He Is At Work

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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 His good pleasure. ~Philippians 2:12-13

Paul exhorts the church in Philippi to continue in obedience, even when he’s not there to “watch out” for them. As their spiritual father he feels the need to be ever watchful of their conduct. But also, knowing he must allow them to walk the path set before them, with the Spirit being their guide, he exhorts them to work out their salvation.  How? With fear and trembling.

What?? Fear? And trembling?

Yes.  Fear.  The word for phobias…phobos. It literally means with dread and terror. So much of the time we like to put the word “reverence” in place of the word fear, hoping, I believe, not to sound so “fire and brimstone.” However, in this case we must keep the word as it is meant to be.  Fear of our God…”the consuming fire”…the Lion of Judah who is able to crush our bones…the LORD whose longsuffering can be spent…the Rock who will crush civilization at the end of days.  Yes…we need to fully understand His character.

And trembling.   In case you didn’t catch the word fear, Paul adds another word to make his point…trembling:

1) a trembling or quaking with fear
2) with fear and trembling, used to describe the anxiety of one who
distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but
religiously does his utmost to fulfil his duty

It’s the second meaning which is used in this passage. 

One who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfill his duty.

Not trusting in my own ability, yet, working to fulfill my duty. 

My duty to whom? 

To Him who is able to make my paths straight. 
To Him who keeps diligent watch over my soul. 
To Him who desires my best good for His glory. 
To Him who set me apart as His own possession. 

I am not my own.  I’ve been bought with a price.  The price?  His shed blood on the cross to cover my sins.

And yet, the good news…not that I am to strive to make it to heaven…not that I work for my salvation.  Salvation is a gift given to me through faith in Him.

Do you see the next part of the verse?  He is the one doing the work.

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

He doesn’t leave us to strive on our own, hoping to accomplish all He’s asked of us. No. He is the one who will do the work in us, to bring us to a complete end. He will do all He has set forth to accomplish…why? Because it brings Him pleasure to do this work in us.

It brings Him delight to see His bride dressed in glory.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:6

Yes, I have a work to do, but I do not need to be concerned of the outcome. Why? Because He is faithful and will make me to stand in His presence, blameless and with great joy!

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to make you stand in the presence of His glory
Blameless with great joy,
To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Be glory, majesty, dominion and authority,
Before all time and now and forever.
Amen.

~Jude 1:25

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9 responses »

  1. “To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling …”

    That passage is such a great comfort to me. Such … great love in that passage. He is so beautiful.

  2. It is for me too, Sparkle. He is good to bring us to the Promised Land. 😉 (Thank you for the prayer…very much!)

  3. if i may put another ‘persective’ forward on that line, that we might all more fully ‘understand’ so as to help prevent ‘error’…?

    The verse reads: ‘Him who is ABLE to keep you…’

    it does NOT say He who WILL ALWAYS keep you…’

    while He IS able to, there are always TWO ‘forces’ at work in us.
    Him who operates through us in proportion to our ability to do His Will OVER our own will.

    He is able to keep us from stumbling – yet how many times do we still stumble? How can this be possible if He keeps us from stumbling always?

    How many ‘men of God’ have we seen ‘fall’ and stumble in their walk with God – sometimes to their extreme and irredeemable cost?

    We are not to ever be so full of ‘ourselves’ that we feel we are ‘saved’ forever and are incapable of falilng away from Him.

    We might have sufficient pride to believe that our sins could never be of the kind of magnitude that would cause us to be ‘rejected’ of Him – and many may be right – but many also will be wrong and will suffer eternal damnation through being unable to follow God but will ‘choose’ our own love of self over our love of Him – Just as His Brightest Angel Lucifer was able to do – it can happen even to ‘the best’ of His Creations.

    Let us be aware that we can and do stumble in our walk, even as he watches over us.

    By reason of our human free-will that so few ever fully overcome.

    He is Able to do His work through us – but we are so very hard hearted and perverse minded when it comes to following the Will of Our Father.

    in some cases our will and not His is what wins the individual life’s ‘battle’.

    and many of those cases did not believe they would ever do so because of THEIR understanding of verses like: He is able to keep us from stumbling.

    <B

  4. I agree, Love. He is able, but we have a work to do also. That’s why I love the verse with which I began the post. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling…AND He will work in us! The balance is there.

    I don’t believe free will is ever negated. We are held responsible for our actions, AND He will help us. No temptation has come to man that a way of escape is not given. Do we choose the way of escape? Not always, and in those times we stumble.

    But it also says: He will make us stand in the presence of His glory…blameless and with great joy.

    He is faithful to complete the work He started. That gives me great joy! Because I know how much I stumble, in my own strength, I am abundantly grateful that He hasn’t given up on me and promises to bring me to completion.

    Praise Him!

  5. Hi Michelle 🙂 I always notice a pattern when I stumble, it is the simple fact that I have taken my eyes off of Him and gone forward, (or backward) without Him. He IS able to keep us from stumbling, and will do so every time we seek Him first. I too am SO thankful that He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in us. We don’t have to walk in the muck…

    I want to walk on water, and know that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me….

    Praying for you! 🙂

  6. Thank you for the prayers, Debs! I need them. We all do…can’t do any of it on our own.

    So you’re home safe now? I hope you get some rest from your vacation. 😉

    Love you!

  7. “One who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfill his duty.”

    I love the point you make here Michelle because our christianity should be relationship with God but also discipline. And we should diligently strive to be everything that Jesus was. But I love the definition because I know I am completely unable to meet the requirements but with willing hearts seeking after Him, He keeps us from falling.

    And I love the promise of the last verse:)

  8. Hey, Rain! I’m not sure how I missed this at the time…

    “But I love the definition because I know I am completely unable to meet the requirements but with willing hearts seeking after Him, He keeps us from falling.”

    This brings me hope. He knows my heart. He understands my thoughts from afar. He sees every nook and cranny and desires to make every bit beautiful. No matter what anyone else sees…He sees…He knows if I’m seeking His will and He keeps taking me down the path to bring Him glory.

    He is the One who is able to make us stand.

    You’re good for me, Rain. Thanks for continuing to write Truth.

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