Working Out Your Salvation

Have you ever wondered why life can sometimes be so difficult? Maybe you have faced a health crisis that makes you question if healing really for today? Maybe constant money pressures or relationship issues are making your doubt God’s goodness. Does God really want you well or are we supposed to trudge through life until we all get to Heaven?

While Jesus never promised us a trouble-free life, He’s provided multiple ways to experience God’s provision, whether it’s healing, financial breakthrough, or just a better attitude. The actual definition of grace is God’s unmerited, undeserved favor! His favor is something we should be experiencing in our lives today—not something to expect only for after we die.


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; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 

(Philippians 2:12)


In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he tells them, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” To understand this statement we need to take a closer look. There are actually two Greek words used in the New Testament for salvation, sozo (verb) and soteria (noun) Both of these words essentially mean the same thing—wholeness, healing, deliverance, and salvation. 


What Is Salvation?

Why is this important? Great question! It’s important because, by peeling back the layers of what the original meaning of these words are, we can see that salvation is so much more than something we experience after we die. Think about it. We won’t need healing and deliverance after we’re dead, we need it in this life!

Jesus didn’t come to this earth, limit Himself as a man, die a gruesome death on a cross, and rise from the dead so we can struggle in this world. If His goal was only for us to experience something after we die, what’s the point of life? Jesus didn’t come to get us into Heaven, He came to get Heaven into us! His entire ministry was about living on earth as it is in Heaven. That means we actually have the ability to live Kingdom life today!

Work Out Your Salvation

Notice how the apostle Paul didn’t say to work for your salvation. We’re not trying to mark every ’T’ and dot every ‘I’ so we can receive something that is outside of us. Because of the cross, salvation already lives in you! All you have to do is release it. The only thing you need to do is get your mind out of the way and let God do what God does.

for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

It’s God who does the work—not us! Our job is simply to allow God to do His work in us. By thinking we have to do certain things and act certain ways to get certain things, we are actually preventing salvation from coming to the surface. 

Fear and Trembling

Moving aside and letting God do His job can be scary. It’s the complete opposite of what our natural minds think. We want to step in and make things happen and it can be terrifying to rest when the world seems to be falling down around you. It takes courage to step into an area of healing when the pain in your body has been screaming at you. When Paul says to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” it just means that doing the opposite of what your mind is telling you to do can be absolutely terrifying. 

As I mentioned earlier, Jesus never promised us a trouble-free life, but He’s given us the answer. It’s Him who is doing a work in you. He desperately wants to help you through your problems and, the good news is, the pressure is off you. The only effort you need to add to the equation is rest, and let God do what God does. 

Clint ZellerComment