Text: Philippians 2:1-18
This short passage is very encouraging, but it has also caused a bit of confusion. We know Scripture teaches that salvation is entirely by God’s grace alone, accomplished by Jesus Christ alone, and received only by faith (Gen.15:6; Rom.3:22, 28; Eph.2:8-9). Today’s verses sound like Paul is teaching that a person must obey God’s law to earn salvation.
But what is being taught is that believers must put their salvation to work. When Jesus healed people, He often would command them to do something, like wash, walk, announce, etc. Christ gave salvation first, then obedience was the response – salvation put to work.
That is the theology. But these verses are also a practical encouragement for the transformed life. Living the Christian life can be very difficult, and it often feels like the entire burden of obedience is on our shoulders. Verse 13 says that God is working in us. Like the paralyzed man of Mat.9:6 who could not walk, he did so when Jesus commanded him to walk. However, our temptations and obediences don’t feel that way. We feel temptation powerfully and our successes feel like our work. But look back to the study in 1 Cor.10:13, God provides the way of escape. When you take it, the way of escape will be God’s power working through you. God also gives new desires, so that you are more enabled to flee temptation.
Though you will have failings, be encouraged. The Lord Is working in you
and maturing you.
Meditate on verse 13. What is God teaching you in this verse?
Almighty Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, work in and through me.
Let me work according to Your will. Amen.