What Does Work out Your Salvation Mean?

Pondering this verse today from our friend Paul

Phillipians 2: 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,

Obey: Hupakouo (Hoop-ak-oo-o) listen, under hearing, obey what is heard,

They were under Grace, they only were hearing about Jesus who brought grace and truth from Paul.

John 1:16-17 From His fullness (filling up, fulfillment) we have all received grace upon grace. 17For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

I love how it is explained in the book Saints in the Arms of a Happy God :

The Truth in question is the Truth about God Himself, not a method of delivery that majors on sin and judgment. The Law is not the truth about God, but the truth about the human race outside of Christ.

The Law is not the truth about God, but the truth about the fallen human condition. It does not reveal God’s personality, His character, His heart, or His ways. Those are truths revealed exclusively through the grace that comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ.- Saints in the Arms of a Happy God

Therefore, my dear friends, as you were always under hearing, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence continue to work out your salvation.

Our only work is to believe is what Jesus said in John 6:29, so obedience is believing who he says we are and who he revealed Daddy is. He was speaking to those who had the honor to walk with him, hug him, touch him, be in his tangible presence.  He was encouraging them to not only believe when he was there with them in the flesh but also when he wasn’t there in the flesh. To work out our salvation means simply to keep trusting him to persuade us unto belief (Faith) of the truth about us as Jesus came to teach and show us.

Right before this Paul was encouraging his brothers and sisters in Philippians 2

1-2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,

complete my joy by being of the same mind,  (united in spirit) having the same love (God love), being in full accord (thinking and understanding the same way) and of one mind.

He wanted them to remember the teachings of Grace and be of the same mind, walking in the same agape, free love.

If we look again at our original verse in Phil 2:12, lets dig into the last park To work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Fear in the greek here is Phobos (fob’-os) To be put in fear, reverence, respect

It’s where we get the word phobia which is defined as an extreme or irrational fear of something or someone that
 leads to a desire to avoid it.

The word fear here phobos is also defined in passages as awe. We can see that here in Acts 2:42 where phobos is translated as awe.

Those who embraced his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to the believers that day. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking bread and to prayer. 43A sense of awe came over everyone, and the apostles performed many wonders and signs.…


Awe is defined in the dictionary as an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, rear, power to inspire fear or reverence.

We either see it as fear or reverence depending on how we are viewing our daddy.

Trembling is tromos (tromos) and it means shaking caused by great fear. If we read fear here as awe and reverence yes don’t we shake in amazement at Daddy’s goodness to us. If we read it as he is mad at us waiting to smite us, then we get another interpretation all together.

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13

Evil in the new testament is defined as Poneros which means, laborious toil, trouble it means trying to attain your salvation by your own works instead of just believing Jesus is the finished work.

Pride and arrogance is saying I am going to save myself that Jesus hasn’t done enough, that I must do more to save me. Humility then is saying Jesus you did it all there is nothing left for me to do but believe that.

Awe and reverence is the correct definition for fear under the lens of grace, fear of being punished is the wrong definition as Jesus showed us in 1 John 4:18.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Understanding the real definition of fear under God’s Glorious grace is the beginning of our knowledge of him.

Proverbs 14:26 – In the fear of the LORD [is] strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

Refuge here means to flee to for protection, to put your trust in, have hope in, confide in.

When we are walking in his perfect love, when we are able to see ourselves and him as the goodness Jesus came to show us we have strong confident in our protection. We trust Daddy, confide in him and put our hope in him and not our own self efforts.

Job 28:28 – And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom; and to depart from evil [is] understanding.

When we depart from trying to earn our salvation in our own works, when we understand what the fear of the lord really means that is departing from evil, that is true understand.

I pray that Daddy gives you even more revelation into this today and you can walk in the rest of His finished work.


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