You cannot walk out of a building into which you never entered. You cannot pour water out of a bottle unless there is water in that bottle. This fact we must bear in mind when we read these words of Paul in Philippians 2:12 : "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Here Paul is not telling us to save ourselves from our sins. He is not exhorting us to realize our salvation. No, he had just told us that Christ realized our salvation by His cross, resurrection, and ascension to lordship over all creation. Working out our own salvation means that we already have that salvation in us. It means that we show and reveal by our walk of life (a walk that is free from murmurings and disputings, is blameless and harmless) that God has begun the work of salvation in us.
Indeed this is not going to be easy. We have a sinful flesh that does not even want this salvation. That is why Paul tells us to work out that salvation. It will be a hard work and not an easy matter. Paul tells us to be of one mind, to seek each other's well-being, and to walk in love with each other. That is not easy, because of that sinful nature which we still have in this life. For we have only a small beginning of that new obedience. Yes, it is only a beginning. The full salvation we will not have until our bodies are resurrected (glorified and sinless) in the day when Christ returns to realize the kingdom of heaven here on this earth.
Let us keep that admonition before us. Let our new life, implanted in us by God's grace, be revealed by putting down, fighting vigorously against that old man of sin who is still in us. Let us manifest Christ as our Lord. Let it be seen that He rules us by His Spirit, and that we love Him. Let the love of God move us in all we say and do.
Do not sit back and let the old man of sin rule your life. Work, and work hard, to manifest that new life of love to God. Let it come out to all around you that you are a believing, redeemed child of God.
Read: Revelation 2:1-17 .
Through the Bible in One Year
2 Thessalonians 3:1-18
Quote for Reflection:
"…To show that neither His covenant nor Himself had changed, God had His apostle proclaim in the first sermon preached to the church of the New Testament: "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Infant baptism is based on this truth of the covenant. Because our children are included by God in His covenant, God demands that we rear them in His fear." – David J. Engelsma