Thursday, November 29, 2012
It's NOT about about eternal security! Philippians 2:12-13
ESV Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Can I lose my salvation? Am I supposed to work to keep my salvation after I have it? These are important questions, but far too often we go to Philippians 2:12-13 to find the answer. Unfortunately, this is not the best text for the answer.
Philippians 2:12-13 is one piece of a very long argument that probably goes all the way back to Philippians 1:27--the call to live a life worthy of the Gospel. This worthy life is to be marked by unselfish service and the denial of self for the good of others and the advancement of the gospel (2:3-4). The supreme act of such goodness is the incarnation life, and death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father (2:5-8). We know this is the good and godly life because God the Father placed His seal of approval on Jesus Christ for living in such a way (2:9-11).
When we come to v. 12, Paul is still calling the Philippians (and us) to live a worthy life of humble service. This is what we are saved for--to live a selfless life just like Jesus. This is the epitome of love and godliness. This is the life we have been given through union with Christ, love from the Father, and fellowship with the Spirit (2:1-2). In our salvation, we are now free and empowered to live like Christ, not grasping at status, power, or position (as Adam and Even did leading to death and destruction). Rather, we now can give our lives away. God is working in us to do this (2:13). He has done so in the lives of people like Timothy (2:19-24) and Epaphroditus (2:25ff.) and He can do it now in your life and mine.
Philippians 2:12-13 is a renewed call to die to self because the God-man died to save the selfish (you and me). He has saved us for this purpose. He is empowering us for this purpose. That we would be like the Son of God, serving and giving our lives away (Mark 10:41-45).