05
Dec
08

test: work out your own salvation

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – JUSTONEMORE.info goes 7 days a week!

Before you read today’s entry, please make note of a major change we are introducing to the JUSTONEMORE blog.  Starting this weekend, Jonathan and I want to expand our blog to include weekend editions.  Each weekend will invite a guest blogger to write for us on Saturday and Sunday.

Jonathan made the suggestion a few weeks ago, and I like it.  That way you can enjoy JUSTONEMORE seven days a week.

Our inaugural blogger is Emanuel Neiconi.  Emanuel is a CrossPointer, who just recently became a U.S. citizen.  His story is an incredible one, and you will be inspired by both of his entries.  So click here during the weekend to read more.

**We now resume our regularly scheduled blog.**

The topic of working out your salvation is a fascinating one.  If you cannot tell by my response, I am having a ball discussing how to work out your own salvation.  I am enjoying it because the more we study it, the more we learn.

Let’s read our text one more time:

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:12-13

Today, I want to dwell on the last phrase:

…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

One of the simplest ways to understand a verse is to break it down into pieces, like this:

For
For it
For it is
For it is God
For it is God who
For it is God who works
For it is God who works in
For it is God who works in you
For it is God who works in you, both
For it is God who works in you, both to
For it is God who works in you, both to will
For it is God who works in you, both to will and
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure

Reading the sentence one word at a time enables me to make two obvious observations.

1.    Salvation is the work of God.

The first observation is that salvation is the work of God.  Salvation is God’s idea.  It is God who works is us to save us.  Salvation is God’s work.  Salvation is God’s job.  If someone is saved, it is because God saved them.

2.    Salvation is the work of God for his good pleasure.

The second observation is that salvation is the work of God for his good pleasure.  Yes, salvation means we are delivered from our sins.  Yes, salvation leads to our sanctification.  But the bigger picture is that salvation is a matter of God’s good pleasure.  God saves to satisfy Himself.  God saves for His good pleasure.

To underwrite the truth that salvation is the work of God for His good pleasure we must return to a similar sentence in chapter one of Philippians:

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

One more time, for emphasis: salvation is the work of God, and God does this work for His good pleasure.

Only God saves, and God saves for His good pleasure.

That is why Jonah prayed, “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).  Salvation is all of God.

And, that is also why the Apostle Paul declared, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Once someone gets it that only God saves and He saves for His good pleasure, then to work out your own salvation has deeper meaning.

Does that make sense?

If so, for those who are saved, I want us to take time literally to work out our own salvation this weekend.

Provided is a test.  This is a simple test.  The instructions are easy.  By taking this test you will learn more about what it means to be saved.  More importantly you will learn what it means to work out your own salvation.

Write each of these three questions on a single piece of paper – one question per page.  Then, throughout the weekend, work through your answer for each question.  Then, when we resume on Monday, let’s compare our answers.

One more hint, and we are done: use the Bible for your answers.

Here are our questions:

1.    How were you saved?
2.    Who saved you?
3.    Why were you saved?

Again, take time this weekend and work out your answer to the three aforementioned questions.  Also, remember to check back throughout the weekend to read from our inaugural guest blogger, Emanuel Neiconi.  I look forward to our discussion on Monday.

Grace always.

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3 Responses to “test: work out your own salvation”


  1. December 5, 2008 at 9:33 am

    This little discussion on salvation could not have come at a better time. Through all of it, I kept wanting to comment, but felt I needed to gather my thoughts first. Then, the other night, while watching the Christmas lights blink on our tree, sitting in silence, watching my beautiful wife, God really smacked me. I had been so negative this entire time. I kept thinking about what’s wrong with Christians in America (and nobody can deny this fact); I kept thinking about what’s wrong with the church in America (and nobody can deny this fact); I kept thinking about how we got the whole salvation deal wrong in the church (and nobody can deny this fact). It was at this point that God spoke to my heart and asked this question: “What about you?” Truth is, instead of focusing on what was wrong with me, with my salvation workout, with my passion, I kept feeding my negativity by concentrating on what’s wrong with everyone else. Sadly, I am busy. I am very busy. I am too busy. Too busy that the other night, a quote I’d heard said from the pulpit a few times, kept ringing in my head: “If you’re too busy for God, then you really are too busy!” Have I become too busy for God? This thought is very convicting and it took me a while to admit it and be transparent about it (blame Stacy for starting this trend hehe). If I had to be 100% honest, all the negative thoughts I’ve had about the church lately (“the” church, not our church) have caused my passion for Christ to diminish. I am resolving today to quit thinking so much about what’s wrong with Christianity today and focus more on what’s wrong with my heart. I am resolving today to quit thinking so much about what Christians need to do to change and focus more on what needs to change in me. I am resolving today to quit thinking so much about other people’s understanding of salvation and focus more on regaining the joy of my salvation. I am resolving today to do what I can to become more passionate about Christ. It is then, and only then, that (hopefully) someday I can look at someone and echo Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ.”
    It all starts with God. It is for God. It is for God’s pleasure. I want my life to please Him and nobody else. Thank you again Pastor Ryan for challenging us day in and day out.

  2. 2 Searching
    December 5, 2008 at 11:14 am

    It occurred to me recently as I was contemplating this topic to go back and remember my salvation…
    I remember the overpowering surge of emotion and remorse as I realized in such a real and intimate way how much God loved me and how sinful I really was (and still am). I recall feeling something I had never felt before and was later able to identify it as contrition before a holy God. I remember how horrible I felt for several days and nights as I grappled with the motivation for everything I had done up to that point. I got a real jolt as I realized how completely selfish I had been all my young life. It was a sobering time in the life a young man who had grown up in church.
    And then…I got my arms around the concept of his forgiveness. It was the most liberating moment of my life to that point and since. It is difficult to describe, with any justice, the incredible confidence and feeling of security that came with the understanding of the presence of Jesus in my heart and Holy Spirit to teach me and comfort me, guide me and counsel me, to strengthen and encourage me and to work in me the transformation of salvation. Then as more time passed and I began to deepen my understanding of the true character and vastness of God there came and unquenchable desire to know and understand more and more of this incredible Creator.
    Thanks, Ryan, for instigating for me a reflection and regeneration of sorts!
    Peace and blessings!

  3. December 5, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Hooray for weekend edition! That’ll be great. I love the emphasis of personal testimony at Crosspoint and on this blog. Who can argue with the personal power of God in an individual? We can tell people how to live but how awesome and powerful it is when God shows them. We’re each so unique it is humbling and comforting to hear what God has done and is doing. God bless you, Emmanuel and Ryan. Looking forward to the testimonies.
    Searching, tear-stained pages in Psalms comes to mind for me with your mention of ‘horrible feeling’. I echo that. Our previous church provided tissue boxes (a few per row of seats). I was thankful for those as I never knew when the Holy Spirit would convict me to tears over my sin.

    “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” Great quote pastor Ryan on your bio. “God’s good pleasure…”…Thank you, Jesus!


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