“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 2:12-13.
Everything that we do with the life of Christ inside us is never by our own ability, but by the grace of our Lord Jesus. Being saved by grace and living a saved life is also by grace. You cannot earn this Eternal Life or maintain it by our own efforts; it just wasn’t designed that way.
People have misinterpreted the scripture above a few times, claiming Paul is telling u to secure our salvation by our works to ‘make heaven.’ Some even go as far as saying that grace only got us saved, so we have to work by our own efforts to stay saved. That is simply not true. Let’s look at parts of those verses in The Living Bible translation:
“…And now that I am Away you must be even more careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease Him. For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey Him, and then helping you do what He wants.”
Paul instructed us to do good works. He said “do the good things that result from being saved.” Wow! He’s telling us to do good works because we are saved, not to secure our salvation. It’s just like he told the Ephesian Church “…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). These good things or good works are not done so we can be saved, they must be done by us because we are saved. We should give; we should play our part in building God’s kingdom on earth because we are part of that kingdom.
Even though we are required to do good works as Believers in Christ, the ability to do them isn’t still on us, it is on the grace of Jesus Christ.
“For God is at work within, helping you want to obey Him and then helping you do what he wants” Philippians 2:13 (The Living Bible).
God is the one who makes you desire to obey Him and He’s still the one who helps you do what He wants. So why do some people still choose to go the hard way of trying to do it all by themselves? Isn’t that the big question? God has called us to live a life empowered by Him. He has called us to express Eternal Life and has equipped us with the ability to express it. So work out your salvation and realize that the Father has called you to the Good Life.