Monthly Archives: June 2015

Work out you salvation with fear and trembling

Php 2:12 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.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Why is it that we have to work out our salvation with the mindset of fear and trembling? A scripture in Hebrews shows this to be also true with the author of our salvation, the head of the body of Christ, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 5:7-10 KJVS
[7] Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; [8] Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; [9] And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; [10] Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Obedience is not a easy trait to acquire due to the vanity of the flesh we were subjected to, Ro 8:20. In a previous article I mentioned Psalm 82, wherein the sons of God in the past had a judgement placed on them because they did not rule with the fruit of righteousness. Probably due to the fact that these fruits were never fully grown in them.

Hebrews 12:6-8 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [7] If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? [8] But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
[11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Philippians 3:9 KJVS
[9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

There is little chance of a person growing in maturity without being taught, disciplined and chastised for their wrong behavior and immaturity, Titus 2:11-12, 1Co 11:31-32. That is readily apparent in the real world, where you see many a little child in public, who are acting out and making a fuss in order to get what they want. Little children with immature and selfish egos that are intent on self gratification. Petulant, sulking and angry children that need correction. Now, many adults are not all that more mature, just a little better at hiding their true natures. Those of us in the body of Christ are facing God’s judgement as they live because they are dead in Christ, Gal 2:20! He 9:27, 1 Pe 4:17, He 3:6. One set of scriptures that show this judgement by God are in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 11:29-32 KJVS
[29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. [30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. [31] For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. [32] But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Primary definition from The Strong’s Concordance for the word “condemned” In verse 32.
Definition
1. to give judgment against, to judge worthy of punishment

For a more detailed explanation see this article. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=182 So you can see judgement is corrective and aimed towards character development in the individuals being judged. It is wise to understand the consequences involved with sinning against the law of Christ, and put away inconsiderate behavior towards other members of the body of Christ. Peter lists some of this childish behavior and exhorts us to start to grow in the godly character and maturity that will be necessary in the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 2:1-2 KJVS
[1] Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, [2] As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Reading the Word is essential for the maturation process. About 12 years ago I started reading the word daily. I have a spinal cord injury and due to pain, around noon everyday and again later at four in the afternoon, I lie down for 30-40 minutes. It helps with the pain and weakness associated with the nerve damage that I live with. I had and still have a couple of vest pocket New Testaments. I can’t lie on my back as that makes the pain worse. So I lie on my side. I had a corpectomy and a four level fusion C-4 to C-8 in 1998. I am only suppose to lift ten pounds with either hand. So it is easier on my neck holding the small vest pocket bible than a full size bible while in bed. I am a fast reader and it was not unusual to read a couple epistles a day. Reading mind you, not understanding. I had a rotation of sorts which I followed and now know the New Testament well. I am 64 years old and have lived with a spinal cord injury for 31 years. Every year it gets harder and harder for me to live on my own. I am also a woodworker, although I have not built anything in the last couple years due to pain and increased weakness. I usually make Shaker or Mission style furniture using traditional joinery techniques. The trouble I had with scripture, was fitting all the verses together and arriving at comprehensive whole. The woodworker in me kept trying to assemble verses by words and concepts. It took a long time for the Holy Spirit to teach me the word, 1 Co 2:13, largely due to the indoctrination of the religious institution I grew up in. It is important to ask for for wisdom and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then believe what the Spirit of truth is teaching you. Great familiarity with the word is important and I now have a ten inch iPad with a bible app with The Strong’s Concordance embedded into the bible app. I write most my articles on it now, lying in bed or sitting in front of a small table using the iPad. Typing with a stylus due to nerve damage in my left hand. I have found there is more pain sitting at the computer than using the iPad. I have fallen hard a couple times in the last month. On concrete both times. If you think of it, say a prayer for me. The reason I bring it up is I am starting to really identify with working out my salvation with fear and trembling. We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. But being a member of the “me generation”, like the spoiled children I mentioned before, At first I wanted instant gratification. Wanted to be able to call fire out of the sky, Lk 5:54-56, so to speak. A individual is rarely capable to objectively judge their own spiritual maturity, for good reason.

Jeremiah 17:9 KJVS
[9] The heart is deceitful above all things , and desperately wicked: who can know it?

The Strong’s primary definition for the Hebrew word translated into the English word “wicked”.

Definition
to be weak, sick, frail

Well that certainly hits the mark with me, plus couple the above verse with what James wrote.

James 1:23-25 KJVS
[23] For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: [24] For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. [25] But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein , he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

This working out your salvation with fear and trembling, encompasses so much it is hard to confine it in one or more posts. But now that I think about it, it is what this web site is all about. Salvation is the process of God purifying our hearts by faith and being sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, Acts 15:9, He 10:10. Which is a painful process in itself that involves affliction and suffering, Isa 48:10, 1Pe 4:1-2. So this whole salvation process is ultimately learning to be obedient to the will of God and the law of Christ. But this obedience is not brought about by the will of the flesh of a man but by God, Jn 1:13. If you examine the fruit of the Spirit they are positive expression of the heart. Hurting the feelings of, or causing other members of the body of Christ to stumble, is more grievous to God than the offenses of the holiness standards of many churches. Taste not, touch not, handle not rules and bylaws, are often the work of man, Col 2:21-23. Abstaining from something does nothing towards curbing or eliminating natural desires and lusts of the flesh for the things of this world. Only through the Holy Spirit mortifying the deeds of the flesh, can we crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, Ro 8:13, Gal 5:24. We are cautioned to use meekness and fear when trying to restore someone who is overtaken in a fault, Ga 6:1. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit and one can learn much by examining the verses where that word is used in the NT. Human nature being what it is, a person should examine their heart very carefully and see what is the motivating reasons behind attempting to restore someone who is overtaken by a fault. God certainly does. If your heart is not motivated by the fruit of the Spirit, you might do well to leave the person alone. I grew up in the country where it is common knowledge and common sense not to poke a hornets nest with a stick. Heavy handedness can hurt and cause a fellow member of the body of Christ to stumble and lose their way by provoking wrath and pride. The intriguing aspect of all of this, is that God intentionally subjected the creation to vanity, part of which is transient morality. When a man is separated from his mother’s womb and called by God’s grace, the inward man in us desires to do the good and be obedient to the law of God but the sin that dwells in him is constantly warring against his mind, Ro 7:19-24. This is the struggle I have found myself in for quite some time. The scriptures bear it true that external and inner conflict on, and in a man, leads to change in a man, when that change is being facilitated by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:3 states that natural man is too weak in the flesh to obey the law of God. So God sent His son as a sacrifice and offering for sin, to condemn sin in the flesh. But the sacrifice and offering for sin still has to be worked into the flesh of the members of the body of Christ, Ro 12:1, He 10:9-10. Remember that presenting of our bodies as a living sacrifice takes place at the altar outside the camp, He 13:10-13. Now at some point I came to realize that because of this fact, the flesh being too weak to observe the law, a person could hardly expect the Jews of the Old Testament to faithfully observe the law. Why? Because they were given the role of the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, Ro 9:22, who God used to show His wrath and make His power known in the earth. Obedience is motivated by several factors. Love, respect and fear. Fear of the consequences involved for not being obedient. But the fear of God chronicled in many episodes in the scriptures, is a fear with a good deal of awe and trembling involved due to the power and presence of a immensely powerful creator or His angels, He 12:18-21. Da 8:17&27. Read the book of Job. I have many times, trying to determine why Job had to suffer so. There is a couple verses that comes to mind from the book which shows the power of God and the effect it has on a man.

Job 42:5-6 KJVS
[5] I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. [6] Wherefore I abhor myself , and repent in dust and ashes.

In any Army, there is a chain of command and the Army in heaven is no different. You have to have a powerful leader in charge of a Army that commands respect, loyalty and obedience. To ensure that a thousand year Kingdom of God functions as God intends, there will be no place for ego, self interests and other aspects related to the flesh, otherwise it will be the same old same old of the last six thousand years. Everyone who rules and reigns with Christ, in the age to come will be dead to the flesh, obedient and will know their place in the scheme of things. Humility will need to be learned, 1 Pe 5:6, 1 Co 12:14-18, Phil 2:3. Another aspect apparent in Job and is also a recurrent theme throughout the NT, is that God is the determiner of a man’s righteousness, not man. As a General rule people do not like change in their lives, much preferring remanning in the status quo. Unless some form of conflict forces change, it likely does not happen on its own. So when you read the Ro 7:19-24 verses and see that same conflict that Paul describes within yourself, you can certainly identify with this dilemma, where the flesh is too weak to observe the law of God, Ro 8:3. But at the same time the inner man delights in the law of God, due to the indwelling Holy Spirit. I know the conflict in me is quite troubling at times and precipitates groanings in the Spirit, Ro 8:26, and causes me to come before the throne of grace in times of need, He 4:16. Given some thought, a person realizes that positive change can only come about through God using discipline and teaching from the scriptures and His Spirit. Using 20-20 hindsight, a good deal of the problem in the past for me, has been the focus on the Old Testament prosperity doctrine in many of today’s churches. If you give 10% to God he will bless you with ten fold or maybe even a hundred fold back in return. So you buy lottery tickets, pray and wait in misspent hope. What I did not understand until the last decade or so, is that in the New Testament, God blesses us with the blessings of Abraham.

Acts 3:25-26 KJVS
[25] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [26] Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Galatians 3:14 KJVS
[14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Strong’s definition of the Greek word translated into the English word iniquities in Acts 3:25.

Definition
depravity, iniquity, wickedness
malice
evil purposes and desires

We are blessed by God in the New Testament through the redemption process that is in Jesus Christ. Wherein the Holy Spirit working in our lives, turns us away from our depraved and wicked behavior. God scourges every son and daughter whom he receives and has very stringent code of behavior and fruit He expects and instills in His sons and daughters necessary for the coming of His Kingdom on earth.

Galatians 5:22-24 KJVS
[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. [24] And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.