Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Philippians 2:12-16 ESV
So what’s the latest, popular preacher on the television selling these days? My guess is that it isn’t “fear and trembling”. That doesn’t seem to sell many books or tickle many ears these days.
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT
It’s the kind of message that doesn’t just allow someone to sit quietly in the comfort of their cushioned pew, nor does it only stir an emotional response, nor does it make “name it and claim it” promises of an abundance of earthly rot and rust from that great Genie in the sky.
Yep, words like “obedience” and “working out your salvation” don’t quite jive with the world that wants a Jesus ticket for heaven that will let them live like Hell just a little bit longer. Come on, quit lying to yourself. If you love sin so much, do you really think that heaven is going to agree with you, or can’t you see that you’ll be vomited back out?
Wow, might be a normal response here to what I’m saying.
You might ask, but where’s the love, where’s the forgiveness?
And I’ll tell you that it can be found in seeking and following Jesus Christ, in actually believing and knowing Him as your Lord and Savior. Not with empty words, not with tears fearing punishment, not with an emotional response, not with religious practice – but with a heart surrendered to the call to take up your cross and follow Him.
If you’re not there yet, I encourage you to decide who you will serve and commit whole heartedly. If you’re not His, then you might as well enjoy the closest you’ll ever get to heaven in the empty pleasures and temptations of this world, before judgement falls upon your neck.
If you are His, it’s time to stop playing religion, it’s time to stop sleeping with the enemy, it’s time to get your act together and start bearing some fruit and bringing glory and honor to the name of the Lord.
Would you rather have an open rebuke from a righteous man who actually cares about your eternity, or kisses from an enemy who is satisfied taking pieces of silver in return for seeing you on your way towards destruction?
So I encourage you today to not just rest upon the promises of grace, but to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Understand who God is. Understand that His purpose is for you to repent and turn to God. Unattended that it isn’t about knowing ABOUT God, but about knowing God.
I love you, friend. I encourage you to not be caught unprepared when He comes like a thief in the night. Do not wait until the door is closed. Seek Him while you still can.