Therefore is a transition word that means the writer has reached a conclusion and has a truth for us. Philippians 2:12-13 is one such passage. Paul had just finished describing Jesus, his role as Savior and Lord of Lords in verses 5-11 and reached a conclusion about Jesus’ effect on all our lives. “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.” Paul reminds the Philippian believers of their faithful obedience to Jesus, even when he was not there supervising them, and admonishes them to ‘work out their salvation with fear and trembling’.
Paul’s charge to ‘work out their salvation with fear and trembling’ would apply to us too. This phrase implies that we need to continue in faith regardless of the obstacles we face daily. We need to commit to growing in our faith, and strive to know more about God each day. We need to take that growth and then apply it to our faith with diligence and persistence. All this should be done without doubt or fear but because of our faith and reverence towards God. Scholars agree it does not mean any kind of ‘earning’ or working hard to create our salvation but rather living our faith in Jesus out in our daily lives. Paul refers to believers as new creations in Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” That new creation, a life filled with faith in Jesus, demands a new walk with Christ that causes us to live by His Word and be indwelt and transformed by His Holy Spirit. We did nothing to earn this transformation as it is God’s gift to us through faith but it needs to be cared for and nurtured as we grow in Him.
As Paul continues, I love what he says in verse 13. “ for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Paul knows that God is the one working within us to mold and shape us. God is doing the work. Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” God needs our commitment to Him, then He is the one doing the work within us. We trust and commit then God does the follow through! Paul also knew that what God intends or wills happens. Job 42:2 ““I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Finally, Paul adds that the things God does in our lives are for His good pleasure. This will always be good for us as promised in Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God’s plans are always for His glory and our good!
Increased joy for me, how about you?
- I am filled with joy that my growth in character pleases God and equals joy in my life.
- I am filled with joy that God is at work within me with purpose and goodness.
- I am filled with joy knowing that God keeps His promises!
Have a blessed and joy filled day!