Toward Salvation with Fear and Trembling

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, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. –Philippians 2:12–13

Why did Paul make use of the emotional expression like fear and trembling? In other words, we can ask why working out our salvation must make us fearful and trembled. The question may be answered when we meet Jesus Christ. We can imagine the Lord’s miracle shown for Simon (Luke 5:2-11). When Simon caught tremendously many fishes enough for the ship to be sunk, he was fearful rather than joyful. He confessed his sinful life in the front of Lord. This episode shows us that salvation starts with repentance and with realizing “Jesus Christ, the son of God is with us.” When we forget God in us, we commit sins without fear. When we vividly realize God in us, we become fearful about God. However, the fear and trembling is not negative, but positive for our progress toward salvation since it is a sign that we are connected with God’s work.

Jon Bloom said in his article, “God-given faith is demonstrated by their God-dependent works. Faith works through love.” Indeed, the salvation is not just one-time event of regeneration but also ceaseless process during our lives. Our faith should be naturally shown in our lives as a testimony. To achieve it, we should ceaselessly work out salvation with fear and trembling as Paul said.


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