Monday, June 05, 2006

God Working in Us Unto Obedience - Hoekstra

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Phi_2:12-13)

We have been considering from various perspectives the great truth that God wants us to grow in obedience to His will. The lordship of Jesus makes disobedience unacceptable. "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say? " (Luk_6:46). Also, our Lord taught His early disciples to be instructing all future disciples concerning obedience: "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Mat_28:20). Our present passage offers profound insight on this matter by describing God working in us unto obedience. "It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

This subject is introduced by a call to "work out your own salvation." Notice, we are not called to work for our salvation. Salvation is a gift of God's grace, freely received by faith. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph_2:8-9). Still, this gift of salvation that God has placed within us by His grace is to be worked out (developed outwardly) unto an obedient life, a life that fulfills "His good pleasure."

This calling is to be approached in "fear and trembling." Initially, our temptation may be to approach this request with unabashed self-confidence. Eventually, we begin to understand that we must respond in "fear" [a reverential awe] and "trembling" (a profound sense of inadequacy). The next phrase explains why we are to engage this responsibility with such unusual attitudes: "for it is God who works in you." If the salvation that God has placed in our inner man is to ever become a visible walk that pleases Him, it will always be a result of us allowing Him to do an ongoing work deep within us. "I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts . . . you are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart" (Jer_31:33 and 2Co_3:3). This is the wonder of true Christian living. It is based upon God working within our hearts.

-Bob Hoekstra-

1 Comments:

At Monday, June 05, 2006 4:54:00 PM, Blogger Johnnie Burgess Jr said...

Great post. I posted on my blog a section from Anthony Burgess's 'Spiritual Refining'.

 

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