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 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 never do anything for Christ. They sit on their hands and pray that God will do something great, but never get busy in the work of the Kingdom. While they will never lose their salvation, their lives will never demonstrate its fruits to the unsaved world. As a result, some people 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 salvation” with fear and trembling.

The Christian life is a battle, not a game. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder