Friday, July 6, 2018
Does Philippians 2:12 Refute Justification By Faith Alone?
People who have genuine faith in Christ do good works through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. God empowers us to do His will. That is how Christians are able to "work out" their salvation. The life of faith is to be lived out in sincerity and tenacity. It requires that a person persistently be in agreement with God's will.
Holy living is the logical outworking of our justification before God. He is the source of our spiritual growth in Christ. Paul in the next verse tells us that, "...it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Philippians 2:13) This is the reason that "salvation" has to be worked out.
This theme is also found in Ephesians as Paul said that we are, "created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10) In other words, God has called us to live a holy life. He works through us in doing good. God's intervention is clearly stated in bringing about His divine plan. It manifests itself in works of holiness and love.
Philippians 2:12 addresses our growth in the Christian life. Sanctification is an ongoing process that requires human exertion. That is the aspect of salvation touched on in this passage. It is not something in which we are passive. "Salvation" is not only to be received, but also done. This has to do with obedience to God, which results in greater joy to a person of faith.
The phrase "fear and trembling" indicates the proper mindset that we are to have toward God. It is not one of walking on eggshells but of awe and reverence. It does not denote uncertainty of our standing before God in Christ. Psalm 2:11 says, "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling." We ought to respect Him because He is holy.