The Hard Work of Salvation

Salvation is a gift of hard work.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for Hisgood pleasure.

  - Philippians 2.12, 13

Therefore let us seek above all to root out the vices and plant the virtues; let us root out pride and sow humility, let us pluck up wrath and lay down patience, let us prune envy and plant good-will.
  - Columbanus, Sermon II, Irish, 7th century[1]

Salvation is hard work. Not to gain it, but to enjoy it.

In redeeming us freely by His grace, God loaded our souls with the abundant joys and blessings of His Word and Spirit.

Precious and very great promises are ours to enjoy, so that righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit can increasingly be ours, and we may partake of the divine being (2 Pet. 1.4).

God’s Spirit dwells within us, and He is able to do exceeding abundantly more than all we could ever ask or think (Eph. 3.20).

We should expect to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in His power for witness and spiritual fruitfulness (2 Pet. 3.18; Acts 1.8; Jn. 15.8-11).

But this great boon doesn’t come easily. We have to work at it, through study, prayer, repentance, and walking in the path of holiness marked out by the Law of God. We must give ourselves to the hard work of rooting out, plucking up, and pruning, as well as of sowing and laying down with patience, and planting.

The law of sin within us will try to keep us from succeeding. So will the devil and his minions and all the temptations and trials the world can throw at us day by day.

But the true believer will persevere; he or she will work hard to unpack the gift of salvation and be clothed with the glory of Christ.

Enjoying the full benefits of our salvation comes neither naturally or easily. We have to work it out.

God will transform us by His grace, for His Spirit is at work within us to will and do for His pleasure.

But we must put our hands on the plough and walk the hard rows of sanctification. If we do, and if we persevere, abundant blessing will be increasingly ours.

But no fruit of full and abundant life awaits those who will not work out their salvation in fear and trembling. If we are complacent, lazy, or indifferent to growing in the Lord, then not only will we never know the full joys of our salvation, we may discover (may it not be too late) that we have no salvation at all.

Are you working out your salvation, or resting on it?

Psalm 34.8, 9, 12-14 (Alleluia [Lowe]: “Mighty God, While Angels Bless You”)
Taste and see how good is Jesus; blessed are all who in Him hide.
None shall lack for any blessing who in Christ will e’er confide.
   Magnify the Name of Jesus! Let us lift His Name in praise!

Who loves life?  Who longs for goodness?  Keep your tongue from evil ways.
Turn to good, from wicked wand’ring; peace pursue through all your days.
   Magnify the Name of Jesus! Let us lift His Name in praise!

Lord, give me grace to pray, study, and strive to obey in everything, so that I might grow in the grace of Your salvation.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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[1]Walker, p. 69.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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