Work Out Your Salvation, or Else!
my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now
much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and
It utterly amazes me how anyone who has read their bible for themselves can honestly believe that it is impossible to lose our salvation. What I have found is that these folks have been sold a cheap, counterfeit salvation and never even gave it a second thought. They have entrusted their eternities to men they wouldn’t even trust alone with their spouse or children! They have relied on their twisted interpretations of scripture instead of reading it for themselves.
They pay more attention to how their Starbucks lattes are made than how their salvation is progressing. How can anyone have such a lackadaisical attitude towards God? The above verse tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, how can that possibly be necessary if salvation cannot be lost? I must admit I was once one of those who blindly and ignorantly believed that I could entrust my salvation to the pastors, churches and ministries. But that is how I was raised, and how my parents were, and their parents and so on.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all,
but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that
striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to
obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
Whilst reflecting on Paul’s admonition to ‘work out’ our salvation God showed me a simple allegory that really hit home. Did you know that perhaps 75% of people who join a gym hardly ever go? They know they should, but never seem to get around to it. Now a simple question: Can you honestly say you are working out if you join a gym but don’t go? How is salvation any different? I submit to you that millions have made a commitment to God with their lips, they may even go to church and pay their tithes. But if they never even attempt to work out their salvation are they saved at all?
What does it mean precisely to ‘work out our salvation’? Good question. First we must understand exactly what our salvation requires of us and then perform those things to the best of our ability. The number one requirement of salvation? Repentance. Godly repentance requires two things: being sorry for our sins and turning from them. Now there are many who will say that repentance simply mean to change our minds, but that is not really precise. Yes, deciding to change our minds is where it begins, however that is followed up by actions. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather
grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth
forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree
cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good
fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast
into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Now for a real world example. How many of you know those who claim to be Christians yet are living in sexual sin? They go from one toxic relationship to another and still have the delusion that they are ‘saved’. Jesus gave us an excellent parable that illustrates this perfectly.
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he
came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered
and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to
the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went
not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him,
The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans
and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
If we were to sum this parable up it would be ‘actions speak louder than words’. Matthew 7:21 (KJV) makes it clear as crystal that after all is said and done only those who actually do the will of the Father shall enter Heaven. Now of course sexual sin is usually an ‘outward’ sin, other people can see that you are not obedient to the Father. But the same goes for so called ‘secret sins’ because of course no thoughts, actions or deeds are hidden from God. So we can with confidence make the broad claim that working out our salvation requires that we do the will of the Father to the best of our abilities. And when we inevitably falter in our pursuit of spiritual perfection our job is to repent and thus invoke the blood of Jesus upon our sin (Hebrews 4:16 KJV).
We should also understand that the word 'saved' in scripture indicates a state we are either in or not. The phrase 'we shall be saved' appears numerous times in scripture indicating a future event. We are 'saved' only in the sense that if we continue to endure in the faith we 'shall be saved' from our just punishment on judgment day. See my article: 'We Shall Be Saved')
When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die;
and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his
wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity;
but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and
he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in
his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man
doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling
block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he
shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be
remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
As far as judging goes many a tare amongst the wheat attempt to trivialize their outward sins by bleating ‘stop judging meee’. Such is the decrepit state of this end times church where there is no Godly shame for sin anymore. But God’s Word requires that we warn even the righteous when they stumble into sinful behavior. Only you know in your own heart whether you are judging others or warning them. God will deal with you if your intentions are not pure. Do not allow their false accusations of judging to deter you in warning them because God’s Word says their blood will be on our hands if we don’t. So it seems to me that warning others is also an inherent part of working out our salvation.
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