Jesus’ Life and Your Salvation
In Philippians chapter 2, we read a short biography of Jesus. Then in verse 12, we read: “Therefore, my beloved, as you 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.” The word, therefore, points back to what was written just previously. It means, Jesus did that, and you must do the same.
What did Jesus do? As we read Jesus’ biography in Philippians 2:5-11, we can easily pick three things that Jesus did. They were: He humbled Himself, He obeyed the Father, and He died.
Do these three things have anything to do with our salvation? Does the New Testament say anything about us having to do these things to be saved? Let us see.
First: humility. Do we have to humble ourselves to be saved?
Let’s read Matthew 18:1-4. “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus said that if we don’t repent and humble ourselves the same as little children, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. So we must humble ourselves if we want eternal life with God.
Second: obedience to God. This seems easy and obvious.
What did Jesus say? Matthew 7:21. “Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” It is not enough to say the right words. We must do the will of God. We must obey Him to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 8:35. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” We may not have to die physically to get eternal life, but we have to give up or lose our life.
These may help us understand why the Apostle Paul used the word, therefore, when he told us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.