Today’s Scripture: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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. Philippians 2:12

Many Christians have stumbled over the meaning of Philippians 2:12. On the surface, it seems to indicate that we have to work our way to Heaven.

What does it mean to “work out our own salvation?” Paul is telling the Philippians that they have been given salvation as a gift from God—now it is time to work it out—to serve God faithfully in appreciation for what He has given them.

There are many believers who have accepted God’s gift of salvation, but they never do anything for Christ. They sit on their hands and pray that God will do something great, but they never get busy in the work of the Kingdom. While they will never lose their salvation, the unsaved world will never see its fruits worked out in their lives. As a result, they may never come to Christ.

That’s why Paul uses the terms, “fear and trembling.” That doesn’t mean we are cowering in fright before God. It means we take our calling seriously. The Christian life is not a game, but a serious battle and the souls of men are at stake.

Ask the Lord today to help you take this battle seriously. Then get busy “working out your own salvation” with fear and trembling.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder