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SCRIPTURE - EPH. 2:8-9, PHIL 2:13                                      JUNE, 2000


PHIL. 2:13 .............................................WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION, WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING


If ever, there were any scriptures in the bible that would cause one to wonder whether or not, the bible contradicts itself, then these two, would surely fit in to that category.

What we seem to have here, is, as described in the title, works, versus works. In one verse, we are told that we are saved by faith, and not works. Then you look up, and the next verse says to work out your own salvation. So the question is, which one is right??? Both of them are. How???

If you have been reading a lot of these tracts, I have explained that, whenever you read one scripture, and form an opinion as to what that scripture means, then you read another one, that contradicts your opinion of the first scripture, then the bible is not contradicting itself, your opinion, is contradicting the bible.

All scripture, is given by inspiration of God [2 Tim. 3:16], and if the bible were contradicting itself, then that would mean that God, is contradicting Himself. And, you should know, 'that ain't about to happen.'

So then, what do these scriptures really mean???

Well, first of all, they compliment each other, meaning that they work together, to give you a whole, complete picture. If you had one, without the other, then that would be like having some money, with something on one side, and nothing on the other. It would be useless. Would you accept a coin, that only had one side with engraving on it?? How about a $100.00 bill?? I don't think so.

So likewise, no one scripture, stands by itself. It has others that compliment it.

In the first scripture, the 'works', being talked about, are works, one might do, to earn something.

Many people, believe that no matter what they believe, that as long as they do good things, even those things that God says we all should do, that, that will be sufficient for them to earn their way in to Heaven.

They can reject Christ, persecute His people, and still go to Church, visit the sick, aid the homeless, and hungry, and still go to Heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is, no matter how good your are, or how many good deeds you do, or how much money, or power you have, it will not help you, one iota, as far as getting Jesus Christ to acknowledge you before the Father, which is a must, if you are to get in.

God made salvation so simple, that you literally have to try to not be saved.

Notice the word 'gift', in the subject scripture. What does that word mean to you. To me, it means something that someone gives me, without my having to do anything for it. Usually you get gifts, on special occasions, but still, it is given of one's own free will.

Now, when someone offers me a gift, all that is required for me to do, is to receive it. That's all. If I hand you a $100.00 bill, as a gift, all you have to do is reach out, and receive it. Well, that is what God, through Christ did for all of us. He gave, and all we have to do is receive it.

Yet, there are those that tell you, and I used to be one of them, before I learned better, that you have to quit smoking, quit drinking, quit fornicating, quit adulterating, and just quit sinning altogether, and clean yourself up, to get saved. Man, was I ignorant!!!

How could anyone clean themselves up, when it takes Jesus, to do it. That's like telling someone to clean their clothes, before they put them in the washing machine.

As far as being able to buy your way in, how can you do that, when the money that you are using, is on loan to you from God, in the first place??

When it comes to works of righteousness to get you in, I like to tell this story.

A certain man, was looking for a job. And one day, he happened to pass by a factory, that had a lot of people standing in line at the entrance. Well, since he had nothing to do, he stood in line with the other people, and when the gates were opened, he followed them in, and they went to an area, where they were told to stay, until someone came for them.

After about 10 minutes, a foreman came down and picked this man, and a few others and told them to come with him. He took them and put them on jobs.

This man, turned out to be the best worker that this foreman, ever had. The foreman told him, that when he came back the next day, to come straight to him, and to do the same job.

Well, the man did as he was directed, and the foreman was bragging on how good a worker the man was. Everything was fine, the man had a good job, and his foreman liked him.

Then, payday rolled around.

The foreman, started passing out paychecks, and when he came to this man, he didn't have a check for him. He looked and he looked, but there was none to be found. So, he took the man with him to payroll, and they looked for a check for him, and found none. So, they went to personnel. And one of the people looked for his records, and didn't find any.

It was then, that they asked the man, who interviewed him, when he came in to get hired. The man said, he was not interviewed by anyone. He said, 'I just came in, and went to work.' Then they told the man, 'we're sorry, but since you didn't go through the hiring procedure, we can't pay you for your work, even though you are an excellent worker.'

This scenario, as crude as it is, reveals the same situation that a lot of people that think their works, will get them in Heaven, have. Unfortunately, since they didn't follow the procedure of being 'born again', they will find out, that God owes them nothing, and that is what they will get, nothing.

Now, the second scripture, says to work out your own salvation......., this means, that once you are saved, then you are to work, in the kingdom, doing what God says you should do. No one that gets saved should just sit down, and wait for God to take them to Heaven. That is not what it is about.

Jesus commissioned the disciples to 'Go preach the gospel, to the whole world.', [Mk. 16:15] that sounds like work, to me. He said for us to testify of Him, be a witness of Him, to pray for others, to help others, and a slew of other things. These are the works that you need to do, now that you are saved.

To put it in basic, and crude terms, you are now hired, to do a job, and your pay, is eternal life, and the possibility of multiple rewards or crowns.

Now, in case some of you are wondering about the eternal life, coinciding with works, let me explain what I am talking about.

If, I get hired at a company, then, I am hired to do work. If I don't do any, then I will be fired.

With Christ, the hiring and firing terms are not really describing what I am saying, But this will.

We should all know, that if we want to get in to Heaven, then we must be 'born again.' Being 'born again', means that we have accepted Jesus as Lord or our lives.

Now, the word Lord, has several different meanings, one of which is master.

Now, if someone is my master, then, whatever they tell me to do, then I ought to do it. Therefore, if Jesus is Lord of your life, then whatever He says to do, you ought to do it.

Another thing about 'Lord", is that it carries with it, love. In other words, you do what you are told to do, by Jesus, because you love Him. That is the greatest motivational force to do something that there is. To prove a point, your spouse, or your present 'friend,' as you call them, is someone you will do just about anything they say, to prove your love for them. As they would also, do for you.

Now, if Jesus is Lord of your life, then you love Him, and will do what He says. However, what does it say about you, if you refuse to do what He says??? It shows that you don't love Him, and friend, no one that does not love Jesus, is going to be in Heaven.

Jesus asked this question, 'Why do you call Me Lord, and do not what I say???"[Lk. 6:46]

There are a lot of people that are calling themselves Christians, that are not only, not doing what Jesus says they should be doing, but are engaging in things that He hates, and they think they are going to get in to Heaven. Don't hold your breath.

There are some that are doing the work, but they are doing it for the wrong reasons. They may be doing it, not to glorify Jesus, but to get glory, or the praise of men, on themselves. They are still saved, but their rewards may be few, or none [1 Co 3:13-15].

In one passage of scripture, Jesus said, that the works that He did, we should do also, and greater works..[St. John 14:12]. Now, if we look at the works that He did, we will see that we are falling far short of doing those alone, not to mention doing greater. Why???

It is because we are getting lazy, spiritually. We don't want to read the bible. We don't care about missing Church. As far as prayer meetings go, forget them. Fasting, and prayer, what's that?? We have too many other things to do, than to get that radical, about our Christianity.

But, remember this, payday is coming!!! When the time comes, what will you have to say for yourself, when you stand before Him, to get your rewards, or lose those that you do have?? Oh, you will still be saved, but you will be feeling ashamed about what you could have had, if you had just done as you were asked. The ball is in your court now. What are you going to do with it???