Allowing God to Work Through You
Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
Paul starts off this section of verses 12 to 18 with the keyword “Therefore,” meaning in light of the example of the Lord Jesus Christ and His attitude of humility. Note how close Paul’s relationship is with these believers in Philippi, calling them “my dear friends,” something fellow believers today should aspire to within our relationships with other believers as the church. Paul commends the past faithfulness of the believers, encouraging them to continue being faithful to God, even without Paul’s physical presence, “just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Notice how he says “work out your own salvation,” and not “work to gain your salvation.” Paul made it very clear in Ephesians 2:8-9 that salvation is by grace and not by works, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” Now that the believers are saved, Paul tells them to continue on working, actively obeying God, having reverence to Him.
Then, in verse 13, the ability to do this work is not possible by our own strength, but all by God working through the believer, “For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good purpose.” As Anders states, “Salvation is by grace through faith. Saving faith surrenders all of life to God and His purpose, producing maturity demonstrated in good works. As Christians mature and allow God to work through their lives, they find God is accomplishing His purposes in them even when they are not aware of those purposes.”
So, may we be faithful to God in our walk, allowing Him to work through us, trusting and seeking out His will for our lives, the key being obedience, just as the believers as Philippi was. Also, may we be like Paul encouraging his fellow believers, complimenting their faithfulness.
Isaac De Guzman