Categories
Christian Living

Work Out Your Salvation

Consider Your Response to Receiving the Greatest Gift Anyone Could Ever Get

Paul tells the church of Philippi to work out your salvation (Philippians 2:12). He doesn’t say to work for your salvation. They’ve already received eternal life as a free gift through God’s goodness (his grace), and there’s nothing they need to do to earn it (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Tell God Thank You

Jesus died in our place and took on our punishment for all the things we’ve done wrong. In doing so, he made us right with Father God. It’s a gift he gives us with no strings attached. There’s nothing we need to do to earn it. We just need to receive it. It’s a gift of salvation, of eternal life.

What do we do when someone gives us a gift? We show our appreciation. This starts by saying thank you, and we might follow-up with a note or card. Depending on the gift, we may proudly wear it, use it, or display it for everyone to see. In doing so we honor the giver.

If we follow Jesus as his disciple, he’s given us the ultimate gift that anyone could ever give. It’s a gift of salvation and of eternal life with him and through him.

This deserves the best thank you we could ever offer. This isn’t a once-and-done show of appreciation. Receiving salvation deserves our regular and ongoing acknowledgment of having been given the best gift of all time.

Work Out Your Salvation Every Day

Receiving the greatest gift anyone ever could, warrants that we say thank you every day. We do this with our words, our thoughts, and our actions, making sure they align with God’s instructions in the Bible and his will for our life. This is how we work out our salvation. This is how we honor the giver.

Working out our salvation isn’t a requirement, but it is a warranted response. It’s a show of gratitude for what Jesus has done for us, and we should want to live a changed life as an ongoing display of appreciation.

And so that we don’t dismiss this as a trivial task, Paul tells us to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. This trepidation isn’t because God could take back his gift; it’s a reflection of his almighty power, which we should be in awe of and never presume.

Work Out Our Salvation Corporately

Implicit in Paul’s instruction to work out your salvation is to do so not only as a personal response, but also as a corporate response. As his church, we should work out our salvation together with other followers of Jesus as we gather on Sunday morning and throughout the week.

We do this in tangible terms by our worship of him and through our service to him and for him. In practical terms we do this by coexisting in harmony with one another, letting our words and our actions serve as a powerful witness to a world who doesn’t yet know Jesus.

We don’t have to work out our salvation, but we should want to. This is because eternal life is a gift that surpasses all others. Click To Tweet

Work It Out

We don’t have to work out our salvation, but we should want to. This is because eternal life is a gift that surpasses all others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
52 Churches

Reflecting on Church #10: The Gift that Reflected Badly on the Giver

With our journey of visiting fifty-two churches over, I can reflect more on the complete experience. Today, I’ll add to my thoughts about Church #10.

We attended this aging Baptist church on Fathers’ Day; they had a gift for all the dads: a book.

Although I appreciated a free book, needing to go forward to accept it was uncomfortable. Still, the gift of a book is a meaningful gesture to me. Titled 199 Promises of God, it provided, without commentary, 199 verses from the Bible with the apparent theme: promises from God.

52 Churches, by Peter DeHaan

My excitement diminished when I saw it quoted the King James Version of the Bible. I don’t speak Old English and need to work hard to understand it. Of course, the KJV is in the public domain, so using it avoids the need for the publisher to obtain permission and protects them from copyright violation.

As I read it, some of the verses, although offering encouraging thoughts, didn’t seem like promises at all. Maybe the promises were too deeply disguised in the centuries-old verbiage or perhaps the editor wasn’t diligent enough in his selections.

Although the book is only a few thousand words long, I gave up before I finished it.

Overall, my experience at this church was positive, but my most lasting impression of them resides in this disappointing book.

[See my reflections about Church #9 and Church #11 or start with Church #1.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

Does God Receive Our Actions as a Memorial Offering?

Cornelius is a commander in the Roman army; he’s also a man of faith, who prays often and gives to the poor. One day, during his afternoon prayers, he has a vision. An angel appears to him and says that God has received his prayers and gifts as a memorial offering.

Imagine that. God sees Cornelius’s prayers and help of those in need as a gift directly given to him. It is an offering, something done in his name.

I don’t know if God accepts all our prayers as memorial offerings or holds all our efforts to help others in such high esteem, but it is something to contemplate.

I think to be counted as a memorial, it must be done in Jesus’ name. And to be received as an offering, it must be presented with right motives. So when we do things for Jesus with pure intentions, it may be that God will likewise receive our actions as a memorial offering to him.

As a kid, I was confused by how we could directly give to God. Maybe this is how. May all we do be a memorial offering to him.

Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Acts 8-12, and today’s post is on Acts 10:4]

Read more about the book of Acts in Tongues of Fire: 40 Devotional Insights for Today’s Church from the Book of Acts, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. [Originally published as Dear Theophilus Acts.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

How Do You Earn Eternal Life?

In the Bible, it was common for Jesus to invite people to follow him. That’s simple enough. Anyone can do that. Does this give them eternal life?

But sometimes Jesus would give a different instruction. For example, he told one very wealthy man to give away all his money and possessions, not ten percent, not half, not even 90 percent, but all. That’s not so simple or so easy.

Some people assume this means the man was putting his trust in his money and as long as he trusted money, he could never fully trust Jesus.

I get that and agree with that: anything that’s more important to us than Jesus, keeps us from Jesus.

Eternal life is a gift. We can’t earn it. All we need to do is receive it. Click To Tweet

But I wonder if there’s not a different explanation.

The man was trying to earn eternal life. We know we can’t earn our salvation. That’s impossible. So to make his point, Jesus gave him a seemingly impossible task: give away everything.

Eternal life is a gift. We can’t earn it. All we need to do is receive it.

[Luke 18:18-29, Romans 6:23]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.