Working Out Our Salvation

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people make each year is to get in shape or exercise.  It is important that if we want to live a productive life that we make sure that we are as healthy as we can be.  

Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:8 that physical exercise was good but that spiritual exercise would benefit us for eternity.  

In Philippians 2:12, Paul tells the Philippian believers to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  Notice that he does NOT say to work for your salvation.  Salvation is a gift of God’s grace to us.  We can do nothing to earn it or deserve it.  

While salvation is a gift of grace, it is a gift that is to be opened and put in to use.  There are so many things about this gift of salvation that people who put their faith in Christ receive that we are to experience.  

1) Forgiveness and Freedom from past sins.

2) A future home in heaven with our Lord forever.

While this gift has these wonderful benefits, it also has something for us today: victory and joy.  These things can be missed by those who are not seeking to do what Paul talks about here in working out our salvation.  God intends us not to just receive this gift, but He wants us to open it and experience all it has to offer.


Paul said first that we should work out our salvation with fear.  This is the idea of reverence.  We must be sure to remember where this gift came from (God).  We should live each day in reverence of who He is. 

We need to make sure that we have the proper picture of who the giver of this gift is.  He is not some drill sergeant waiting to make us drop and give Him 20 when we mess up.  He is not some loving grandpa just wanting to give us candy and shrug things off as “no big deal.”  He is the living God of the universe… All-powerful… holy… just… 

When you see God as He truly is, there will be a reverence in your life towards Him.


Paul says second that we should work out our salvation with trembling.  This is not saying that we are to be scared and shaking in fear.  The meaning of this word is “seriousness.”  Too many times people do not take God serious.  This is a result again of not understanding who the giver of the gift of salvation is.

How Do We Work Out Our Salvation?

1) Realize that God is the One working in us (v 13)
Just as there is nothing that we can do to earn salvation, there is no power within us to fully open up and experience this gift of salvation for today.  God gives the gift and begins a work in us that helps us experience the fullness of salvation.

2) Remove complaining and arguing (v 14)
It is interesting that Paul uses the phrases “grumbling” and “disrupting” here.  Grumbling has to do with complaining.  When grumbling is present, it reveals a selfish nature that is not part of God’s desires for our lives.  We grumble and complain when things aren’t going the way that we want them to go.  Following the Lord’s lead may take you in a direction that you would not want to go.

Disrupting has the thought of arguing about a difference of opinions.  We all have opinions on matters.  We will stand strong for our opinions.  God has given us clearly in His word the line of truth.  These are the things that we should stand strong on.  We have to remember that while our opinions may mean a lot to us, they are not gospel.  

3) Remain in the Word (v 16)
A final way that Paul shows us to work out our salvation is by holding fast to the word of life.  This means to hold firmly to the Word that God has given us.  He has given us both His written word (the Bible) and the living word (Jesus).  If we want to experience all that this salvation has for us, we are going to have to cling to the Word of God.  

There are many things in this world that will fight for our attention and devotion.  The Word of God is the single thing in the universe that can lead us and guide us to experiencing the fullness of the salvation that we have received from the Lord.  


This gift of salvation is one gift that is way more than we could ever imagine.  It has components that deal with our past, present, and future.  If we are going to fully experience this gift and all that it has to offer, we have to allow it to do its work in our lives today.