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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Thursday-Our Responsibility

 

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

 

Philippians 2:12,13

 

Every relationship has two sides. And each side has responsibilities for that relationship. For the relationship to last, to succeed, each side has work to do. Whether it’s marriage, friendship, or employer – employee, both sides have a part to play.

 

When it comes to our relationship with God, it’s the same. It starts with God. He’s the initiator. It’s God who began the whole thing. The first step was when he made us. But he didn’t make us like anything else in all creation. He made us in his image and likeness[1].

 

God didn’t make us because he was lonely or anything like that. He’s God, he has no needs. He’s completely self-sufficient within himself. He needs nothing else. He needs no one else.

 

But we were created for God[2]. Our first job was to work the garden and to take care of it[3]. We were made as his masterpiece[4]. Created for his purposes[5]. For him to share himself and his love[6].

 

And when we sinned in Adam, God didn’t just throw his hands up in the air. He didn’t pout, pick up his ball, and go home. He came after us in Christ. He made a way back to him. It wasn’t some three-point plan that we had to accomplish. No, he did all the work. He did all the heavy lifting. Jesus purchased our salvation[7]. Paul talks about salvation in three different ways that cover three different parts of our life.

 

  1. Justification: Made Right Through Christ. All our sins; past, present, and future are once-and-for-all paid for through Jesus’ death on the cross. Like a judge declaring that someone is innocent, God says for all time that all our guilt was put on Christ and he now sees us like he sees Jesus[8].

  2. Sanctification: Made like Christ. This is the ongoing process of becoming more and more like Jesus that takes place throughout this life. Because of who God is and his great gift of salvation, we want to please the one who loves us, loving him in return and wanting to be like him in all we do[9].

  3. Glorification: Made with Christ. From the moment we see Christ face to face in eternity, we will be made like him. There will be no more sin, suffering, or pain. We will be transformed once and for all through the complete and permanent restoration of our spirit, body, and mind[10].

 

When Paul ordered, yes ordered, the Philippians to keep working out their salvation, he wasn’t telling them to earn their salvation, their justification. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our restored relationship has already been taken care of. But we do have a response.

 

The command is to “work out” our salvation. This means that we are to be continually and actively responding to God and all he is. He’s our loving creator, savior, and sustainer. When we’re in love with who God is and all he’s done, then there’s nothing that we wouldn’t do for him.

 

Working out is more than a single thought or action. Working out means to continually move towards the goal. God wants us to be moving down the road to becoming more and more like Jesus[11]. Being like Jesus is his ultimate goal and conclusion to this life.

 

The process of working out our salvation is like playing checkers. You don’t just sit there in front of the board. You have to play. You have to make moves. There’s one beginning followed by playing for a long time. There are many moves. Sometimes you take a checker. Sometimes you lose one. There are rules that you have to follow.

 

But there’s a purpose of checkers. It’s more than just about the board, or even the pieces. The goal is to win the game. The ultimate conclusion is to take all your opponent’s pieces.

 

When you work out your salvation, you’re living life each and every day for God. You are purposefully making each and every move in this life for his glory. You live life in thankful and loving response to all he is and all he’s done. This isn’t a “let go and let God” kind of life. It’s a “take hold with God” with more than just resting. As we depend on God’s Holy Spirit, we say yes to God and no to sin. It’s our life with him. It’s our response to him. It’s our responsibility to him

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • Is responsibility a good thing or bad thing? Why?

  • How do you react when we’re told to work out our salvation? Why?

  • What effort and investment do we make in working out our salvation?


[1] Genesis 1:26

[2] Colossians 1:16

[3] Genesis 2:15

[4] Psalm 119:13-16

[5] Ephesians 2:10

[6] Genesis 3:8, John 3:16

[7] 1 Corinthians 6:20, Galatians 3:13,14

[8] Romans 3:21-26, 4:5-8, 2 Corinthians 5:21

[9] 2 Peter 3:18, Philippians 1:6, 1 Peter 1:15

[10] Colossians 3:4, 1 John 3:2

[11] Romans 8:29

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