Fear and Trembling

Just some late-night thoughts:

As I was just preparing for tomorrow’s class, I ran into this verse from Philippians: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).  It struck me just now because this came up in my small group tonight, and it was the subject of our devotional in class this morning. Now, I’m not the brightest crayon in the box, but I know what it means when God places a verse in front of a person three times in one day. Pay attention.

So what’s the point here? I asked myself. I’ve looked at these verses plenty of times, and heard all sorts of great stuff on them. What’s new tonight? And after a moment’s reflection, here’s where I was led:

1) Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, because God is nearer to you than your next breath. How sobering and amazing it is, that God is in every sense the closest, most present reality in my life right now, whether I acknowledge him or not. That causes me to fear.

2) Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work within you. God is holy, and yet he has condescended to dwell within me, and to work in me? I know my Old Testament well enough to know that that makes me holy- and holy things ought not to be used the way I use my body and mind. This makes me tremble.

3) You can work out your own salvation, because God is at work within you! I am a classic Romans 7 man, unable but for the grace of God to do anything good. And while I am not the man I ought to be, by the powerful working of God I am not the man I used to be! Hallelujah, God is doing marvelous things in my life! This makes me tremble too, though for different reasons.

Like a star in the glittering expanse of the cosmos (2:15), a light in the kingdom of light I shine, lit from within by the God who dwells in my and is even now at work in me to will in and to work for his good pleasure. So work out your own salvation with fear and with trembling- God is near.

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