For many, this phrase may set off loud alarms in one’s head. Are you speaking of earning your salvation through your works? Isn’t this taking away from the grace of God?
You may be surprised to hear that these words are firmly planted in God’s Word, as we learned from Pastor Todd’s sermon this week, “A Division of Labor” from Philippians 2:12-18. Christ’s call to follow him is a call to a life of growth. A study Bible commentator explains that this verse means: “work it out to the finish; not a reference to the attempt to earn one’s salvation by works, but to the expression of one’s salvation in spiritual growth and development. Salvation is not merely a gift received once for all; it expresses itself in an ongoing process in which the believer is strenuously involved (cf. Mt 24:13; 1Co 9:24-27; Heb 3:14, 6:9-11; 2Pe 1:5-8)—the process of perseverance, spiritual growth and maturation”.
This got me thinking about how we engage in such grace-filled growth. This can include many spiritual disciplines, including reading/studying God’s Word and prayer, but also solitude or silence (there is a Sunday School class on this right now!!), community, celebrating the Lord’s Supper, worship, confession, control of the tongue, simplicity and many others. The question is: In what ways are you actively engaging spiritual growth this week? If you aren’t, confess this to God and seek Him anew. Ask others for ideas, suggestions, or accountability.
And know that we are there for you: “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13; NIV)
- Brian Majerus