Philippians 2:12-13. 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.
Sanctification 101: Position and Condition.
Our position: We are fully justified, forgiven, redeemed, regenerated, reconciled, adopted, and made new in Christ.
When you received Christ’s life, your position changed from guilty to innocent. Your standing before God moved from enemy to friend. The trajectory of your life was altered forever. You became the future new creation, now! All spiritual life and growth is founded upon our eternal, secure, position in Christ. Because our source (Jesus) is perfect, our position is perfect.
Position: YOU IN CHRIST.
Your position is unchanging.
Our condition: If our position is who we ARE, then our condition is what we DO. The problem is that we don’t very often live up to who we ARE in Christ. More often than not we fail to trust in our position in Christ. Therefore, we are left in the condition of doubting, fearful, lustful, greedy, anger, bitter, proud, and self-righteous.
Condition: CHRIST FORMED IN YOU
Your condition is slowly and constantly changing.
Jesus doesn’t just want our position to change, he also wants our condition to change. He wants to live through us. He wants us to live, not only for him, but in a very real way AS him. He wants us to not only BE declared righteous and loved, he wants us to DO righteousness. He wants us to BE loved and to love.
But how? How does our condition change in the right direction – toward Christ likeness? Simply put by trusting in our never changing position in Christ.
Philippians 2:12-13 clearly expresses this process of trusting our position in order to change our condition. But because many Christians don’t understand the relationship between their position and their condition, they see these two verses as confusing and even contradictory. Work out your own salvation…it is God who works in you. So am I working out my own salvation, or is God doing the work?
God IS (and always will be) at work in us. From the inside out, God is empowering our new desires (to will) and choices (to work). And because of God’s work in us, we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We work OUT what God has worked IN.
This is Christ in us. This is faith. By faith we must continue to trust God’s grace in our lives day after day after day. Your Christianity is a lifelong grace empowered work of daily taking up your cross and following Christ into his self-sacrifice.
And don’t worry Christian, you can’t crash this plane. Christ is in us. He’s the pilot. Our will is his will. Our work is his work. Yes, it’s a process, an ongoing work, a working out of salvation, but this work of God is in us just as surely as the Spirit is in us. It is happening. You are being transformed into Christ. How do I know? Because it is God’s good pleasure that “to live is Christ” be our life. And God always gets what he wants in the end.
Can you see the difference between your position in Christ and your condition?
You in Christ
God is working out his will (Christlikeness) in your life. How does this truth bring you comfort today?
Christ in you
What might “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” look like in your life?
Playlist: Work Out Your Salvation.
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