THE ONGOING WORK OF SALVATION
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.
Salvation isn’t just an event; it’s also a process. Salvation is God’s gift, for there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves (see Eph. 2:8-9). Yet with salvation comes the responsibility to work out our salvation.
This is the great paradox of the Christian life. We’re to work diligently on our faith yet always with the awareness that only God can bring about lasting change in our lives. As we see God at work in us, we’re motivated to work even more diligently.
God won’t force His changes on us; neither can we bring about lasting change in our lives apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. An examination of the fruit of the Spirit can be intimidating (see Gal. 5:22-23). Working all nine of these traits into your life seems impossible, and indeed it is. But the moment you became a Christian, the Holy Spirit began a divine work to produce Christ’s character in you. And He’s always faithful to complete the work He begins (see Phil. 1:6).
Regardless of who you are, the Spirit works from the same model, Jesus Christ. The Spirit looks to Christ to supply the blueprint for your character. The Spirit immediately begins helping you experience and practice the same love Jesus had when He laid down His life for you, His friend (see John 15:13). The same joy He experienced will now fill you. The identical peace that guarded the heart of Jesus, even as He was being beaten and mocked, will be the peace the Spirit works to instill in you. The patience Jesus had for His seemingly unteachable disciples will be the patience the Spirit now develops in you. The kindness Jesus showed toward children and sinners will soften your heart toward others. There will be a goodness about you that can be explained only by the presence of the Spirit of God. The Spirit will build the same faith in you that led Jesus to be entirely obedient to His Father. The Spirit will teach you self-control so that you’ll have strength to do what’s right and to resist temptation.Because the Spirit lives in you, all this will occur as naturally as the growth of fruit on a tree.
You can’t orchestrate spiritual growth on your own. It automatically begins the moment you become a believer. How quickly it happens depends on how completely you yield yourself to the Holy Spirit’s activity. When you sense God developing an area of your life, join Him in His activity so that His salvation will be fully demonstrated in you.
What does God want to do in you? Have you allowed Him to complete what He has begun? He won’t force you to receive all He has for your life. If God’s work hasn’t been brought to fruition in you, it’s not that Christ hasn’t been diligently working toward that end. Rather, you may need to release areas of your life to Him and be as determined as Christ is to see God’s work completed in you.
How have you experienced the ongoing work of salvation as you’ve grown spiritually?
Where is the Spirit most evident in your life, producing the fruit described in Galatians 5:22-23?
What areas do you most struggle with in working out your salvation?
What was the most meaningful statement or Scripture you read today?
Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response to God.
What does God want you to do in response to today’s study? [Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby (2014). Seven Realities for Experiencing God – Member Book. LifeWay Press. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]