If Salvation is Free, What Does “Work Out Your Salvation Mean?”
“Therefore, my dear friends,… … — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” NIV
Does this mean that we have to work for salvation? No. Salvation is a free gift.
“For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.” AMP
But it seems to say we should work out our salvation, isn’t this Scripture contradictory if salvation is a free gift. No, salvation is received by accepting the fact that Jesus paid for our own sins. What then, can ‘work out our salvation’ mean if we already have it?
We are saved in our spiritual being but we need to work it out through our physical being.
Part of that Scripture tells us “it is God who works in us to will….
Will we allow God to make our will HIS will? We can ask God to turn His will into our will, and vice versa, to turn our will into HIS will.
OK, so now, it is one thing to will, but it is different thing to act; and, God addresses that also.
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” NKJV
Now if we get God’s will, (and He says He will give us what we ask if we ask with a clean heart) now we need to take what is on the inside and push it out, work it out through the flesh until it becomes physical or until the unseen Godly will becomes physically visible. Work it out, from the inside out. Push it out.
In molding clay, the clay is ‘worked’, and when grains of rough sand are found, they are ‘worked out’ until they are no longer a part of the clay being molded. As clay in the hands of the Potter, we want to be ‘worked’ into something useful or beautiful for God. Then there are some things which we have to ‘work out’ of our lives.. When we come to Christ we become new creatures, we are ‘in the world but not of it’, being rescued from the world so to speak, but we may have some of the dirt of the world still in us. This needs to be ‘worked out’ and done with, like unseen sand from the clay at the same time as we ‘work the new goodness which God put on the inside of us, to the outside’ to be seen through us. Work it out.
This is not always easy to do in a life; but, let’s look at the last part of that Scripture again because we do not have to do this alone.
“for it is God who works in us both to will AND to act according to His good purpose.” Isn’t that beautiful !
God is wonderful! He promises in Philippians to help us to will…and then goes on to help us to act… according to His purposes.
This is confirmed in:
“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,” NIV
…notice the Capital “S” on Spirit — this does not mean our spirit as in the spirit of man, it means the Holy Spirit. If….by the power of the Holy Spirit… that doesn’t mean our power, it means using the power the Holy Spirit gives us. This indicates a CHOICE.
“… if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, “…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” NIV
We are not in this alone, God is with us helping us to will and to do…the question is: Will we accept His help or will we try to go it alone and try to assume credit for our own perceived ‘goodness’ ?
God is wonderful! He gives us something to do,- – – He helps us to will it; then He helps us do it!
What could be better than working with God’s strength…
Lord, take our readers’ thoughts, words, actions and deeds and make them pleasing to You…
A quote from the book: “Covenants and Blessings” by Andrew Murray Whitaker House ISBN 0-88368-748-8
“When God created man in His image and likeness, it was so that he would have a life as similar to God’s as possible. This occurred by God Himself living and working in man. For this, man was to yield himself in loving dependence to the wonderful glory of being the recipient, bearer, and manifestation of a divine life. The one secret of man’s happiness was a trustful surrender of his whole being to the willing and the working of God.” (italics mine)
” Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]” AMP
Salvation is free; however the evidence of salvation usually takes working out.
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Rev 22:17 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. NIV
…and let him who hears… that would be you and me …