'Working Out Your Own Salvation' Happens Through Mission.

983799_10152767943860087_7921362813145839752_n“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

I often hear this verse being misappropriated and see it being misapplied.  To equate this call with mustering up our own sanctification, summoning up some inner strength to attain some higher spirituality, or cloistering yourself until such a time that you can meet the approval of your religious compatriots, is to sell your birthright for a half empty bowl of soup. It is, after all, God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  (Philippians 2:13)

The working out of ‘your’ (plural) (the corporate body of Christ’s) salvation, is done through mission, ministry, and service to others.  If there’s no mission in your life, you’re not working out your salvation, period!  If church leaders are placating a non-mission sentiment, then they’re effectively hamstringing their people’s salvation and killing the mission.  Mission is the conduit to personal growth, but it’s only effective when engaged with one another. It is unlikely that the 50+ “One Another” commands in scripture can be effectively worked out within modern-day church structures. They require mission.  If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we try to invoke God’s presence through various liturgies instead of being God’s presence to others in everyday life.

It is through mission that we make and become disciples of Jesus. (Matthew 28:19,20)  It is through mission that we preach and become the good news to all of creation. (Mark 16:15)  It is through mission that we testify and become witnesses, are sent and send others, give and gain understanding, and are empowering others and being empowered through the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:44-48)  It is through mission that the sedentary religious ‘go and get understand.’ (Matthew 9:9-13) Without these components of mission we’re left to working out our own station, stature, and standing within missionless systems.

The Aramaic Bible in Plain English translates Philippians 2:12 this way;

“Therefore beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not when I am near to you only, but now when I am far from you, all the more, with awe and with trembling, do the service of your life.”

Simply put, if you’re not on mission, you’re not working out your salvation.  If you’re not sending and being sent, you’re not sanctifying.  Finally, Philippians 2:12 is not to be used to instill fear in others suggesting they can lose their salvation, to guilt people into putting in extra human effort into measuring up to some man-made religious standard, or to judge someone’s spiritual state. Neither is it suggestive towards a works based salvation.  It’s an invitation to mission and the fruit of sanctification that comes with it.

A few questions:

1.  Is it true that without mission there’s little or no sanctification?

2.  What kinds of mission/ministry can happen within the local church?

3.  In your opinion, which is more biblical? “Getting and understanding to go on mission,” or “Going on mission to get an understanding?” 





0 thoughts on “'Working Out Your Own Salvation' Happens Through Mission.

  1. Marshall says:

    The English from the Aramaic is closer. Yet still, we’re missing how Paul is reminding the Philippians that they are doing these things (even as pointing to their faith).

    “Therefore beloved, [just] as you have always obeyed, not when I am near to you only, but now when I am far from you, all the more, with awe and with trembling, doing the service of your (new) life.”

    Q1) our Santification is not sourced in “mission”, it is from God.

    Q2) “mission/ministry” is more limited than mission everywhere else. That shouldn’t be a fuss. Most of our time is taken outside assembly.

  2. Claudia says:

    Of course, sanctification is sourced from God! But isn’t His goal in our sanctification to make us more near to Christlike in our hearts and lives? And wasn’t Jesus sent by God to reconcile the World to Himself? Wasn’t His obedience to the Father and His mission key factors of importance? Aren’t we to be ministers of reconciliation? How then can we be such if we are not on mission, proclaiming the Good News, Making Disciples, Baptizing and Teaching?

  3. Marshall says:

    Jesus did reconcile the world to Himself. [Romans 5:10] The world then since having some dificulty recognizing Him for that. So we hearld Him.

    if I may borrow a short paragraph from a journey letter in preparation…
    The members of the body do not require focused effort to be actively engaged, and as each functions well when the body is in health. If the health of our body should falter, we may tend to stay around home, feeling ill or lethargic, or may even just lay in a bed. When I’m not looking my active usual, someone may venture to ask, “Are you feeling well?” How is the welfare or well-being of the ekklesia where you are? Are we in good health, with all our members? Our elder brother, the Firstborn doing Father’s works, is being called The Great Physician. Let’s be following likewise toward the health & efficiency of every member.

    “mission, proclaiming the Good News, Making Disciples, Baptizing and Teaching” all speaks of what healthy body members, being healthy, are doing — even as strong ants are to furnishing for their community and kingdom. And, it’s probably worth noting that health of the Body cannot be achieved via our “teaching” members. Even our health comes from God.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.