“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12&13 NIV)
The simplest and most wonderful experience is the “born again” experience. The Spirit of God works through the word of God to touch our heart and make us new. Like the thief on the cross, we find ourselves trusting and believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. But unlike the thief on the cross who died that day, most of us will live many years after coming to faith. It is to us that Paul talked in these verses. He broadened the understanding of “salvation” to be the whole Christian life, saying, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” He was stating what we so readily know: Living out our faith throughout the years of our lives is a challenge. There are so many forces in the world that wish to do war with our faith. We must work to maintain and protect our faith as we fight the various battles of our lives. Paul suggested that we do it with “fear and trembling.” A healthy dose of reverence and awe of God would serve us well when we feel we are being overwhelmed by the temporary trials of this world. But this is not all!
Paul reminded us here that just as God began the work of faith in our hearts, He continues to work in us to bring about His will for us through our lives. God doesn’t create faith in our hearts and then leave to see what we will do with it for the remaining years of our lives. Rather, He continues to live in us and walk beside us. By the power of the Holy Spirit He continues to work in us to bring about His will for our lives. The joy of it all is that He allows us (the new creation in us) to participate with His Spirit to reverently move forward to live a life to His glory and praise.
So, go into today with fear and trembling, knowing that the God of the universe is at work in you to will and to work to His good pleasure.