Nov. 3, 2020

What Does Philippians 2:12 Mean? Part 1

What Does Philippians 2:12 Mean? Part 1

Philippians 2:12 (NIV): 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.

Paul has been pleading with the Philippian believers to remain unified. How? By having the same humble and obedient mind as Christ. 

From this train of thought, Paul transitions from his focus on Christ's humility in to the need for followers of Christ to live out their faith. 

This verse has often been misinterpreted. You have to admit, it is a somewhat confusing verse. I mean, what does it mean to "work out" your salvation. Sounds like we have to earn our salvation. But what does Paul really mean?

Listen to this quick 2-minute teaching to see what Paul means as we explore the original Greek language for the word "work out." It's a fascinating word. 

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Transcript

Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth

For the next few episodes, we’re going to explore what it means to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Now, this passage has confused a lot of people, but Lord willing, after this week, we won’t be one of them. 

Phil 2:12 says, “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.”

Now, if you recall, Paul has been encouraging the believers in Philippi to have the same humble and obedient attitude or mind of Christ so that they will remain unified. And, because of this, or “therefore,” he says, you need to continue working out your salvation until Christ returns. 

Now, Paul writes numerous times in his letters that we do not earn our salvation. Our salvation is a gift from God to those who believe that Jesus is Lord. BUT our salvation is not a one and done kind of action. Once we’re saved, we must continue to grow and develop spiritually. 

Now, the Greek verb translated into English as “work out” as in “work out your salvation” is fascinating. It means to continually work to bring something to completion. It implies the fulfillment of something you already possess. According to the New King James Study Bible, this word was used by a first-century author named Strabo when writing about digging silver out of silver mines. In other words, it’s like Paul is saying that your salvation is an enormous treasure or gift that you already possess but you need to continue to uncover or unwrap it for your enjoyment. 

So, your simple Truth for today: You’ve been given the gift of salvation and the cool thing is that it’s like a gift that just keeps on giving as you continue growing and maturing spiritually until completion on the Day of Christ Jesus.

And how do you do that? Great question. Join tomorrow as we continue digging deeper and uncovering the treasures found in this verse! 

Have a blessed day. See you soon!