November 15, 2023 – Wednesday
Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you 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; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 NET
12 So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, 13 for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort—for the sake of his good pleasure—is God.
First, an apology for the title of yesterday’s email, Yuesday Verse/s of the Day. My only excuse is that the Y and the T are next to each other on the keyboard. Why I did not notice this error, I have no idea. Now onto today’s verses.
My real goal today is to look at the term or phrase fear and trembling. Curious as to how many translations had fear and trembling, I went to biblegateway here and biblehub here. As expected, the overwhelming number of translations have fear and trembling. Tomorrow I will address the greater context of the two verses above.
Thus, let’s look at the two words fear and trembling. Fear is from the Greek phobos (where we get the word phobia) in Strong’s G5401 and the following is given, panic flight, fear, the causing of fear, terror. HELPS Word-studies found here provides a more nuanced definition, where phobos is defined as meaning withdrawal, fleeing because feeling inadequate (without sufficient resources), which makes sense to me as we are not adequate to the task of living out our salvation without the help of the Holy Spirit.
Now looking at trembling, from the Greek tromos, in Strong’s 5156 and the following is provided, a trembling, quaking, fear. From tremo; a ‘trembling’, i.e. Quaking with fear. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon provides an interesting addition found here, used to describe the anxiety of one who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfil his duty.
Now let’s look at how verse 12 begins with, Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, has a tie back to verse 8 where Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Then when Paul said, work out your own salvation, we know Paul did not mean to in some way work to earn your salvation. No, that would negate the gospel. Instead Paul wanted the Philippians (and us!) to put forth real efforts in living out their lives as Christians. Paul wanted the Philippians salvation to be evident in how they lived their lives. Letting others see how salvation impacted their lives.
Spurgeon wrote, These words, as they stand in the New Testament, contain no exhortation to all men, but are directed to the people of God. They are not intended as an exhortation to the unconverted; they are, as we find them in the epistle, beyond all question addressed to those who are already saved through a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. How we live is the living faith Spurgeon mentions.
Bottom Line: If we are indeed Christians, how are we living out our salvation? Calling on the Holy Spirit for help? Using the Bible for help? Attending church with brothers and sisters to help us? Best is all the above.
Prayer: Almighty God, Help me, guide me to live out my salvation bringing You glory for all the blessings You have brought my way. Thank You. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Still writing and working for the Glory of God