“Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near.” – Isaiah 55:6
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We are still studying the book of Philippians. In Philippians 2:12, the apostle Paul encourages the Christians to “work out [their] salvation with fear and trembling.” That same admonition is for us today – Christians and non-Christians, alike. While some may contend that we don’t have to do anything to receive salvation, that is a false notion and is not supported by Scripture.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” – Philippians 2:12
We must work out our salvation. That means we have to put forth some effort in order to be saved. Yes, Christ died for all as a free gift resulting in justification (Romans 5:15-18). Yes, we are justified by faith through grace (Ephesians 2:8). Yes, it’s the grace – the unmerited favor of God that brings salvation to man (Titus 2:11). But we have to make some effort in order to receive it.
“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” – James 2:24
Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). We have to take action in order to receive the gift that God has freely given. We can’t just say one prayer, sit back and live however we want, and expect to make it to heaven.
True salvation requires repentance (Luke 13:3). That means you change your mind and your way of living. That’s a work. True salvation also requires belief (John 8:24). True salvation requires confession, not of your sins but confession of Christ, that He is Lord (Romans 10:9-10). True salvation requires baptism – immersion (Mark 16:16). Jesus said the one who believes and is baptized will be saved. Finally, true salvation requires living faithfully until death (Revelation 2:10).
Those requirements are not based upon merit. They are simply the guidelines that the Lord has put in place by way of His Word. And we must be diligent to secure our salvation with a tenacity that resembles how much we love ourselves and our own souls.
No one else can work out our salvation for us – not our parents, not our preachers, and not our friends. We have to do the necessary work in order to receive salvation and to keep it. Once you are saved, you’re not always saved if you’re not living according to God’s Word. That’s why we have to work out our salvation – just like we have to work out our muscles or they will waste away.
Friends, you don’t want to lose your salvation if you’ve already received it. And if you haven’t received it, you must do what is necessary to gain it. God has already laid out the requirements for true salvation. Will you follow them?
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” – Isaiah 55:7
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