by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act (Phil. 2:12–13).
The work of Jesus (vv. 6–11) is the content of our faith and the pattern for our lives. So when Paul says, "Keep working on your salvation;" he means," Continue to walk that road of humility and obedience."
You are able to "work out your salvation" because "God works in you." Salvation is not a prize we get for doing something nice with our lives. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ.
Both sides of the coin must be taken seriously. You and I have to live our own lives. No one else but you and I are responsible for our choices. You may not blame the devil or your upbringing for your failures. And God will not do for us what he assigned to us. You and I must personally will and work.
The other side of the coin is just as real. When Christians do the will of God, we respond to a love that first charmed us, and we obey the voice that taught us. When we show Christ to others, it's because he lives in us by grace and makes us willing and able to do what he wants us to do.
Therefore, Paul says, we should work out our salvation "with fear and trembling." That does not mean that we are dead scared that God will disapprove of us. But rather we are filled with awe in living the kind of life to which we are called.
Life is much more than waking, eating, and sleeping. Life is salvation taking shape in my body according to the pattern of my Lord.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version