(Philippians 2:12) “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” This is a verse that many false teachers use to justify changes in God’s plan of Salvation. They also use this to justify changes in the authorization of the things that we do. Do keep in mind that the Apostle Paul penned this letter by inspiration. This letter was written to the Church in Philippi. To work out your own salvation is not to change the word, but to work in the word. In working out our own salvation we will remain faithful in the work of the Lord unto death. We should do those things that will assure us a place in Heaven through the grace of God and your obedience to his will.
First and foremost in this study we must set in order God’s plan for salvation. Christ commanded that the Gospel be taught to all nations (Matthew 28:19). He said that after the Gospel had been preached they had to believe and be baptized (Mark 16:15-16). A great importance was placed upon the preaching of the word because without hearing the word no one could believe (Romans 10:14). Christ commanded repentance (Luke 13:3,5). The Apostle Peter preached repentance prior to baptism (Acts 2:38). Christ demanded confession that he was whom he was (Matthew 10:32-33). Confession is unto salvation (Romans 10:10). The final step for salvation, after hearing, believing, repenting, and confessing is baptism (Romans 6:3-5). We can see baptism as the final act in the conversion examples that we have in the book of Acts (Acts 2:22-47, 8:4-13, 8:26-39, 9:1-20, 22:6-16, 10:1-11:18, 16:13-15, 16:23-34, and 18:8). Christ said that if a person is not born again of water they shall not see the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:1-5). God’s plan for one to be saved is simple and true. One is taught the truth about Christ and the Kingdom (Church) (Acts 8:12). Then that person becomes part of the Church of Christ through obedience in baptism (I Corinthians 12:12-13). Remember that those that received Paul’s words were Christians and therefore had already been obedient to God’s plan of Salvation. The fact that they were Christians is evident in verse one when Paul refers to them as saints. (Philippians 1:1) “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.”
Does work out your own salvation mean that you can rewrite the rules? No it does not! The Old Testament gives us passages that say not to change the word (Deuteronomy 4:2 and Numbers 24:12-13). The New Testament also gives us passages that tell us not to add or take from God’s word (Galatians 1:8-9 and Revelation 22:18-19). Christ tells us that there is no expiration date on his words. (Matthew 24:35) “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” God said to hear his Son. (Matthew 17:5) “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Before Christ gave what is called “The Great Commission” he said that he has all authority in Heaven and Earth (Matthew 28:18-19). In a great passage found in II Timothy we are told that all scripture is inspired. (II Timothy 3:16-17) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The simple truth of the matter is that there are rules, they are God given, and they cannot or will not change. If the Gospel is changed and people follow those changes to please man, they simply cannot be the servants of Christ (Galatians 1:10). I love the words of the Apostle Paul when he proclaimed that what he taught was not of man but of Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12) “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
In closing this article I would like to point out the
fact that we are under a law that is not our own. We are under an
unchanging law. We have no authority to change the scriptures.
We must realize that the word is all-sufficient. I will close with
a summary verse from the inspired word of God. Do remember that if
you want to see Heaven you must follow God’s plan, but those choices are
yours as you work out your own salvation. (II Peter 1:3) “According
as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life
and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory
Copyright 2000 by Brian
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