(Warren E. Berkley)
12 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, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
Obedience to Jesus Christ must be a consistent, ongoing way of life. That you and I obeyed the Lord first in repentance and baptism, only means we started that way of life. It must continue, grow deeper and stronger, even when there is no audience. In our private lives, our thought life, our public image and in all our relationships – obedience to Jesus Christ must be our consistent manner of life (from the inside out). This activity of faith enables us to be involved in and recipients of “our own salvation” God provides through Jesus Christ. That this ongoing obedience is not grounds of merit is made clear: It is God who works in you.
Think of it like this: Our obedience to Jesus Christ gives God access into our lives to work for our present and eternal good, that which we could not do without Him.
Grumbling and disputing is not only immature and against the example and teaching of Christ. It interrupts this ongoing obedience, therefore works against not for “our own salvation.”
The aim in all this is to “be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
Part of this is, “holding fast to the word of life.” Obedience to Christ must be grounded in our knowledge of and use of “the word of life.”
“So that in the day of Christ,” Paul said, “I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise, you also should be glad and rejoice with me.”
Paul has his focus on the spiritual good of the Christians in Philippi. He is urging their ongoing obedience to Christ, without immature attitudes intruding … all of this in preparation for eternal good “in the day of Christ.” Paul makes it clear, this was his heart’s desire for his brothers and sisters in Christ.