WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION
By John C. Carpenter
 
The apostle Paul wrote the believers in Philippi, If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, 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 trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Php 2:1-13). What did Paul mean by work out your own salvation?
 
IT IS GIVEN IN THE BEHALF OF CHRIST, NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE
ON HIM, BUT ALSO TO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE
 
First of all, the church at Philippi had some issues and sins that Paul was concerned about, some behavior in the church that was not consistent with true Christian faith nor in obedience to the gospel of Christ. So, if the apostle Paul thought that the believers in the church as Philippi were not fully committed to leading lives consistent with the gospel and their salvation, what things was the church not doing that they should be doing, as well as what things was the church doing that they should not be doing? There were several issues that Paul addressed in his letter to his fellow believers in Philippi.
 
Paul had learned that, of his brethren, some indeed preach Christ even [because] of envy and strife; and some also of good will [appropriate desire, delight]: The one preach Christ of contention [provocation], not sincerely [not with honesty and purity], supposing to add affliction [anguish and trouble] to my bonds [impediments]: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel (Php 1:15-17), but, even though he mentions this in his letter, this did not highly concern Paul because notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice (Php 1:18).
 
Also, the believers at Philippi were unwilling to suffer for the gospel of Christ. Paul instructed the Philippian believers, let your conversation [behavior as a citizen of the Kingdom of God] be as it becometh [worthy, appropriate, Godly] the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake (Php 1:27-29). Paul added that their suffering would also bring consolation: If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Php 2:1-5).
 
Another thing which bothered Paul was that the church at Philippi was fighting among themselves. Knowing the petty, worldly and ungodly strife occurring in the church, Paul explained that because the Holy Spirit was working in them both to know and do God's will (Phil 2:13), the Philippian believers should Do all things without murmurings and disputings:That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth [retain and give heed unto, perform] the [gospel] word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain (Php 2:14-16).
 
The church at Philippi was also being subjected to false apostles and ministers, and Paul wanted to protect them. Knowing the weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and naivete of some in the church members at Philippi, Paul also warned the church members about dogs, [false apostles who were impure and greedy for gain], evil workers, and the concision [those who provide intense opposition to the pure gospel of Christ] (Php 3:2), all of whom, according to Paul, operate in the flesh. Additionally, in attempting to keep the Philippian church on track, Paul reminded them who they truly were: For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh[and the false individuals who operate accordingly] (Php 3:3). Later in his letter, Paul reinforced his warning to the Philippian believers about false ministers who walk in lustful, earthly ways, and whose end is shame and death: (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Php 3:18-19).
 
IT IS GOD WHICH WORKETH IN YOU
 
Clearly, some of the Philippian saints were struggling in their faith, but we all do from time to time. So, in order to help and guide them Paul instructed the believers to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Php 2:12). What did Paul mean by working out their own salvation? How were they to do that?
 
In verse 12, the words work out are translated from the Greek word katergaaomai, which means to accomplish, finish, fashion, do the deed, perform, or to work fully, and is derived from the Greek words kata, which means according to, pertaining to, as touching, after the manner of, and ergazaomai, which means to toil with a task or occupation, commit to, do, labor for, or work. The word salvation is derived from the Greek word soteria, which means deliverance, health, salvation, rescue, or safety, and is a specific reference to eternal salvation available through faith in Christ. The word fear means to be afraid, be alarmed, be frightened, or consider a terror, while the word trembling refers to quaking with fear, trembling, or exceeding dread.
 
Immediately after instructing the believers to work out their own salvation, Paul gave them a hint as to what it means to work out our own salvation when he added, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth [retain, hold upon, give heed unto] the [gospel] word of [that results in] life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain (Php 2:13-16).
 
When Paul instructs the Philippian believers in Christ to work out their own salvation, and to do such with fear and trembling, he is telling them that they should commit to, labor for, give heed unto, work fully, fashion, and finish completely those things pertaining to and as touching the gospel of Christ, their faith, walk, and salvation. Paul is encouraging the Philippian believers [as well as all believers in Christ] to fully and appropriately live their lives in light of the fact that they have been given faith through God's grace and, as a consequence, have received the gift of eternal salvation, and to tremble with fear over the potential consequences of not living their lives in a way that is pleasing to their heavenly Father and consistent with the requirements of the gospel, their faith and their resulting salvation. In more simple terms, working out our own salvation means letting God full work in us so that we not only want to know His will, but we also want to do His will.
 
HAVING THEN GIFTS DIFFERING ACCORDING TO THE GRACE THAT IS GIVEN US
 
Since we are to work out our own salvation by knowing and doing God's will, by letting God and His Holy Spirit work in and through our lives, and by total submission to God and His plan for our lives, we must also acknowledge that each of us is called by God to perform different tasks. If we are honest, we must also acknowledge that letting God live His life and will through us is not easy; it is a difficult path, a difficult walk, it is a life full of pain, suffering, and death, and requires patience and perseverance, but the temporal and eternal rewards are great. It is certainly not a life of comfort, blessing, increase, ease, health, wealth, and prosperity, as some would have you believe. We must also acknowledge that even though each and every believer in Christ has a calling and ministry, our individual callings are manifested and accomplished only according to the grace given each of us by God.
 
Most of us recognize that not all individuals within the church are called to the same service or ministry. There are those, however, who are called to do the same ministry as others, but to accomplish their own ministry in different ways. As Paul explains, God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way (1 Cor 12:28-31).Believers have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name (Rom 1:5), and By [God the Father] whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:2). Paul further explained, So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness (Rom 12:5-8). Paul put it simply to the church in Ephesus:But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Eph 4:7).
 
Additionally, it is God's grace, movement, and operation which determines how our own salvation is worked out in our own lives, and this is certainly a great mystery. In his letter to the believers in Colossae, Paul referred to the mystery [of the gospel through faith in Christ] which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Col 1:26-28), and in our subject verses, immediately after Paul instructed the Philippian believers to work out their own salvation, he explained specifically how this occurs: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Php 2:13). Someone told Christ that His mother and brothers were near and wanting to see Him, And he answered and Christ said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the [gospel] word of God, and do it (Luke 8:21). The mother of Jesus knew about the importance of working out our own salvation in responsive obedience to the gospel and the will, words, and instructions of Christ. A wedding celebration was out of wine, and after asking her Son for help, she responded to the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5). The Christian walk, that is, working out our own salvation, letting Christ work in us, learning and then doing Christ's good pleasure and will in and through us, requires patience, and that patience brings perfection: My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4). Knowing and doing the will of His own heavenly Father was even difficult for God's own son. When Christ knew that His suffering, crucifixion, and death were imminent, Christ was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father,if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:41-44). The apostle James refers to our working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, including the result: Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word [of the gospel], which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word [that is, work out you own salvation with fear and trembling], and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. Butwhoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein [by working out his own salvation], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:21-25).
 
LOOK NOT AT THE THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN, BUT
AT THE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT SEEN
 
Living the gospel of Christ in our own lives, submitting to God the Father and His will and plan for our lives, that is, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing and doing God's will in our lives, will involve many things. One aspect of working out our own salvation is that we will encounter and experience suffering. Holy scriptures teach us, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (Rom 8:16-17), while Paul teaches that For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake (Php 1:29).
 
Living and walking a Christian life also involves wrestling, or struggling. Believers are instructed to Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle [struggle, resist, war against] not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:11-12).
 
Believers are also called to have faith, and keeping faith involves fighting. Paul instructed Timothy,Fight [fight, labor, strive] the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses (1 Tim 6:12), and instructed believers in Corinth, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:3-5).
 
Working out our own salvation often means making an effort. Paul instructs us to study [strive, make an effort, labor] to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing (1Thes 4:11-12), as well as Study [strive, make an effort, labor] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing [correctly understanding] the [gospel] word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). In the days of Christ, armour implied warfare. Encouraging them to conduct spiritual warfare against the devil, Paul wrote the Ephesian believers, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole [all, complete, whatsoever] armour [armour, instrument, weapon] of God, that ye may be able to [fight and] stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph 6:10-11).
 
Working out our own salvation, or, as scriptures also put it, running for the prize, also involves striving for mastery and crucifixion of the flesh. Referring to the efforts he had personally expended in preaching the gospel (1 Cor 9:16) of Christ, the apostle Paul wrote Corinthian believers, For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. 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. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (1 Cor 9:19-27). In continuing his letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul elaborated in detail the ways in which he worked out his own salvation: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things (2 Cor 6:4-10), ... in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches (2 Cor 11:23-28). Wow, according to God the Father's will and purpose for his life, Paul worked out a lot of salvation.
 
Working out our own salvation may require us to place our family, our loved ones, and even our own lives, last, and Jesus Christ first. Christ explained this cost to the multitudes:And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not [love less, place last] his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:25-33).
 
Working out our own salvation will also require us to give up our own lives. Christ told His disciples, For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mat 16:25-26), as well as, For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it (Mar 8:35).
 
Working out our own salvation will also involve completing and fulfilling our own callings and ministries and the workings of the gospel within us. The apostle Paul explained this about himself to the church in Colossae: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the [gospel] word of God (Col 1:25), while instructing the Colossian church to say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it (Col 4:17). Paul also instructed the church at Thessalonica: Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power (2 Thes 1:11). Peter also instructed fellow believers in Christ,Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence [make an effort, labor] to make your calling [invitation, bidding] and election [divine selection, to be chosen by God] sure [firm, steadfast, stable]: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall [err, fail, offend, stumble] (2 Peter 1:10).
 
In working out our own salvation, we must recognize and acknowledge that our journey with Christ will cost us everything, even our own lives. Paul explained to the Corinthians, What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Cor 6:19-20). Jesus taught, Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field(Mat 13:44), as well as, Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls (Mat 13:45) Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it (Mat 13:46). Paul teaches us, For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (2 Cor 5:14-15). The apostle Paul explained,Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Php 3:8). Believers, as Christ, are to become a ransom for many: whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant [as Christ was]: Even [specifically] as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mat 20:27-28). There is no getting around the simple and plain teaching of Christ: He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it (Mat 10:39).
 
Lastly, in working out our own salvation, we should be focused not on the natural, but on the spiritual. Paul explained to the believers in Corinth what our priority should be: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor 4:17-18), and to the believers in Colossae, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Col 3:1-3).
 
To the Colossian church, Paul explained that he had been made a minister , according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil [accomplish, execute, finish, fully live] the [gospel] word of God (Col 1:25). The apostle James understood the importance of working out our own salvation through humbly, obediently, and completely responding to the gospel of Chirst when he wrote the twelve tribes, be ye doers [through submission and effort, to execute and fully perform, act upon, live] of the word ]of the gospel], and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law [the gospel] of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer [performer] of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:22-25).
Christ succinctly summarized what our goepel priority should be when He said, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Mat 6:33). There are many other points that we might bring up to describe how we work out our own salvation, but we will not mention them here. However, you get the point.
 
HE WHICH HAS BEGUN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL PERFORM IT
 
The believers in Christ in Philippi were struggling in working out their own salvation, in submitting to the will of God by letting God have His way in their lives, and by living according to the requirements of the gospel of Christ. This is also a struggle for many contemporary believers in Christ, but we must try to remember that working out our own salvation is not easy, nor was it necessarily meant to be. Even Christ momentarily struggled with obedience to the Father's will. Facing suffering, pain, and death of His crucifixion, the Lord prayed, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22:42). However, Christ gives us the proper example: I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me (John 5:30), as well as, For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me (John 6:38).
 
Secondly, we must also remember that God is with us. As Paul said, What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us [and have victory over us]? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom 8:31-32).
 
At the beginning of his letter, Paul tried to build up the saints in Philippi by giving them some early encouragement and advice. Paul told them that he was confident of this very thing, that he [God the Father] which hath begun a good work in you will perform [accomplish, complete, fulfill, make perfect] it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even [specifically, particularly] as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God (Php 1:6-11). Paul clarified to the Philippian saints that God had begun a good work in them and that He would continue to work in them until the end of time, that their love of God and man may increase unto abundance, that they would behave in ways which were genuine and lacking in sin, and that they would lead righteous and holy lives resulting in consequences which are pleasing unto their Heavenly Father. This is rather good advice for all believers in Christ.
 
The apostle Paul was also subtly giving the Philippian church guidance and instruction [whether they realized it or nor], hoping that they would model his own faith and behavior. Paul wrote, I count [think, consider] all things but loss [detriment] for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung [refuse, something to be thrown to the dogs worthless], that I may win [gain] Christ, And be found in him,not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable [assimilate and render like] unto his death [figuratively, and literally, if necessary]; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead (Php 3:8-11). Through the example of his own personal life, Paul was teaching and encouraging the church to consider the gain of Christ more valuable that anything else in life, to realize that their faith in Christ was not based on his own righteousness in keeping the law but by the faith given to them by God, that it was essential that they know Christ and the power of his resurrection [that is, know the Holy Spirit who empowered and manifested the resurrection of Christ], that they might also willingly and eagerly suffer for the sake of Christ and the gospel, and that they willingly and eagerly live their life as Christ lived His.
 
In an effort to motivate the Philippian church to move on in their faith and the high calling of the gospel of Christ, the apostle Paul again used himself as an example, hoping that the Philippians would follow his lead: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect [spiritually and mentally complete, mature], be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you (Php 3:13-15).Paul later reminded the believers, For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Php 3:20-21). Paul wanted the believers in Christ in Philippi to forget their past, to strive for those things before them, to strive for the high calling of God the Father, to work out their own salvation, live in ways appropriate to the gospel of Christ, and to pursue their heavenly citizenship.
 
Paul also instructed the church to follow him, and to look upon, regard, and consider as an appropriate Christian example and model, those who walk as Paul walked (Php 3:17). To encourage them, Paul also expressed his deep love and support for the believers in Christ at Philippi when, in his letter to them, he described them as his brethren, his dearly beloved and longed for, his joy and crown, and lovingly exhorted them to stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved (Php 4:1). In order to further the gospel, Paul knew that it was also important that the Philippian believers support all servants and laborers in the gospel of Christ, including the heavenly Father's female servants. He wrote, I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life (Php 4:3). Paul specifically instructed the Philippians to press on toward their high calling: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing (Php 3:13-16).
 
Paul also desired that the church members at Philippi have peace, so he wrote them some instructions and guidance to help them in this regard: Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful [be anxious, dwell upon, worry about] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests [petitions for required things] be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Php 4:4-7). The believers were to rejoice always in the Lord, live in humility and moderation before all men, worry about nothing, seek God for the things they needed, and, as a result, they would have the peace of God.
 
In knowing the Philippian's need [and our need as well] for peace, and God's ability to provide, Paul concluded his letter to the believers in Philippi: Finally,brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you (Php 4:8-9), because But my God shall supply all your need [including working out our own salvation] according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Php 4:19).  AMEN.
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"Only let your conversation be
as it becometh
the gospel of
Christ: that whether
I come and see
you, or else be absent, I may
hear of your
affairs, that ye
stand fast
in one spirit, with
one mind striving
together for the
faith of
the gospel
(Php 1:27)




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