Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Work Out Your Own Salvation

It's always important, when you read the Word of God, to remember that: 1) it was not written in English; and 2) it was not written in chapters and verses. I have found that remembering these two things will inevitably lead one to amazing discoveries in the Word.

Take, for example, Philippians 2:12 in the King James Version.

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." - Philippians 2:12 (KJV)

I have heard this quoted many times (at least that last part) by people who try to lay bondage on God's people with one of two claims:
1. They claim that this verse means we aren't "sealed," but that we must continually fight for our salvation; implying that we may not be saved even if we think we are.
2. They claim that we should mind our own business and not point out the sins in others' lives.

However, neither of these viewpoints takes into consideration the two remembrances I mentioned above. Namely, they don't care what the original Greek says and they don't look at the next verse!

So, I took the liberty of looking up each word in the Greek for both the 12th and 13th verses. I then translated the Greek to its most literal meaning and here is what I found:

"Therefore, my beloved, just as you pay close attention at all times when I am with you, pay closer attention now that I'm not with you: Commit to your safety, health, prosperity, peace and deliverance in the midst of alarm and great fear, because He is an active God and He is with you and has chosen you and He is active beyond satisfaction!"

The first thing I want you to see is that Paul is getting ready to say something big. We know this because he precedes it with a statement that says, "I hope I have your attention because this is really important!"

So let's pay close attention.

The word "with" in this verse is the Greek word μετά, which is one of many words translated to "with" in the King James Version of the Bible.

However, according to the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible, the word μετά is "less intimate than 1722 [ἐν - which means "together with"]" and "less close than 4862 [σύν - which means "union"]."

We have always assigned the latter meaning ("union") to this verse, but that was not the original intention!

The concept is similar to being at the mall "with" other shoppers. You are there. They are there. But you aren't really "together" per se.

So, when Paul says commit to your salvation with fear and trembling, he's kind of referencing Psalm 91:7:

"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee."

Commit to what God has promised you, regardless of what sort of hardship or circumstance is being thrown at you. Why?

"Because He is an active God." Hallelujah! God's on your side! "He is with you and has chosen you." You're His favorite! "And He is active beyond satisfaction!" He's everything you need and THEN SOME!

Praise God, saints! I don't care what the situation looks like or what the devil is trying to lie to you about today, but you can be encouraged and know that God is working and He's on your side and He is well able (BEYOND able) to take care of you.

So don't give up!