“…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12b-13
Every day I have the privilege of talking with people about growing in their understanding of resting in Christ, sanctification, and the sovereignty of God in their lives.
It is a wonderful thing to serve those who believe in Christ as their Savior and Lord! A while back I met with a woman who was struggling to achieve the balance of accepting and working, resting and doing, being sanctified and being sanctified. Each of these (and many more) has been done to us and is to be done by us in some mysterious way that is hard to explain.
God has done all this for us (as true born-again believers in Christ) and to us in eternity past. We are to daily live out the reality of what that is and means.
For example, Christians are sanctified (1 Cor. 1:2, Heb. 10:10). We began as sinful (Psalm 51:5) enemies of God (James 4:4), and children of wrath (Eph 2:1-3). We were set apart by God from eternity past to be His children. We were foreordained to be holy and blameless in His sight (Eph 1:4). That is a past completed act that has a present implication. It is a fact; it is something we are in a positional sense.
But we are also being sanctified daily! In the part of our sinful nature, or the flesh that remains we are being changed. The flesh cannot be changed because it is not redeemable, and we are to put it to death by an act of the will through the Spirit (Romans 8:13).
This change happens as we live the Scriptures that we commit to memory (Rom 12:2), believe that what the Bible says about us is true and LIVE as though it is true. We are already holy because we are in Christ! Our actions must reflect this by the way we live. We are called to live holy lives.
How does one live holy? (Psalm 119) By following what the Word of God says about how we are to think, believe, and desire God above all else. To honor and glorify Him as we live life. We are enabled to do this by the Spirit of God and the Scripture which is to be the center of all of life and guide to all of life.
This is but one small example of truth and the application of the phrase “work out your salvation.” Learn who you are, and learn how to live who you are. You don’t have to try to be what God has decreed you are.