There are times when the Lord seems to poke and prod at the things we believe to be true. He is able to bring all to the surface to test and see whether or not we truly do believe it, yes more so whether or not we apply it, and even beyond this: do we love it? Does the certain truth of God’s Word strengthen our faith? Or is it a part of His word that we hold at bay, not truly examining it and seeking in it what precious truths there might be for us? God, I have found, is so gracious to bring to our attention our wrong thinking about Him, about others, and about ourselves. Because He loves us, it is His good pleasure to sanctify us by His word as stated in Christ’s own prayer “Sanctify them in your truth; your word is truth (John 17:17).” For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29).”
Philippians 2:12 says to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” If I were to isolate this text I think that I would despair in my soul, and that my mind would trip over these words as if falling down a flight of stairs. Because I know that in and of myself “nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out (Romans 7:18).” Indeed, not only do I desire to do what is right, but to think and to feel what is right. Yet even in these attempts I know that in and of myself I will always miss the mark. The natural man in particular, is bound to false thoughts about the nature and character of God. He is deluded in mind, loving falsehood, and perusing evil as though it were treasure. Though, as a child of God, I have been set free from the power of sin and death, I know still that if ever I laboured to work out my own salvation by sheer will and my own understanding, than all of my efforts would tear me apart; My own strength would run dry before executing one good deed and surely the strain of trying to live a godly life by my own feeble and floundering desires would paralyze me.
But thanks be to God that this is not all that the text says! There is great and glorious strength and comfort in the very next verse: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Does this not bring fear, trembling, and awe to the Christian, in an exceedingly better way than it would for us to have to work out our own salvation by our own desires and efforts? To think that it is God, living in us and working in us, not only to cause us to carry out deeds that bring Him pleasure, but also to grant us the will and desire to do His works! What a truly awesome God we serve! For this I am exceedingly thankful, because He has not saved me and left me alone to hold on to my own salvation and to simply sanctify myself. No He has saved me; He has “sealed me with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)” and though at times my feet and my heart and my thinking go astray, “He who began a good work in (me) will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).” “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (1Thessalonians 5:23-24).”
My faithful Lord, I will strive, “struggling with all (your) energy that (you) powerfully work within me (Colossians 1:29)” to become more like you. There is nothing I could do by myself to save myself, or to keep myself, or to carry my own faith to completion. You who called me are faithful, and surely you will do it.
So see, we obediently live out our faith but at the forefront of it all is God’s miraculous power- God who has wrought Himself in the heart of man. All Glory be unto His name forever and ever, amen.
All of this is not even what I set out to write. I set out to write about the wrong thinking that God has been working to correct in me. But as I dwell upon this, my gratitude towards Him overflows and I am so glad to have a friend as faithful as Jesus.
Check back- I will write what I inteded to write soon.