Philippians 2:12-16 – 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
The twisted roots of a sycamore tree along the bank of Caesar Creek. Caesar Creek Gorge State Nature Preserve, Oregonia, Ohio.
In today’s passage Paul is writing to encourage the church in Philippi, who it seems were living “in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.” Every generation since the fall of mankind in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3) has lived with its share of problems and corruption, and we certainly have no shortage of either in our times.
Paul’s advice is just as relevant to today’s generation of Christians as it was to the Philippian church nearly two thousand years ago. First, we are told to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling.” This is certainly not a call to works righteousness, because we are quickly reminded that “it is God who works in [us], both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Even though our salvation is through faith in Christ alone, by God’s grace, this passage does remind us that our faith is active, not passive. We cannot just sit on the sidelines.
We are also told to “do all things without grumbling or disputing” so that we “may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish.” If we can do these things that Paul instructs, and hold “fast to the word of life,” that is cling to the promise of the gospel of Christ, then we will “shine as lights in the world,” “in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.” And, as Jesus, himself tells us in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts
© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2014.