To the church in Philippi, Paul wrote, “… work out your own salvation…” (Phil. 2:12). Furthermore, Paul wrote that we are to be ready for every good work and be careful to maintain them (Tit 2:3:1-8). Why the need to be careful? Because though we were not saved by good works, we can lose our salvation if we do not produce them! So, how should we practice working out our own salvation?
First, develop Christ-like character. We do this by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:17-18). In 2 Peter 1:5-11, Peter defined what is involved. It demands developing “Christlike” qualities, the lack of which jeopardizes our entrance into the “everlasting kingdom of our Lord.” Therefore, the need for “diligence” on our part!
The reason for this challenge is the of putting off the old man and putting on the new, which certainly is not easy. In Colossians 3:1-17, Paul gave more details of what this involves. It involves setting our minds on things above, not on things of the earth. Put on the “new man,” which is according to the “image of Christ,” and developing “Christ-like” qualities, while allowing “God’s peace” to rule in our thankful hearts. Finally, let “Christ’s word” dwell in us richly and do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
By developing a Christ-like character, we will not only save ourselves, but also “those that hear us” (1 Tim. 4:16), because we are reflecting the glory of Christ that shines in our own hearts (2 Cor. 4:5-6).
Second, develop Christ-like service. We do this by fulfilling our function in the body of Christ (Rom. 12:1-8). We have a “reasonable service” to perform, which is to “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Yet, to do this effectively, we must maintain a proper spirit of humility and remember that the body has many members, but we do not all have the same function. Therefore, we must exercise whatever “gifts” we have.
First Peter 4:10-11 says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Each person has a gift, or ability, because God’s grace is “manifold” (multifaceted), and consequently, we should expect some diversity in our service. Additionally, everyone must be a “good steward,” because we will have to answer for what we do (Matt. 25:14-30). So, let us exercise our “gifts” to glorify God through Jesus Christ.