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Working Out Your Salvation

The Christian is admonished in Philippians 2:12 to " out your own salvation with fear and trembling". Following verse then tells us "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Outside of God's working, can you fear and tremble on your own?

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 ---christan on 1/19/12
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James, sorry, but my posts are being blocked from this topic. This is about my forth one to let you know. Hope it gets through.
---Poppa_Bear on 2/2/12

Poppa bear part 2,
When Jesus comes, He will reign in glory (Matt 25:31). In Mark 10:35-40, John and James asked "grant us to sit...left and your glory." Jesus said "are you able to be baptized..." (suffer). "To sit at my left or for those for whom it has been prepared." Rom 9:23-24 Those whom He prepared beforehand for glory

Rom 8:33 (in context of suffering) calls them the Elect. And Rom 9:11? Election. And Rom 11:7? the Elect. Rom 11:28? Election

Election is in ch 8-11.

Elect for what? Glory. chapter 10 calls it Saved (verse 1, 9-10, 13). And chapter 11? Salvation (verse 11, 26)

2Tim 2:10
for the sake of the ELECT, so they may obtain SALVATION...with GLORY
---James_L on 2/2/12

Poppa Bear part 1,
I agree about the side note in Rom 8:19-25

In 8:17-18 Paul says we are joint-heirs IF we suffer with Christ. Also, that the present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory about to be revealed in us.

Verse 35 he speaks of sufferings, and that no suffering will separate us from the love of God in those times

Verses 28-10 who God foreknew, He predestined. Not to go to heaven, but to be conformed to the image of Christ (through suffering - ref 2Cor 4:8-11)), and those He foreknew...He glorified (bestowed glory upon - ref 1Pet 4:12-14)

Heb 2:9-10 Jesus was crowned with glory and honor because of suffering, and this glory will be revealed (2Pet 4:13) at His coming (Titus 2:13).
---James_L on 2/2/12

James, I spent some time in those passages today to see where you were coming from, but failed to see your correlation in regards to the context that I put them in. Yes, there is a brief mention in the middle of Rom-8 about the redemption of the body, but its almost a brief side note, when the context of the first 8 chapters are taken into consideration. On top of that, Romans 9 & 11 diverge into entirely different emphasiss than the first two sections of the Epistle. Concerning the Glory of Christ, In John He says, Father Restore me to the Glory I had before the world began. Not sure how that fits with your interpretations about Glory. He possessed it well before the cross.
---Poppa_Bear on 2/1/12

Poppa Bear,

I really appreciate your humility.

I will confess, my doctrine is not without its difficulties. But then again, I believe everyone's doctrine has difficulties.

Either it's not harmonious, or it's seemingly refuted by other scriptures, or both.

By the way, I found the other commentary I had mentioned on the other thread:

free bible commentary dot org

By Bob Utley. Very similar to Constable's site
---James_L on 1/31/12

James, I will attempt to put your interpretations along side of those scriptures and spend some time on them. I dont want to give you a hasty response and sacrifice any merit you may have in your comments due to foolish pride when I only desire to come at the scriptures with a sober mind, humble heart and teachable spirit. Sometimes we feel just TOO Christian to be the student I guess. Thanks for taking the time to put the passages down and tie them together with your explanations. I have other points to make, but I will put them on hold so I dont minimize your thoughts on this valuable topic.
In His grip
---Poppa_Bear on 1/31/12

Poppa Bear,
about Romans 5, if you compare verses 12-19, it is almost verbatim (at points) what Paul wrote in 1Cor 15 (esp v20-22). Rom 5 is about physical resurrection, and it is called "salvation" in verse 10

Romans 8 is clearly in the context of suffering (v 17, 38-39). This "glorified" spoken in 28-30 is the same as in Hebrews 2. But the context doesn't end in shapter 8, it runs through chapter 11. In ch 9 we see the same glory spoken of. In ch 10 and 11 we see it plainly called "salvation" Compare the wording of Rom 10 with Matt 10, 2Tim 2, Heb 2 and others. You see the same words all through - saved, reigning, glory, all in the context of suffering
---James_L on 1/30/12

Poppa Bear part 2,
I didn't say that Jesus was saved, what I said is that glory and honor were bestowed on Him because He suffered, and that He is bringing many sons to glory with Him (Heb 2:9-10)

Heb 1:14 et al call this salvation. salvation encompasses much more than "justify, sanctify, glorify"

Depending on which aspect of salvation is being discussed, each of the following questions can be answered yes and no, according to scripture

Is salvation based on works? yes and no
Is salvation conditional? yes and no
Can salvation be lost? yes and no
Must I have faith in Christ to be saved? yes and no
---James_L on 1/30/12

Part 1
James, Jesus wasnt saved, he was the Savior. His righteousness is credited to those who believe through faith and by the atoning power of His blood we are justified. Romans 4:16-25, Romans, 5:1-2, Romans 5:9-10. Righteousness is a gift we obtained through His obedience, Romans 5:15-19. The bible says we are already glorified before him, Those He has called He has Justified, and those He also Justified He also glorified. Paraphrase, Romans 8:30. Romans 10:9 That you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. It is with your heart you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth you confess and are saved.
---Poppa_Bear on 1/30/12

James L, thanks for your answer. Here is what you said,
"BUT, you also cannot deny the plain language of scripture:Work out YOUR OWN salvation"
Of course I believe that. Not because I get salvation out of it but because I already have it. Work out our own salvation. It's a done deal, now we work at it. Why?
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" That is why we work what we already have.
The passage does not say to work out so that we can receive salvation, but that we already have it.
---Mark_V. on 1/30/12

Mark V and Poppa Bear,

In any discussion about salvation, it is imperative to ask - What exactly is salvation?

If salvation is narrowly designed as "jusify, sanctify, glorify" then we must also ask what are those three? and especially "glorify"

Hebrew 2:9-10 says that glory and honor was bestowed on Christ because He suffered, and He is bringing many sons to glory. In other words, He was glorified as we will be.

Does that mean Jesus was "saved" ?

According to a narrow view of salvation, one should have no other conclusion
---James_L on 1/30/12

Ok James, we would have to go back to the foundations of conversion, and the role of the Holy Spirit, and the idea of whether or not one can lose their salvation. Your references to James are fair points, but I believe that those passages have qualifiers that need to be understood first, biblical texts that are few such as in the book of James are genraly interpretated by other passages that have a larger amount of contextual exposition. We have many more passages related to the means of salvation that place the emphasis on faith from the Gospel writers and paul. I do believe that we play a part in our salvation, but I believe that our justification is still by faith in Christs finished work and none of ours.
---Poppa_Bear on 1/30/12

Mark V,
I have never denied that it is God working in us, and that we can do nothing without Christ. If we do it on our own, we are simply walking in the flesh.

BUT, you also cannot deny the plain language of scripture:Work out YOUR OWN salvation

God does not drag us through life, we are called to WALK

We are called to study, minister, pray, suffer etc etc etc

Concerning the original blog question, what does it mean to work out our own salvation?

It is SQUARELY in the context of suffering for Christ, and "salvation" is over and over mentioned in the context of suffering. And almost every time, the salvation mentnioned is conditional
---James_L on 1/30/12

Poppa Bear,

Concerning being jusified by works, there is one passage that says it plainly (James 2:14, 24). If a man has faith without works, can that faith "save" him? no.

The questions must be - "saved" from what? and justified in what sense?

In James 2:12, we sese that he is speaking of the judgment awaiting believers, which would be the Bema Seat (also 3:1)

1Cor 3:10-15 says our works will be tested, and each will receive a reward for good works.

James 2 is asking what if we stand at the Bema with faith alone. Will our faith by itself "justify" us in receieving rewards> Can faith alone "save" us from losing rewards?

---James_L on 1/30/12

James, I can understand where your coming from and how you could arrive at those conclusions from those passages, but then the question is still on the table, our we justified by works, or by faith in the finished work on the cross? Is faith the catalyst of good works and the manifestation of salvation, or is faith the means to do good works and then gain/keep/obtain salvation? My question may not be completely fare because I am asking a question that I already have an answer that suffices for me, and if youre completely content in your position according to the word then we would be at a deadlock. I will try to find that book and seek out some excerpts before acquiring.
---Poppa_Bear on 1/30/12

Poppa Bear, I welcome you answering questions. Love how you put things down. I have something to add to what you said,
All those passages that James L gives can go under one passage. And that passage came from Jesus,
The word in that passage is "Abides" which means "to remain"
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who "abides" in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
Everyone who "remains" endures, suffers, overcomes, not because of our works, because without Him we can do nothing.
If someone does not "remain" "Abide" he is not one of us (1 John 2:19).
---Mark_V. on 1/30/12

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Poppa Bear,
There are many scriptures which contain a conditional element for "salvation" (Matt 10:22, Mark 16:16, Rom 10:9-10, etc)

The problem is that most people see the word "saved" and load their own definition of it onto the text. Then comes the dance.

Dancing around the plain language of scripture, trying to create a reverse cause/effect/inevitablility that is just not supported scripturally

Here is another reference work I recommend:
Reign Of The Servant Kings -
A Study Of Eternal Security And The Final Significance Of Man
by Joseph (Jody) Dillow

I think you can find it at:
Faith Alone dot Org (no spaces)
---James_L on 1/29/12

To add to your comment Mark. There are not conditions, but rather manifestations of being saved. If youre saved, you will by your nature do A-B-C, if youre not, you will be like the seeds in the parables that blew away, were snatched away, choked and sun scorched. There are marks of a believer and marks of a false conversion. The evidence lyes in our works, but even with that, justification is in Christs finished work and none of our piddly diddly efforts. Given, we bring those works to him by faith and He honors them according to the motives an sincerity of them, and stores them up on our behalf as treasures in heaven.
In His grip
---Poppa_Bear on 1/29/12

James L, here is where I disagree with you. There is no conditions we have to do in order to be saved. We are saved by Grace through faith. The conditions we go through are all conditions after we have been saved by Grace through faith, because nothing we do merits salvation. Christ death is sufficient to save us. It does not need any works of ours to be sufficient. The passage says "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" Without the Spirit of Christ in us, we would not accomplish any of the works God ordained for us to do before the creation of the world. Or to will and do of His good pleasure. If we endure it is because of God in us. We will suffer because He lives in us.
---Mark_V. on 1/29/12


Yes, salvation is much more than forgiveness and redemption. Good insight

an interesting four-fold reference:
Matthew 10
Romans 8, 9, 10, 11
2Timothy 2
Hebrews 2

confess, endure, saved, glory, etc and the context is suffering

If we endure in a confession through times of suffering, we will be saved (Matt 10, Rom 10, 2Tim 2:12). In other words, we will share in Christ's glory (Heb 2:8-10), reign with Him (2Tim 2:12), share in His inheritance (Romm 8:17)

There are so many passages which tell us that our "salvation" is conditional - if we suffer. Hebrews 1:14 calls our inheritance "salvation"

While other passages call it being a joint-heir, or reigning with Him
---James_L on 1/28/12

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Matthew 10:22 All men will hate you because of me(Jesus),but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. This verse to me indicates salvation is so much more than forgiveness of sin and redemption. Salvation is a process,a way of life,it is our every word,action,thought,and reaches to the depths of our life and our very being. It is truely a way of life which must line up with the Word of God and "if you don't do it,you ain't got it". Salvation living puts the "Old Man" in the grave and lives a "New Man" life,holy,true,kind,loving,giving,a seeker of more of God every day truely dying to self in every way. Salvation transforms the earthly man into a Spiritual man. God is always first in salvation.
---Darlene_1 on 1/27/12

Christian: "working out your salvation" with my little understanding means "using all God's wisdom and instructions to run away from sin & live in obedience to God". Then, somebody who is already doing this cannot exist in "Outside of God's working" anymore.
---Adetunji on 1/26/12

""Unfortunately, most have a view of salvation that is too narrow, thinking it means only "go to heaven", or "saved from hell"" James L.
I was reflecting on this earlier, and how there was a time I viewed salvation that way, but it is so much more, being reconciled to the Father, to know HIM and be with Him, and as Jesus said "I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you."

As far as I'm concerned, He IS heaven.
---Chria9396 on 1/25/12

James L, you are correct that people here make salvation very narrow. But not for the reasons you gave. Since most of them have to do with the evidence that a person is saved. Not that He is saved by doing them.
When God speaks in His word about salvation, it concerns all the actions God takes to bring us eternal life. Many pick and chose which one's they want to argue on, but they are actions God takes. The Bible uses the term salvation not only in many senses, but in many tenses. There is a sense in which we were saved from the foundation of the world, Also, we are being saved by the Word of God in History. We are saved by being in a justified state: And we will be saved (experience the consumation of our redemtption in heaven.
---Mark_V. on 1/25/12

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Unfortunately, most have a view of salvation that is too narrow, thinking it means only "go to heaven", or "saved from hell"

Almost every time "salvation" in mentioned in the NT in the context if suffering, there is a conditional element.

i.e. if we suffer, we will be saved

Matt 10 - persecution. Verse 22 says "He who endures [suffering] to the end will be saved" also v32 "confess Me, I will confess you"

Romans ch 8 - suffering. Verse 17 We are joint-heirs IF we suffer with Him. In ch 10 "Confess with your mouth to be saved.

Phil 1:29, 2:12 "Not only to believe in Him, bu also to suffer for Him....THEREFORE, work out your own salvation."
---James_L on 1/25/12

Jim, I believe Lee is saying confession is not a requirement for salvation, but something every believer feels within him, so we ask for His forgiveness. We don't have to confess because God knows our hearts and thoughts already. "For I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them" (Ezek. 11:5). Salvation comes by grace through faith, not by any confession. But we will repent for repentance is granted by God.
".. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will" (2 Tim. 2:25,26).
Repentance is that change of attitude toward sin that enables a person to trust Christ as Savior.
---Mark_V. on 1/21/12

If we could work out our own salvation, then we wouldn't need Jesus, right?

Everyone needs a Savior!
---anon on 1/20/12

lee you dodged the question.
I asked do you ask for forgiveness everytime you sin? Yes/No
---JIM on 1/20/12

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lee...Why is it that Paul, the man who received the gospel by revelation from Jesus Christ never taught anything to do with confessing of sin?

Check out 2Cor.5:18-21
---JIM on 1/20/12

Aka, I like how you explained "fear and trembling" Fear and trembling is the attitude with which Christians are to pursue their sanctification. It involves a healthy fear of offending God and a righteous awe and respect for Him. (Pro. 1:7: 9:10: Isa. 66:1,2). If we don't have a fear of offending God, then we don't worry about the bad we do. We should worry, and it should make us tremble. God can take our life in a split second for offending Him. That should fear us also.
---Mark_V. on 1/20/12

JIM//John was talking about a certain group of people(agnostics) who thought they were without sin.
Please provide your reference!

The literature states 1 John was written to Christians involved with the gnostic heresy.

Holman Study Bible: "1 John was written mainly to combat the false doctrines of denying either the incarnation of Jesus Christ - that he came with real humanity and truly a human body- or the messiahship of Jesus. ...These heresies led to certain false behaviors, esp. a denial of the seriousness of sin...."

//Do you yourself ask for forgiveness everytime you commit a sin?

The requirement is for us to confess our sin as our fellowship with the Lord is marred by disobedience.
---lee1538 on 1/20/12

lee.. I can tell from you throwing out 1John1:9 that you do not understand what or who John was talking about. John was talking about a certain group of people(agnostics) who thought they were without sin.
Do you yourself ask for forgiveness everytime you commit a sin?
---JIM on 1/20/12

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The Apostle Paul was telling the people they were to keep on obeying the Gospel of Christ and serve God even though he wouldn't be with them anymore. He told them as they had obeyed,they should continue to work out their salvation. Fear and trembling is like saying realize who God is and his power. Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul,but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. God judges and sends to hell. Working out salvation is simply living an obedient,Godly life. Yes a lot of things can make us fear and tremble but fearing God's power and obey him is wisdom.
---Darlene_1 on 1/20/12

Philippians 2:12 is not about works and is not even very much about working.
The verses from Phil 2:1 - Phil 2:11 describe what humility and Christian unity should look like. Fellowship, affection and compassion, united in Spirit, lacking selfishness, looking to the interests of others. These are the "works" we should be involved in.

So, after listing these the Apostle Paul simply says do these things with fear and trembling, because it is God who works in you. And do them without complaining.
---Mark_Eaton on 1/20/12

JIM//..You mean to tell me that Jesus died only for the sins you repent of.

Never stated that but what I did post is that Cross died for sins that are past, present & future, not qualified for what we do or do not do.

Howbeit, Christians still do that which is wrong and must confess their sins as such has to do with our relationship with the Lord.

1 john 1:9 If WE confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
---lee1538 on 1/20/12

lee.//We need to review what we do and say and repent if necessary to receive God's forgiveness//

lee..You mean to tell me that Jesus died only for the sins you repent of? What if you forget about one and die? What then? lee, answer this..How many times do you ask for forgiveness? Think about it!

---JIM on 1/20/12

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Philippians 2:12 is not an admonition for attempting to work out ones own salvation, but rather a warning against such a futile carnal attempt. For the following verse plainly informs us that "it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Jesus also tells us plainly that without Him we can do nothing. If one has the audacity to think that they can "work out their own salvation" they should absolutely do it with "fear and trembling". However those of us that realize that it is not possible to work out our own salvation also realize that the Father has not given His chosen "a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2Ti 1:7
---joseph on 1/20/12

//Outside of God's working, can you fear and tremble on your own?//

no and no. fear (of the Lord) is the cause and trembling is the effect.

without the fear, there is no tremble.
---aka on 1/20/12

//lee...repenting is going from unbelief to believing.

spliting theologcal hairs? We confess our sin when we realize them and turn away (repent) from committing them again.

I suppose that it has a lot to do with what we hear the preachers say every sunday.
---lee1538 on 1/19/12

I believe that this verse means:

(1) We need to be HUMBLE.

(2) We need to let GOD freely work on us.

Complete surrender to HIM, and HIM alone.

Only then will We be open to salvation and living a new life. Away with the old!
---Sag on 1/19/12

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Jim - maybe you should repent of your sins?

Dictionary definition


1. be sorry: to recognize the wrong in something you have done and be sorry about it
2. change ways: to feel regret about a sin or past actions and change your ways or habits
---lee1538 on 1/19/12

lee1538//"We need to review what we do and say and repent if necessary to receive God's forgiveness"//
lee...repenting is going from unbelief to believing.
You receive forgiveness when you put you faith and trust in Jesus Christ only.
---JIM on 1/19/12

No, we can not work out our salvation by ourselves, but in sharing oneness with God (1 Corinthians 6:17).

It says to work out your salvation, but right with this it says God works our willing that is "for His good pleasure." So, God has us working and fearing and trembling the way He wants this (c:

So, what we get ourselves to do is not enough. (2 Corinthians 3:5, Romans 6:17)

Paul says, "To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." (Colossians 1:29) So, I can see that Paul flowed with however God took Him in the ruling of God's peace (Colossians 3:15).
---Bill_willa6989 on 1/19/12

Unfortunately all too many believers attempt to work out their salvation through the teachings of their particular denomination. In effect, they abrogate their salvation to a denomination believing that the denomination speaks for God.

Yes, one can tremble when one realizes that even every idle word we say will bear a judgment from God on that day when He calls us home. We need to review what we do and say and repent if necessary to receive God's forgiveness.
---lee1538 on 1/19/12

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