The good works of salvation

Salvation on Sunday must lead to renewed actions on Monday. Or even at Sunday lunch.

In Philippians 2, Paul paints a grand vision of Christ’s saving work. Although being in very nature God, Jesus Christ came as a man, humbling himself, even to death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place, that every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Immediately, Paul shows the practical application:

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, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)

The implication is that we are not just saved from sin and death; we are saved to live under the Lordship of Christ. This is a reality which will be made fully clear to the whole creation when Christ returns, but until then we live it out. We work out this consequence of salvation in our lives in every one moment of the week. 

So, Paul notes, Christian life is not just in the presence, or even absence of other believers. It’s about the kind of new life we live before the constant heavenly presence of the risen and reigning Christ. So, for us, not only faithfulness at church, but even more during the rest of our week. 

But we are not alone. Our Lord Jesus also empowers us for the task even when we are apart from other believers. We actively work out God’s good purposes in this new life under Christ. And he works in us too, that we might desire and act out what he wants. 

What good acts of faithful obedience can you work out this week, out of sight of other Christians, but in honour and plain view of our Lord Jesus?

– Sam Pursell