and thank you that you don’t leave me to work this out on my own but rather you are working within me to achieve your purposes. Amen
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods