Working out our Salvation

I hear much talk of different isms: Calvinism, Arminianism, Methodism, Catholicism, Baptist(ism), New Evangelicalism, etc. Where does it all comes from? Our carnality. Even so, most “isms” of our day have strayed far from what Paul and Appollos was preaching. Sure there is much truth in some and less in others but; even in our current divisions, there are divers errors that divide us within our errors.

While we work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:11-13), we should consider the verse below. If this applies, there is yet much work to be done on a personal level. No one can work out their salvation on a corporate level, so it doesn’t really matter what your church organization believes. It can’t save you. Only the word of God living and working in you can do that.

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” (1 Corinthians 3:3-5).

If we are not working out our salvation with fear and trembling, I plead with you reader, please go back to the Bible and see what was missed . . . because something was.

“Trembling for fear lest you miscarry and come short. Be careful to do every thing in religion in the best manner, and fear lest under all your advantages you should so much as seem to come short . . . Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:1,11).

Here is an excerpt from Matthew Henry Commentary that explains this concept further.

I. He exhorts them to diligence and seriousness in the Christian course: Work out your own salvation. It is the salvation of our souls (1 Pet. 1:9), and our eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9), and contains deliverance from all the evils sin had brought upon us and exposed us to, and the possession of all good and whatsoever is necessary to our complete and final happiness. Observe, It concerns us above all things to secure the welfare of our souls: whatever becomes of other things, let us take care of our best interests. It is our own salvation, the salvation of our own souls. It is not for us to judge other people; we have enough to do to look to ourselves; and, though we must promote the common salvation (Jude 1:3) as much as we can, yet we must upon no account neglect our own. We are required to work out our salvation, katergazesthe. The word signifies working thoroughly at a thing, and taking true pains. Observe, We must be diligent in the use of all the means which conduce to our salvation. We must not only work at our salvation, by doing something now and then about it; but we must work out our salvation, by doing all that is to be done, and persevering therein to the end. Salvation is the great thing we should mind, and set our hearts upon; and we cannot attain salvation without the utmost care and diligence. He adds, With fear and trembling, that is, with great care and circumspection: “Trembling for fear lest you miscarry and come short. Be careful to do every thing in religion in the best manner, and fear lest under all your advantages you should so much as seem to come short,” Heb. 4:1. Fear is a great guard and preservative from evil.

Are you working out your salvation with fear and trembling? Or are you already confident? Think about that for a moment. Don’t seek guidance from others (or me for that matter) who will reinforce your confidence or current belief system. Who knows how much ism has already crept in. Rather, seek to understand the whole council of God unencumbered by preconceived bias. I am trying hard to do this and some of what I am coming up with is not popular even among my Christian brethren.

Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles spoke a great deal about why people should have fear and trembling, namely Hell. In the New Testament, the realities of Hell was primarily spoken to the religious, followers of Christ, believers, and those who perceived they were following after God. Hell was not spoken much to unbelievers. That reality in and of itself should cause us to ponder.

The Biblical concept of working out our salvation by implicit definition means; it is not yet complete.

6 thoughts on “Working out our Salvation

  1. I especially like the last thought-of our salvation not being ‘complete’. Yes, it is complete in the sacrifice of Christ, but we as individuals have an ongoing, life time of growing, or ‘working out our salvation’ in the knowledge of Christ. I don’t think that we as fragile humans ever arrive at that perfection in our Christian life until life ends for each of us, or Christ takes us away. How wonderful it is to grow in the knowledge of Christ!
    And I think that no organized religion, or ‘ism’, on this earth is perfect. Each is full of it’s own faults, because they are instituted by men-men who are such imperfect beings. I think the most we can hope to do is search out the ‘ism’ that best lines up with what we believe, and a-line with them. God ordains that we gather together for cooperate worship for many reasons.
    Yes, the working out of our salvation is a very personal matter that each must undertake-it is not for the lazy, who just want someone else to tell them how to believe and live-there are far too many people like
    No matter what church we identify with, we each should have our own , what we call-‘personal convictions’, given to us by God.
    By the way, and on a different matter-there is the tradition here of the hunters growing what we call their ‘buck beard’ . Aaron is well on the way (he puts his brothers to shame, much to their dismay!), Matt has started, Mike started, and then shaved due to itching! and you can join the tradition! (If you so desire!) The beards get shaved when the hunter gets his buck! As a result, we have a church full of bushy beards this time of year! I rather like it…LOL ( not laughing out loud, but lots of love)


    • This post was mainly a reaction to my recent experiences. Two weeks ago, we left the Baptist church that we spent 4 months in developing relationships. Sadly, it was necessary. The ‘ism’ problem was pretty bad there. Now that we are looking for a church again, I see it more, especially Calvinism, and get easily frustrated.

      Calvinism really gets to me. Why do so many follow a man who helped torture an opponent by using green wood to burn underneath him covering his head with sulfur so he would remain alive to suffer for 3 hours before dying? I read Calvin’s statements over the years after the event. He remained indignant and thought the death of Servetus was justified. He hoped similar fates awaited others who opposed his views.

      How can people follow after a man who most likely was cast into Hell? There is no evidence that he ever repented of his ways. On the contrary, there is plenty evidence that he didn’t. But we don’t really know. That is not the point anyway.

      Couple this with the experiences of being taught by pastors who, however sincere helped lead me deep into a place I am still having to pull myself out of.
      I know we need a good pastor and have found some good sources online like David Pawson and David Servant. They don’t replace a church and we are having a real hard time finding one that holds to holiness and values that are so important to us. Through perseverance, God will provide.

      Sorry my post reflects these frustrations. I did not mean to imply organized religion or denominations are bad. It is just that sometimes churches place their positions over or equal to scripture and things get distorted.

      As a freshly awakened disciple, I am acutely aware that many of my ideas about God and the Bible are in need of reevaluation, correction, and development. This will take time, but its worth cannot be measured.

      It is beautiful to be learning about God. At the same time it is humiliating to realize how poor our understanding is and how we do not know how to rightly love, stand, and walk as He walked. Thank God for His word: a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. So, please forgive me with this shortcoming. It is a hard thing to grow out of a well developed sinful nature unto a new spiritual nature.

      It will take the rest of my life to develop what Peter said,”but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

      I am looking forward to it though. It is a true blessing to realize how He loves us and wants us walk with Him so He can guide us, transform us, and reward us.

      Coincidentally, I started my buck beard last week! Time is ticking down fast! We found a sitter for our goats. So now we just need to set up automatic feeders and waterers for the birds.


  2. Hello!! When are you arriving? We need to get our clothes totes sorted before you come! We are anxiously awaiting your arrival! I am trying to get some sewing that I need done before you get here so I’ll have free time to sew for Megan!


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