I remember once preaching about “take up your cross and follow me.” A guy had a problem with my message and said, “I don’t have to take up the cross, Jesus did that for me.”
This is a typical modern American “Christian” response. Even though evangelicals tend to be the most outraged by government programs they are taxed for that others take advantage of, they see Jesus as The Great Sugar Daddy in the sky. Suddenly not working and getting benefits anyway is OK when it comes to the Gospel.
An amazing thing happened to me while reading Philippians, I saw something for the first time! What makes it so amazing this time is that the thing I saw for the first time is something I wrote in my Bible!
How could I have written something and not seen it until now? I have no idea. I’m just as confused as you with this.
It had to do with Philippians 2:12,13, the verses that talk about us working out what Christ is working in us. Here’s what I wrote in my Bible at some point that I don’t remember “Two words for ‘work’ are different words.”
Philippians 2:13, “God which worketh in you both to will and to do,” is the common word for work, energeo, from which we get our word “energy.” The sense of the verse according to Vine’s, is that God is at work in us, present tense, giving the idea “to display one’s activity.” God’s active energy is displayed through us.
That’s cool. Here’s where the head explodes though. In verse 12, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” is a different word. Often people let verse 13 cancel out human obligation in verse 12, but this is not Paul’s point as the word he uses for “work out” fascinatingly demonstrates!
Here is the definition of “work out” from Strong’s: “to finish, accomplish, work out fully.” It’s not the energy behind the work but the completion of the work.
Now, hold on buddy! We all know Christ finished my salvation, so just back off! He said ‘It is finished,’ remember?
He did say “It is finished,” but it has nothing to do with the finishing of your salvation. Allow Vines’ to again enlighten us on what this verse is saying:
“There is a saving work which God only can do for you; but there is also a work which you must do for yourselves. The work of your salvation is not completed in God’s work in you. God’s work must be carried out by yourselves. “Whatever rest is provided by Christianity for the children of God, it is certainly never contemplated that it should supersede personal effort. And any rest which ministers to indifference is immoral and unreal – it makes parasites and not men. Just because God worketh in him, as the evidence and triumph of it, the true child of God works out his own salvation – works it out having really received it – not as a light thing, a superfluous labor, but with fear and trembling as a reasonable and indispensable service”
OK, clean up the brain goo on your computer! I love God’s Word! Mostly because it says much better things than most people come up with. Anytime you are receiving a teaching that tells you you’re not responsible, you know you are hearing a doctrine from the heart of man’s deceitful heart.