Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
The Bible tells us that we play a vital role in deepening our faith. I call it “Fitness for your faith.” Did you ever wonder why the Word of God contains so many athletic metaphors for growing and maturing in our faith? It’s because our faith is very much like a muscle; the more we use it, the stronger it becomes. The opposite is also true; the less we exercise faith, the weaker it becomes.
D. L. Moody, the great nineteenth-century evangelist, shared profound insight into how to exercise faith: “I prayed for faith, and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.” Spending time in God’s Word was the key that unlocked the door to Moody’s ever-increasing “faith fitness.”
Every time we read a passage of Scripture, we gain greater insight into both the Word of God and the God of the Word. As we read the Word, the Word reads us. This process strengthens our resolve to put what we are learning into practice. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Fitness for your faith is the desire to do what Jesus wants us to do, when He wants us to do it, and how He wants us to do it.
Will we do that perfectly? Heavens no! When we mess things up, we must remember that we are secure in our relationship with Jesus — not because of our faithfulness to Him, but His faithfulness to us. When the apostle Paul told us to “Work out your salvation,” he was not telling us our salvation is in jeopardy. Once we are saved, by grace through faith, we are always saved. Paul was encouraging the Christians at Philippi (and you and me today) to actively pursue . . . to work out . . . our obedience by going to the supernatural source of our salvation and our sanctification: the Word of God. That is how we develop fitness for our faith; that is how we “work out” our salvation.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!